SomethingDark
<<
<
Click to view page 0 - cover Click to view page 2 - contents Click to view page 4 - editorial Click to view page 6 - news Click to view page 8 - news Click to view page 10 - photography Click to view page 12 - photography Click to view page 14 - photography Click to view page 16 - photography Click to view page 18 - photography Click to view page 20 - photography Click to view page 22 - photography_interview Click to view page 24 - photography_interview Click to view page 26 - nonfiction Click to view page 28 - nonfiction_feature Click to view page 30 - nonfiction_feature Click to view page 32 - nonfiction_critique Click to view page 34 - nonfiction-reflection Click to view page 36 - art Click to view page 38 - art Click to view page 40 - art Click to view page 42 - art Click to view page 44 - art Click to view page 46 - art_interview Click to view page 48 - art_interview Click to view page 50 - featured-fetish Click to view page 52 - featured-fetish_research Click to view page 54 - featured-fetish_research Click to view page 56 - featured-fetish Click to view page 58 - featured-fetish_article Click to view page 60 - featured-fetish Click to view page 62 - art_article Click to view page 64 - featured-fetish_research Click to view page 66 - featured-fetish_research Click to view page 68 - featured-fetish_research Click to view page 70 - SomethingDark Click to view page 72 - literature Click to view page 74 - literature Click to view page 76 - literature_interview Click to view page 78 - literature_interview Click to view page 80 - inReview Click to view page 82 - inReview Click to view page 84 - inReview Click to view page 86 - inReview Click to view page 88 - inReview Click to view page 90 - something-drawn Click to view page 92 - back-cover
>
>>


determined to make his love of fetishism available to like-mind-
ed people – there were more like-minded people at that time than one might at first think – and he published Bizarre first from New York and then from Holly-
wood, from 1946 to 1959. Pro-
claimed a “great artist, [a] vision-
ary” and “the Leonardo da Vinci of Fetish” by the renown Ameri-
can fetish photographer, Eric Kroll,12 stilettos featured in most of the artwork, and what may be termed “proto-stiletto high heels” featured in most of the photo-
graphy, in every issue of Bizarre.

A younger artist whose career overlapped with Willie’s was Eric Stanton (1926–99). Born Ernest Stanzone in New York, Willie’s work was an influence on Stanton’s comic and illustration art, although Stanton, unlike Willie, is mainly known for his focus on dominant women. They wore stiletto heels, of course. And, although Caroline Cox des-
cribes Stanton’s creations as “power-crazed women trampling on slave males”,13 many women in real life, apparently, were app-
reciative: Stanton’s obituary in the British national broadsheet, The Independent, revealed the following:

In 1984, the trendy New York club the Danceteria held the only

exhibition of [Stanton’s] work to date. Four thousand fans turned up and made the event a res-
ounding success. “Thirty-six women and four guys asked me to sign a catalogue,” Stanton proudly boasted.14

But Willie and Stanton were not the only artists and photograph-
ers with a fetishistic passion for the stiletto heel, and nor were they the first to express such passions in images and place them in the public domain. Colin McDowell, in Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy, devotes a full page to an erotically suggestive drawing de-
picting a hapless manservant cleaning the stiletto-heeled boots of a crop-wielding dominatrix. The drawing, c.1930, pre-dates Willie by some fifteen years; it is attrib-
uted to “‘Soulier’ (Paul Kamm)”. 15

Continuing in the tradition of “Soulier” and Stanton in partic-
ular, is the work of the British fetish artist Sardax, whose imagery, in both black-and-white and colour, evoke often fantastic-
al worlds of female domination. In his 2006 book, The Art of Sardax, stiletto-heeled shoes or boots feature in thirty-eight out of forty-
one images in which women are depicted in identifiable foot-
wear.16 Additionally, many of Sardax’s submissive men – all men in his work are submissive –

are also depicted wearing stiletto heels.

Photography, a relatively new medium compared with drawing and painting, has already estab-
lished a rich history of imagery in which high and stiletto heels make a significant contribution to erotic scene-setting. Many fine, early examples of such imagery are to be found in the collection of vintage fetish photography held by John and Linda DuPret, published in 2001 by the Erotic Print Society.17 Predominantly French in origin, the collection documents a fascinating interest – and trade – in erotic, fetish and BDSM (bondage and domination/ sadomasochism) imagery dating from the 1880s.

