The 2006 San Francisco Fetish Ball Weekend

By on February 12, 2007

Looking down from the balcony, I saw swirls of flowing latex sleeves. Breasts bound up high in black shiny stuff pushing cleavage out and up. Legs running up to asses captured tight in rubber, leather, PVC, spandex – you name the fetish fabric and it was out there. Fishnet clinging to skin. Mesh showing off the sheen of barely-concealed flesh. And it was hot. What skin was not clad in alluring materials glistened with sweat, catching the flashes of light from strobes and lasers.

In that moment, I loved them all.

The 2006 San Francisco Fetish Ball Weekend was just like that. Starting with the Gallery Opening at the DNA Lounge on Thursday night, where friends from all over the world got caught up with each other and new connections were made while looking at beautiful fetish art (and an auction was held to raise money for the Free Speech Coalition) and continuing with the beauty of the flesh-hook suspensions and the throbbing beats of Friday night’s Club Enslaved. Club Enslaved was in an intimate venue, Studio Z, which was so cram-packed with people you could barely make it from the stage to the dungeon and you certainly couldn’t get there without literally bumping into any number of people you knew and making friends with a number of people you wanted to get to know (“Excuse me, I believe my armband is caught in your fishnet bra….”)

The beats were throbbing even harder on the night of Fetish Ball itself, they echoed around the curved dome of the Regency Grand Ballroom. This Saturday night, people were able to spread out a bit and fully appreciate what other people were wearing (this was an amazingly well-dressed event, with very few “tourists” come to gawk at the “freaks.”) This did not stop them from bumping into each other, however – I myself was in close contact with quite a few lovely people, and not from lack of elbow room.

A “VIP” ticket got you upstairs to the round, seated balcony, from whence you could see both the dance floor (full of people who ranged the gamut from fully-encased in latex, to wearing nothing but a PVC thong and boots) and then also the selection of other VIPs, curving around in a circle of happily chatting (and in some cases happily playing) fellow fetishists, gesturing excitedly with their drinks (“sponsored by Redbull”) or taking pictures of each other with cameras that ranged from Nikon D100s to Fuji Quicksnaps.

From the balcony was also an excellent view of the stage, where the fashion show took place at about midnight. San Francisco’s Lust Designs was up first, with some very attractive new looks. Fierce Couture, Tressa Williams’ L.A. label, showcased some of her dramatic styles. Then Puimond rocked the house with a “Dangerous Women” number, featuring such names as Sasha Monet and Darenzia. They were followed by Libidex who showed their amazing latex catsuits. Then came HW Design from Vienna starring the Kumimonster in a spotted latex catsuit and other models in lovely golden latex corsets and clear latex stockings. The show ended with a big Madonna-esque extravaganza by Madame S. From the opening, in which several leather “puppies” were walked out by some hot leather men, to the pansexual romp on the big black leather bed behind them, this show really echoed what was great about the whole event. All sorts of fetishes and fetish looks were presented on stage in this show, and it was perfectly a reflection of the audience, who represented a full range of fetishes, sexualities, and tastes. After the show, gay leather men danced beside a heterosexual Daddy-and-little-girl couple who alongside three lesbians in sailor suits who were getting down next to two latex-clad girls making out with a goth guy wearing seemingly nothing but black tape.

I had a flash of realization looking down on it all. At other clubs you dress to impress, you put on the prettiest or handsomest shell you can, not only to attract, but also to protect. After all, you will be surrounded by strangers and, while you might want to meet someone or make friends, still you have to be wary of the people you don’t want to meet.

But at a fetish event, people don’t just wear clothes – protective coloration if you will. They wear their heart on their sleeves. They show to everyone their dreams and desires, their innermost cravings and needs.

Those fellow fetishists dancing below me were holding themselves open, holding their hearts open for all to see. And I loved them for it – I felt as if we were all one big family – a band of people who had come together to be openly themselves and hold that same freedom open to those around them. I felt that the only restrictions that night were the ones those people created, made of latex and leather and desire.

It was a rush. I came away from the evening, from the whole weekend, more in love with the fetish scene than I had been before. And how many events are not just fun, or interesting, but actually make you fall in love with your chosen fetish all over again…?

by Zylle Defeu