Stretch vinyl, imitation leather, costume fabric – did you know most celebrities have outfits made of these materials hanging in their oversized walk-in closets? Of course, celebrities are always on the cutting edge of fashion, whether they’re showing off an elegant gown designed for the red carpet or sporting a sexy outfit designed for a role.
However sumptuous the latest Valentino design may look on Cate Blanchett or how Balenciaga’s Oscar gown accentuates Nicole Kidman’s perfect beauty, it’s undeniable that celebrities make the most impact on fashion when wearing a creation specifically designed for a role we all love. And many of these outfits make use of imitation leather, stretch vinyl and costume fabric to create a skin-tight fit that allows maximum flexibility without the hassle of getting in and out of latex.
In addition, costume fabric, imitation leather and stretch vinyl are all lighter than real leather, making them much easier to wear. For costume designers, stretch vinyl and imitation leather offer a versatility and variety of colors and textures that are a treasure trove of inspiration.
One of the most famous imitation leather designs is the iconic catsuit. We loved Michelle Pfeiffer in her black stretch vinyl cat suit in Batman Returns, and Halle Berry reportedly kept the catsuit she wore in the Catwoman movie, commenting that the catsuit was empowering to wear, requiring both sex appeal and confidence.
Uma Thurman is known for her love of catsuits, wearing a bright yellow imitation leather catsuit with black stripes in Kill Bill Volume 1, while in The Avengers, she wore a black imitation leather catsuit both as Emma Peel and her evil clone. Carrie-Anne Moss set a new androgynous trend in The Matrix with her black imitation leather and stretch vinyl catsuits, in some scenes combined with stunning imitation leather trench coats. In fact, the costume designer for The Matrix, Kim Barrett, was nominated in 2001 by the Costume Designers Guild as the Best Costume Designer.
However popular imitation leather and stretch vinyl may be among costume designers, both are frequently used by designers creating a glam rock star or sexy fetish look. Another Moss, this time super model Kate, really set a trend when she wore a pair of black imitation leather pants to the Glastonbury Festival in 2008.
Tabloids across the globe loved it, and before long fashionistas all over the world had adopted the look. Another former waif of the nineties, French singer Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp’s long time girlfriend, is known for her super sexy rock star style with imitation leather pants or stretch vinyl mini skirts with go-go boots. And then there’s former Spice Girl Posh, also known as Victoria Beckham.
Posh is a true fashion icon and an inspiration to many of the top fashion designers around the world. In 2008, when she made her appearance in New York together with her husband David Beckham, the soccer player, to launch their his ‘n hers Signature fragrances, Posh wore a pair of custom made thigh-high black stretch vinyl heelless platform boots by Italian Antonio Berardi. Also one of Uma Thurman and Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite designers, Berardi started his heelless trend with in the summer of 2008 with a heelless sandal.
Regardless of who’s wearing the stretch vinyl catsuit, imitation leather pants or designer heels, it’s evident that it’s the costume, not the celebrity, that steals the show. If you want to feel as super sexy as these celebrities without breaking the bank, just check out your favorite department store or vintage boutique. You’ll be sure to find something that’ll make you look and feel like a million bucks!