The earliest of these photographs do not depict shoes with partic-
ularly high heels, although shoes do, indeed, feature in many of them even when the models are not wearing much else.18 Higher heels appear in a shot by one of the few identifiable photograph-
ers, Biederer, in the 1900s.19 According to Linda DuPret, Biederer “was the first photo-
grapher to ‘formalise’ fetish wear”, including shoes and boots, and “his contribution to the fetish clothing and imagery of today is huge but largely unrealised”. Biederer’s work, the vast majority

of it from the 1920s, is well rep-
resented in the collection. He “produced the most extreme of the fetish photographic scenarios of the 20s”, and, among others, worked with fetish lingerie de-
signer Diana Slip.20 Some of the most stylised, professional and modern-looking images in the

John Willie's Bizarre

see note †

collection are by Biederer, and some very high heels play their intended rôle.21

Images by another Frenchman, Yva Richard, and a German, Franz Rehfeld, as well as many by an-
onymous photographers, also feature some very high heels – heels that were as close as the 1920s and, in some cases, the 1930s, could get to the thin,

featured fetish
featured fetish
66
67

True History of Stilettos: the quintessential fetish object (v) - Featured Fetish - SDk01

Issue Credits

Footnotes:

12 Eric Kroll, “Introduction”, Bizarre: The Complete Reprint of John Willie’s Bizarre, Vols. 1-26, Cologne: Taschen, 1995, pp. 6–7.

13 Cox, Stiletto, p. 103; four examples of Stanton’s work occupy page 105.

14 Pierre Perrone, “Obituary: Eric Stanton”, Independent, 5 June 1999.

15 McDowell, Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy, p. 77. The original drawing is apparently the property of British pop artist Allen Jones, also known for imagery featuring stiletto heel-shod women.

16 Sardax, The Art of Sardax, London: The Erotic Print Society, 2006. The three images of women wearing shoes that are not stilettos are “Tennis Players”, p. 22 (tennis shoes); “Toy”, p. 49 (two women are wearing court shoes, one with stiletto heels, one with Louis heels); and “Cool Drink”, p. 122 (flat sandals).

17 Dark Sex: The DuPret Collection of Fetish Photography (with a foreword by Linda DuPret), London: The Erotic Print Society, 2001. The Erotic Print Society became Erotic Review Books in 2007.

18 See Dark Sex: The DuPret Collection, p. 28, for one example from the 1880s, and p. 91 for an image from 1890. The woman bound to a St. Andrew’s cross in the latter can be seen to be wearing relatively high heels. A relative dearth of higher heels in these images during this period may possibly be the case because, as far as one source suggests, such heels may not have enjoyed as much popularity in France c. 1870–99 than they did, for example, in England: see John Peacock, Shoes: The Complete Source Book, London: Thames & Hudson, 2005, pp. 70–2, 79–80.

19 See Dark Sex: The DuPret Collection, p. 35. The identity of most of the other photographers in the DuPret collection is unknown.

20 Linda DuPret, “Foreword”, Dark Sex: The DuPret Collection, p. 7.

21 See Dark Sex: The Dupret Collection, pp. 45, 53, 55, 62, 90, 97, 98, 100, 115.

The cover of John Willie’s Bizarre magazine, vol. 1 no. 4, 1946. The contemporary stiletto heel existed in imagination before the technological advance of embedding a steel spigot in a hard plastic heel could make it a widely available reality from the mid 1950s. Before then, fetish photography that featured high heels – albeit often of the extreme variety – were of “proto-stilettos”. We catch glimpses of the modern stiletto in photography in latter issues of Bizarre, 1957–59. See Bizarre: The Complete Reprint of John Willie’s Bizarre, Vols. 1-26, Cologne: Taschen, 1995. Image courtesy of Taschen.

Contributors: Amoxes Anne Tourney Artpunk Arwendur Daryl Champion Eugène Satyrisci Geof Banyard Kedamono Mangy
Resources: Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Sardax Tank magazine Washington Project for the Arts