Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bizarre's Butterfly Lady

I was enchanted by this nubile "Bizarre" Butterfly Woman and thought that her human/butterfly hybrid form was reminiscent of what of Loie Fuller tried to achieve in her Butterfly Dance (which I blogged about last month here). She is a decidedly more erotic hybrid than that of Fuller though, and is the creation of artist/illustrator John Alexander Scott Coutts, who went under the pseudonym John Willie and was the editor, photographer and publisher who also created the artwork for the vintage fetish/bondage magazine Bizarre (1946-1959).

The magazine catered to those with a variety of fetishes (corsets, high heels, sadomasochism and transvestism to name a few), and managed to beat the censors of the time because Willie was careful to avoid images of nudity, homosexuality and violence, which would probably have provoked the ire of said censors.

Although the magazine only ran for a short time, (it wasn't published between 1947-1951 because of paper shortages due to the Second World War), it achieved cult status, and you can see how John Willie's erotic images may perhaps have influenced fashion and shoe designers (such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Loboutin, and Manolo Blahnik), photographers, (Ellen von Unworth, Helmut Newton), and also the style of erotic icons such as Betty Page and Dita Von Teese.