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Z

entai is originally from the Japanese ????, which refers to

a bodysuit made of skin-tight fabric, such as Lycra or nylon. The English

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meaning of zentai is “full-body�, that is to say, this suit gives the wearer a fullbody coverage including hood, full-length gloves and tights. Therefore, the fabric is regarded as the second-skin for a human body. It can be aligned to Spandex fetishism: a fetish for stretch fabrics. Unlike rubber fetishism,

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those wearing Zentai suits still sense the world in an indirect way, instead of cutting it out and feeling extremely compressed in rubber suits. The blurred or distorted sensory experiences provide a kind of pleasure for Zentai fetishists; the pressure of the tight fabric against the genitals is also the way in which the orgasm is achieved.

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It may sound unlikely, and most people could not imagine seeing a person in a Zentai suit wandering around, but we have been familiar with this garment for quite a long time. Spandex material is in daily use – much athletic and aerobic apparel is made of it because of its flexibility; and highstreet fashion accessories, like leggings and belts, use it for shaping the bodyline. And the superheroes are Zentai suits most powerful adherents,

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from Superman to Spiderman. They all choose Zentai to express their masculinity by making their muscles more discernible under the fabric.

This type of gimmick also appeared on the runway. In the 2009 Spring RTW Maison Martin Margiela show, the designer used models with

For practical purposes, Zentai suits can have eyeholes and mouth

covered faces and limbs catwalking as living mannequins. It was as if the

holes; otherwise they should have no face holes because the wearer within

attendee were watching a sci-fi movie in which fashion victims had finally

the suit forms an entity. Some may well question whether that is really that

found a way to turn their skin into nude fabric to go with their wardrobe.

interesting. The answer is “Yes”. With all visible features wrapped up in a

For fetishists who live their lives in fantasies, Zentai suits are the medium

human-shaped sack, a person becomes anonymous. People are thereby able

that they rely upon to transfer them into another sphere.

to place themselves in a surrounding with different patterns on the fabric. For example, there are some Zentai fetishists who love to do “walkabouts”; a blog called “Zentai Project” records their activities when they walk on streets or in nature. They wear zebra Zentai suits to visit a tiger in a zoo, or golden Zentai suits to enjoy a beautiful sunset on a mountain. And the feature of “second-skin” can also be applied on a more realistic circumstance. Some wear nude-coloured Zentai suits as perfectly waxed female skin, and put on rubber female masks as if they are beautiful dolls. This plastic disguise helps to express their second, or multiple personalities. [That isn't clear. Please improve.]

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▞ As soon as I got this suit, which I purchased on eBay, I decided to “draw” something on it without thinking too much. ▞ But what to draw? ▞ One day I chatted with an ex-colleague who used to be the graphic designer of the magazine I worked for. He said he had just resigned because he wanted to apply for an MA calligraphy course next year. Suddenly my question was answered. ▞ Ink painting. ▞ Black and white, what used to contradict will immerse into each other’s sphere. During the integration, disturbance is unavoidable. But after a period of time the two opposites will evolve into a new form, then everything stops at that moment. This is “Zen” – the spirit of coming nowhere and ending nowhere, leading to eternal emptiness. ▞ I met the model when we were in London, we had a reunion drink and I invited her to be my model because no model with an agent's contract wants to do modelling with full-body covering. I asked her “So you don’t feel uncomfortable wearing this Zentai suit?” “Not at all, I even want to wear this to go to a restaurant!” she answered in an excited voice. ▞ But can you imagine being painted with acrylic and ink, all over your body, lying on a solid, cold floor and waiting for those paints and water to be soaked into Lycra fabric, dried out, and stuck to real skin?

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▞ This time I tortured the model’s sense of touch. ▞

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Story Four_MAYU(jp.) Cocoon (eg.)_A Lifestyle About Zentai