Categories
Articles

Assaad Awad’s Special-Order Bondage Gear

Photo by the Leafhopper Project

Assaad Awad makes fashion that scares the living shit out of people. This Lebanese-born, Madrid-based designer spent 14 years in advertising before quitting to open up his own workshop, and today he specializes in outfits and accessories that wouldn’t be out of place in a Flash Gordon villain’s filthy rape basement.

Assaad has made reflective gold and silver armor for a Thierry Mugler Paris Fashion Week show, a dress made out of wood for Lady Gaga, and ancient Egyptian-esque crowns for Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance. He also crafts bondage gear for a less famous and much odder private clientele, which is mostly what I wanted to talk to him about when I met him (at his suggestion) in the cellar of a Madrid fetish shop.

VICE: How does someone raised in a very conservative country like Lebanon become a luxury fetish designer?
**Assaad Awad: **It doesn’t matter where you’re born—if the fetish is inside you it will come out at some point in your life. You simply cannot hide it. It will come out sooner or later. And sooner is better, because we only live once.

What’s sex like in Lebanon?
There’s a lot of respect. It’s like cooking in a microwave versus three hours on a low flame—the way it tastes is better, you get to where you want to be, and everything explodes.

I’m not sure I get what you mean.
In Europe, you go out for a drink, you get tipsy, flirt with someone, take them home, have sex, and don’t even ask for his or her name. That is microwave sex. On the other hand, because of the taboos in the Arab world, fetish sex [in Lebanon] has a totally different approach. It is cooked on coal, the old-fashioned way. As we all know, the longer you cook on a low flame, the more the taste is enhanced. This is the way it’s done where I come from. You heat up your partner, meet them more than once, and then invite him or her to taste your recipe. That’s what I call a hot dish.

Is it more open-minded there than in Spain?
Everything forbidden is desired. The fetish world is like a game, a role-play, but in the Arab world it has two sides: one is the game, the other is the forbidden, real-life fact. So it is twice as powerful.

So there’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Lebanon, I take it.
Some of the weirdest special orders I’ve had were from Arabs living and working in Beirut. Most of the stuff I make for those guys you can’t even FedEx—it just gets blocked [by the government]. The only way is to send a person off with their luggage full of fetish accessories. Custom-made wall-mounted harnesses, strap-ons, dildo holders, spikes… Many clients want to get fucked by a strap-on placed on their partner’s quadriceps, knees, or even back. My last project was really fun to work on: It’s a kind of a rabbit vibrator fixed on a leather backpack-like bag, so the first partner would wear it on his back, and the other would mount his back just like a horse and get pleasure that way.

Wow.
What I’ve learned from my clients and their behavior is that the more powerful your role in society is, the more you want to be humiliated by your mistress or master. It kind of offers you what the real world cannot offer, because you need to be strong and mean at work to meet expectations. In your private world, you just want to give away this authority, to reset your energy, to fuel up, to be able to be even meaner in the real world.

Source