Yva Richard was a French fetishwear company of the early 20th century. It was formed in Paris, by L. Richard and his wife Nativa, who was a seamstress.
They began in 1914 selling costumes, women’s hats, shoes, and high-class lingerie.
In 1923, their range of products started to include in-house produced photography, ranging from erotic lingerie poses to increasingly risque and imaginative fetish outfits. Nativa, displaying a wide streak of exhibitionism, was the principal model for over a decade. She sometimes used the names Helios and Miss Milado. Their photographs are often marked with a “Y.R.” in the corner and may have been taken by her husband.
They also sold erotic photos of bondage, whipping and spanking from well-known photographers such as H. Manuel and Ostra Studio (a division of Biederer Studio). Their main sales outlet was via a mail-order catalog, La Lingerie Moderne (photographed by Ostra Studio), and magazine advertisements in La Vie Parisienne, Le Sourire, and most likely London Life.
By the 1930s their catalog expanded, adding fetishistic accessories and S&M accouterments such as leather corsets, high-heeled boots, handcuffs, shackles, masks, dog collars with leashes, and bizarre dominatrix ensembles made of leather, rubber, and even metal.
However, the events of World War II brought an end to Yva Richard, along with most other purveyors of erotic art, products, and apparel throughout Europe. The company was forced to close its doors forever in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of France.
Yva Richard was one of a handful of companies that provided groundbreaking fetish fashions and photographs in the 1930s and ’40s. They had only one major rival, Diana Slip—a fetish wear company run by Leon Vidal, also based in Paris. Vidal’s collection while very much marketed to purveyors of kink had a slightly more sophisticated air and was not as overtly deviant as Yva Richard’s designs. In America, the only significant dealer in fetish paraphernalia and photography (much of it imported from France) at that time was Charles Guyette in New York.
Perhaps the most important result of the Yva Richard catalog was the influence it would have on the next generation of artists such as John Willie (who purchased items from Richard and Diana Slip in the ’30s) and photographers like Irving Klaw. In the 1950s, Klaw’s models, including Bettie Page, can be seen wearing a metal cone-bra and chastity belt outfit that is an updated version of the one modelled by Nativa Richard.
A book about the company has been published called: “Yva Richard, L’age d’or du fetichisme” by Alexandre Dupouy.
Fetishism tends to focus on materials. As far as underwear is concerned, recurring materials are silk and nylon, but after these two fabrics became outdated, designers began to use leather, metal and above all latex. Leather and metal have been used for a long time, as shown in the photographs of Yva Richard but it is latex that has considerable appeal today. In the 1920’s, Yva Richard appeared in a whole series of photographs in which she posed as a dominatrix. She usually modelled a corset similar to those of the second half of the 19th century, or all-in-ones in silky, smooth and shiny materials or leather. Leather was the fetishist’s material of choice for a long time.
Clothing fetishism or garment fetishism is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a collection of garments that appear as part of a fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a garment.
Clothing that limits the wearer’s movement is commonly used for this property, particularly among bondage enthusiasts and it has common appearance in bondage-related fetish fashion. Such restrictive fashion, among others, includes corsets, collars, and hobble skirts. The training corset and bondage corset has also become a staple in fetish wear, particularly among professional dominants. A submissive or slave may also be forced to wear a tightly laced corset as a form of punishment or simply restriction. And the masochistic practice known as tightlacing creates a particular type of pleasure for the wearer. It is done to achieve cosmetic modifications to the figure and posture or to experience the sensation of bodily restriction. In the 1980s, pop music performers such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper reintroduced and popularized the corset as a daring outerwear garment. This influence continues to the present day in both fetish and mainstream fashion.
Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a sexual attraction to people wearing leather and or to the garments themselves. The smell and the sound of leather is often an erotic stimulus for people with a leather fetish.
BDSM – A variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle. The term “BDSM” is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).
A dominatrix is a woman who takes the dominant role in BDSM activities. A dominatrix might be of any sexual orientation, but her orientation does not necessarily limit the genders of her submissive partners. The role of a dominatrix may not even involve physical pain toward the submissive; her domination can be verbal, involving humiliating tasks, or servitude.
Sources / More to Read:
Spanking Art: Yva Richard
Wikipedia: Yva Richard
Editions Astarte: “Yva Richard, L’age d’or du fetichisme” by Alexandre Dupouy
Dangerous Minds: Fierce vintage fetish wear from the 1920s and 1930s
Wikipedia: Sexual fetishism
Wikipedia: Clothing fetishism
Wikipedia: Outline of BDSM