Madeline Warren is the proprietress of Anatomic Bomb! She is also known as the performer Bunny Warren. She is one busy woman. TLP conducted this interview over email in April and May of 2008.
Q. I understand you are a current burlesque performer and that probably gives you keen insight into the needs of the performer. Can you use that knowledge to extrapolate to other markets (day wear, etc)?
A: Yes, by day I am Madeline Warren, fashion designer and business woman but by night I am transformed into Bunny Warren — naughty Burlesque performer. I like to have costumes which are unique on the burlesque circuit in terms of ideas and design. I spend a lot of time and money on them and it has been worth it as audiences appreciate it and I am kept very busy with engagements. Much of a burlesque performer’s appeal is her costumes and the other part is good ideas and personality. Apart from serving a practical function, clothes are also an expression of yourself and when on stage you are trying to express femininity and an extravagant and artistic personality, then clothes can express a lot about yourself.
I have always loved sexy clothes whether they be high glamour or risque. I am equally drawn to curvaceous evening gowns or military uniforms. I design my stage clothes and Anatomic Bomb! clothes to these tastes. I feel my clothes fuse the worlds of fetish, fashion and burlesque perfectly. I design latex clothes for the burlesque stage too and many performers have treaded the boards in an Anatomic Bomb creation.
I would love to create a daytime range in cloth but I am kept so busy with Anatomic Bomb! latex that I don’t know if I would have the time to do it.
Picture by Tony Rusecki
Q: Latex is clearly your preferred fabric. Did you work in other fabrics before? Any new techniques you had to learn for latex?
A: I had never made any clothes professionally until I came in to the world of latex. I trained and worked at another latex fashion company for 3 years and then was made redundant. Instead of becoming morose over my jobless state I decided that it was actually a great opportunity to take all my design ideas and turn them into reality and I’m very happy I did.
Making latex clothes is very different to making fabric clothing. The pattern cutting is different in terms of seam allowances and allowing for stretch. We also glue our garments- no machine sewing here. Learning to do the perfect glued seam takes a lot of practice and I’m very appreciative of my last employer to allow me to learn that on his time. Since then I’ve refined some techniques and learned to make use of a few tricks.
Q. The burlesque+design community seems to be pretty small in the UK. Are you friends with Miss Katie and Atsuko Kudo?
A: It depends what you call burlesque design. There are many corset designers and lingerie designers in the UK and many of these garments make their way into burlesque clubs worn by audiences and even on to the stage. I think burlesque stage costumes should be as unique as possible to each performer so I would term a burlesque designer as someone who may have a range but who can also make bespoke, extravagant items when requested. Miss Katie is a very good friend of mine. I love her dearly. She does fabulous corsets which are comfortable, shapely and truly individual. She made a corset for my Bunny Rabbit act. I made the poor girl come up with a tricky design that would allow my rabbit tail to pop through the middle of the corset. She managed to make it and it is very cute. I know Atsuko Kudo though not very well. She is lovely and I really admire her latex work. I think we both have our own distinctive style but if I never made my own designs I would probably buy from her.
Picture by Tony Rusecki
Q. How do you go from sketch to sale?
A: I get my inspiration from many things- old fetish drawings and magazines, films, the sight of a woman’s nice wiggle as she walks down the street! These and lots of other things give me my ideas. I keep lots of note pads with rough sketches in them, I never throw these away as they always come in useful at some time. It can be quite funny but very satisfying to find a six month old, very ropey drawing which I have turned in to a real dress which is considered a work of art by many. When you see the finished product being worn by some sexy creature who’s looking and feeling beautiful in one of your outfits that may have started out from an idea recorded with a sketch on the back of a napkin, it’s a very rewarding process! That’s a motivating experience and it’s actually very easy to come up with ideas, the problem is that there are just not enough hours in the day.
Q. Where do you see Anatomic Bomb in five years?
A: I’m not one of these people who’s interested in “world domination” with my product. We are a ’boutique’ company with distinctive styles that appeal to both fetishists and also to people who may be trying latex wear for the first time. We also make costumes for burlesque cabaret shows. Our aim is to maintain a high quality, distinctive style and a steady output of new ideas. Some of our outfits are quite ‘sweet’ — a demure look in lighter colours with pretty hearts but juxtaposing a sense of naughty because it’s rubber! Latex rubber wear is expected in the fetish clubs and magazines but it’s great when you see some hot young thing wearing rubber out of the expected context, in a non-fetish club or magazine. I was thrilled to have the world’s top super-model, Kate Moss, in the world’s most glamourous magazine, Vogue, wearing Anatomic Bomb!
In the future we might also like to have our own shop although things are ticking along quite nicely as they are, we want to build on our success steadily and organically in order to maintain a distinctive style & high quality.
Photo by Viva Van Story
Q. Have you done any design collaborations?
A: I am very happy to collaborate with individual customers if they want something special and one-off. They tell me their ideas and I tell them what is possible or what might be nicer or suit them more and they are always very happy with the result.
I was very proud to be asked by Paradiso Boudoir in London to collaborate on an entire exclusive collection for them. Paradiso Boudoir is a beautiful shop in the heart of Soho which has exquisite lingerie and accessories. Angela, the owner and designer of the shop, wanted to go down a very high fashion route and boldly chose colours which had hardly been used in rubber before. The results have been very beautiful and exciting, and have grabbed lots of attention. Chopard’s Jewellers bought lots of the dresses for their Spring and Summer Fashion Shows this year and we are very pleased about that.
Q. How can customers buy your designs? Any stockists?
A: Potential Anatomic Bombshells can buy through our own website www.anatomicbomb.com where you can buy our usual range and also gain access to our bespoke service. We also stock our clothes in Showgirls on Holloway Road in London, and Paradiso Boudoir in Soho.
Q. How do you get the pieces manufactured?
A: We manufacture them in our own workshop in London. I have a small team of lovely, dedicated people who create each piece individually. It is a fun and friendly place to work.
Picture by Tony Rusecki
Q. How can latex grow in customer appeal?
A: Times have changed in recent years and women are able to more freely express their sexuality and ‘wild side’ without recrimination so the market for latex rubber wear has grown steadily. Rubber has been popular with gay men for several years now and it seems to be growing in popularity, although much more slowly, with straight men too. Latex pops in and out of the fashion world every season or so. I doubt that rubber will ever be a Marks & Spencer’s staple item though.
I am quite happy for rubber never to become too popular otherwise we would see the cheap high street end of the market which in rubber would probably end up being very tacky. I think most people appreciate the novelty factor of rubber clothes.
I think everyone should try rubber for at least one night out in their lives. It is very flattering and not only for the stick thin as many people seem to think. I actually think it looks better on women with curves and even very heavy women can look great in it when they choose the right piece. Rubber is, of course, an inherently flexible material and can, with the correct degree of skill and imagination, be tailored to flatter any body shape. It certainly is a conversation point, it’s fun and it’s sexy.
Head to the Anatomic Bomb and check out Madeline’s offerings.
Or check out Bunny Warren’s MySpace page.