Yva Richard, the first fetish shop in the world
My readers can be real nitpickers sometimes. A couple of months ago I showed you what I called ‘the first fetish film ever’, as it featured foot worship and whipping scenes but no pornographic action. I soon received two or three emails pointing out that I was mistaken: that was no fetish, but just a BDSM session “accidentally” involving foot and shoe fetish elements, because there was no focus on these practices.
Well, as open to interpretation these things are, I think I’ll stand my ground on that definition. But those notes led me to think what was the earliest undoubtably fetish picture I could locate… driving me to better research the topic. And today I can share my discoveries with you.
The above photo is not the earliest example of a “modern” fetish outfit – because I want to keep this website free of overly explicit imagery. The model and most of her leather attire are the same, however, so let me introduce you to Mrs. Nativa Richard, exhibitionist extraordinaire from 1923 Paris, also known as ‘Miss Milado’ or ‘Helios’.
Nativa was a seamstress who created her kinky items herself, and with her husband “L.” she founded what is generally considered the first fetish boutique in the world, Yva Richard. Just like the shops of today, Yva Richard sold “special” clothes, shoes and boots, along with the erotic photos by the Biederer brothers, condoms, whips and other unique sex toys. Lacking the Internet, they ran a worldwide mail order business through gentlemen’s magazines like La vie parisienne and Le sourire.
Yva Richard’s designs were so successful they were later plagiarized overseas by the New York “special interests” shop ran by the elusive Charles Guyette. The closest thing to a real competitor they had was however another Parisian shop called Diana Slip, which specialized in frilly and rather obscene lingerie. According to some sources it was to Diana Slip that L. Richard sold his company in the late 1920s to concentrate on fetish photography starring his wife – but here the story becomes murky due to the loss of reliable records during the two world wars. What is sure is that none of the shops survived the nazi invasion; their memory however survive still.