[Photo: Getty/Yahoo Style UK]
The front row at Fashion Week is largely filled with the likes of Alexa Chung, Anna Wintour and Cara Delevingne. But there is one other famous face that’s hard to miss - because it’s inflatable.
Meet Pandemonia: A human blow up doll who’s become a FROW regular at London Fashion Week in the past few years. The creation of a very secretive conceptual artist, no one knows exactly who’s behind the latex ensemble - but it’s thought to be a man.
With her statuesque frame (Pandemonia is over 7ft tall) and, well, inflatableness, the walking art work is hard to miss and has become just as photographed as the real life celebrities at each show.
She’s a regular at Pam Hogg, Ashish and Julien Macdonald’s fashion shows, and even took to the red carpet at the ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ world premiere earlier this year.
So, how did a blow up doll become a global sensation - and what’s the look all about? We spoke to Pandemonia about creating a celebrity and life encased in a latex suit.
Pandemonia at the Absolutely Fabulous film premiere this summer [Photo: Getty]
“A few years ago, I was on the London Underground, reading the newspaper,” Pandemonia tells Yahoo Style UK. “It was clear that the news we needed was being pushed off the front page and replaced by the glossy, focus-grouped corporate content that we are all familiar with.
“I thought, wouldn’t it be good to put an art work in the ‘celebrity slot’? One that could self-reference popular culture. So I created my own celebrity, one based on the pop aesthetic and fed it back to the media. A sort of existential mystery for all the readers to ponder over on their way to work.”
Pandemonia won’t reveal exactly when the idea of her was conceptualised - “a lady never reveals her age,” she jokingly tells us - but she was first spotted at a Tracy Emin show in London in 2009. Since then, Pandemonia’s travelled the world, causing a stampede in China. “In Los Angeles office workers on Sunset Boulevard emptied buildings to get a closer look,” she says.
Pandemonia’s also rubbed shoulders with a fair few famous faces. She doesn’t think Rupert Murdoch is all that keen on her, but says James Franco and Debbie Harry are “big fans”. Plus, her cameo in ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ meant she met Joanna Lumley, who shared a few acting tips.
Pandemonia’s been a Fashion Week favourite for many seasons now [Photo: Getty]
Donning an inflatable suit isn’t your average outfit, but Pandemonia insists she gets a positive reaction wherever she goes. “My look definitely has a visceral effect on people. With that comes a genuine curiosity, sometimes leading to intense interaction. In retrospect, this does sometimes lead to some strange questions: Are you real? Can you breathe? Where do you put your legs?”
Creating each of Pandemonia’s outfits - she has many - is a lengthy business. “It takes about a month to create each look. I construct and design everything by hand. To date, I’ve fashioned around 70 looks.”
But while getting into the suit itself before each event may not take long, staying cool in all that latex is a whole other skill to master. “This London Fashion Week I had to pray for bad weather,” says Pandeomonia. “The fashion gods were smiling on me because after the hottest September in 100 years, the temperature dropped and the rain came just in time. Apologies to those who weren’t waterproof like me.”