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PALM LATITUDES

IN EXCESS : The Ultimate Fashion Don't

August 07, 1994|Zuzana Prochazka

I kept seeing the ads in the local giveaways and I couldn't resist: I called and ordered a catalogue. It went to the wrong address, and when my neighbor brought it by, I thought I caught a quick wink. On the envelope were a heart-shaped padlock with crossed keys and the words, "Chastity, Fashion with a Message."

The message comes from Chastity U.S.A., an L.A. company that sells chastity belts designed to be worn over clothing. Enrique Oliver, the man behind the belt, considers it a symbol of the renaissance of romance and leisurely courting. "Save it for the one you love," says Oliver.

Chastity offers 15 styles for women and three for men. All have intriguing names like Lucy, Daisy, Gigi and Plain Jane, and each is a sturdy combination of leather, chains, rivets and padlocks. (Should the key be lost, there's no need for emergency roadside service: The belts conveniently unsnap from the back.) They come in three sizes, but they don't come cheap--low end is $49.95, high end $69.95.

I considered what message I would send with "Heather"--a white belt suggested to be perfect as a bridal shower gift--if I were to be, say, wearing it while checking the fat content on a package of Nutter Butters in Von's. Would my statement be too strong? Would it be a "conversation ice-breaker" as suggested in the Chastity Inc. literature?

Oliver concedes that sales are slow, but he says his products are a symbolic weapon in a war on promiscuity. As he says, "Let's stop, lock it and start the cleaning."

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