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Iris Thespider the new owner of House of Harlot

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House of Harlot is one of the best known latex fashion design companies in the world. They have been making high quality, superbly tailored and excitingly designed latex fetish garments since 1992, and can include in their client base Dior, Louis Vuitton, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Topshop, Sonia Rykiel, Raf Simons, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria’s Secret, Meadham Kirchhoff and many more, as well as the world’s latex enthusiasts. They supply exciting luxury garments and other products with beautifully sexy designs, great customer relations and after sales care.

But now there is a catch. House of Harlot is closing down. But ex-staff continues their work.

House of Harlot Ltd began liquidation proceedings in early March — something only a few readers of the financial press picked up on. According to thefetishistas.com, the consequence of poor trading conditions during 2015 and — despite an excellent previous year, bad debts from two of the label’s fashion industry clients totaling £20,000 — forced director and owner Archer to consider “the only practical option” to safeguard the future of the brand and to ensure the best financial solutions for staff members. The company entered into a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation procedure with good planning to ensure minimum damage to any creditors, and to ensure full delivery of any outstanding orders, with a view to winding up right after the Torture Garden 25th Anniversary Birthday Ball.

On May 3 at a Creditors Meeting in the City of London, House of Harlot Ltd was officially wound up. At the same meeting, Irida (Iris) Trika, a former employee of the company, bought the assets, designs, patterns and intellectual property of the company. She plans to relaunch the business as soon as practically possible alongside her Iris TheSpider line.

As part of the House of Harlot closure arrangements, the website www.houseofharlot.com and the House of Harlot Etsy store will be the main shopfronts once Iris is prepared. The bricks-and-mortar location in Princelet Street will be closed immediately while the restructuring of the business takes place. Enquiries about new orders and delivery dates should be directed to [email protected].

Robin has confirmed that his former staff will all be receiving full redundancy packages, and are not owed any wages. They will receive all unpaid holiday and full pay in lieu of notice as part of the House of Harlot closure arrangements.

“I wish Kelly Duncan the best in her future endeavors,” says Archer, “and look forward to opportunities to work with her again on freelance projects, and hopefully as a guide and mentor for pattern cutting work. I admire her dignity in the face of recent adversity and cherish her support during the difficult times recently. Kelly and I had worked together since Skin Two days back in 1996, and she has always been the rock of the company, since taking over from Kaisu Paakkola as production manager in 2002 after Kaisu left House of Harlot to start Torture Garden Clothing, sadly passing away the same year.”

As part of the House of Harlot closure arrangements, Florence Druart has been given the assets of the Torture Garden Clothing range. She retains the license to produce the Torture Garden Clothing branded range with the blessing of David Wood and TG. Florence has received all the designs, patterns, history, product-photography, style data and media dating back to the initiation of the brand by Kaisu Paakkola in 2002. This includes the legacy range and all the new range elements for whose design Florence was responsible, and was paid for during her time at House of Harlot. Says Archer: “I wish her good fortune with this amazing gift, which I hoped would go some way to act as compensation for her disappointment in the closure of House of Harlot.” The gift represents a book value of some £15,000 of patterns and other media before even considering the goodwill or the direct association with Torture Garden and its travelling club business and overseas fashion show opportunities.

Fans of the brand should keep on supporting it, having the knowledge that it will live on in the talented hands of Iris Trika, that Torture Garden clothing will continue under the highly experienced guidance of Florence Druart, and that Robin Archer’s own talents will not by any means be lost to the latex clothing scene.

Photography: Sarah Tsang,  Marcus T.

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