You may know E.L.F Zhou’s work without being aware of it – a leather cone bra or articulated arm cuff front and center on a celebrity or mainstream media publication – while flipping through British Vogue, perhaps? Interesting, uber-feminine curve enhancing shapes and accentuating cuts that are sensual and in-your-face, but somehow with an extreme elegance too.
Feminine sculptural leather in E.L.F Zhou’s sensual shapes.
It’s easy to see the allure – the edgy shapes of the leatherwork lend themselves to iconicism in portraiture or photography, resonating a slightly other-wordly rawness despite the organic hand crafting of the British veg tanned leather. All materials are locally sourced from British and Italian suppliers to ensure quality and durability of all lingerie pieces and leather artefacts.
Leather cuffs, collars, garters and bras juxtaposed with soft flowing silks and lace.
The articulated arm cuff is a favourite of mine for its empowering dark Wonder Woman / female Batman gauntlets / Marvel universe vibe. An extended version of the easy to wear everyday Lunate wrist cuff, either piece can be ordered for left or right hands (or both as a set) and pair perfectly with a simple day outfit – singlet and leggings or jeans, immediately spicing up the entire look with edgy effortless cool. I plan to be wearing that look for most of summer, so stay tuned! (Or follow my instagram for super simple OOTD inspirations.)
Who and where is E.L.F Zhou?
What’s surprising is how young this brand is for one so in demand; with founders Yue Zhou and Qi Zhang graduating from the London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London) with degrees in Fashion Contour and Fashion Artefact in 2015. Named E.L.F after Yue’s nickname and representing Exclusive Lingerie / Leather in Fashion, handcrafted and bespoke services are offered to private clientele at a London-based atelier and showroom, which I would love-love-love to pay a visit to someday.
Inspired by the contrast between the feminine mysticism of the East and avant-garde nature of the West, E.L.F Zhou finds their equilibrium somewhere between the unknown and the revamped.
Why we’re crazy for the drama of E.L.F Zhou…
With a desire to blend the lines between inner and outwear (resonating with Pearls & Arsenic corsetry’s goals much?) many of the items are bondage inspired with costume caricature and masquerade elements, such as opulent 24 carat gold plated D-ring thumb straps, animal masks in bright red or black, dramatic cut out bodywear and flowing outerwear silks in colours like Old Rose and Bordeaux.
Collections offer so much variety that you can pick and choose what level of intensity you want – a simple cuff, O-ring choker, simple kimono or fully body leather set. There’s something for everyone who wants a taste of alternative allure, and items are that kind of collectable essential that lasts for years and remains deliciously stylish.
More recognisable still are the sculpted cup bra (aka sculpted demi) in red or black and the signature restraint leg garters as spotted above in British Vogue, wearable on the skin or over fitted leggings for one heck of an awesome outfit edge. I’d personally love to rock those vaguely cyborg cosplay garters over leggings but my fabulous rowing thighs tend to fluctuate in size so it may prove too tricky for me, though please feel free to wear them and tag me on instagram so I can revel and applaud in awe.
E.L.F Zhou is available online with international shipping and they are speedy to respond to orders. Leather colours in stock can vary, so if you have a specific colour in mind you may want to contact them. (My Lunate wrist cuffs are in nude and bordeaux. Now only black and red leathers are available – but red wasn’t available when I purchased mine. So be sure to contact them if you have questions about your order.)
Take a deep breath and dive into the world of E.L.F – I’m sure you’ll love it. Enjoy, darlings!
Website : E.L.F Zhou.com
Instagram : @ElfZhouLondon
Thanks to references from Not Just A Label