Dress Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me: A Look at the Role of the Dominatrix in Fashion From the 1950s to Today

The word "Fetish" is emblazoned on the cover of this month's Numéro magazine, while Katie Holmes and Claudia Schiffer both don leather and lace with a
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The word "Fetish" is emblazoned on the cover of this month's Numéro magazine, while Katie Holmes and Claudia Schiffer both don leather and lace with a
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The word "Fetish" is emblazoned on the cover of this month's Numéro magazine, while Katie Holmes and Claudia Schiffer both don leather and lace with a side of kink on the covers of Vogue Spain and Germany. A pattern seems to be emerging...

Lately there has been a flood of fashion editorials that dive into the world of fetish and fantasy, where the dominatrix rules (and don't forget the occasional sexy maid). Fashion and pop culture have come together for the perfect storm with sinister fall collections from labels like Louis Vuitton (remember his show was titled "Fetish"), Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, while Rihanna is loving S&M, and Lady Gaga performs in Gianni Versace's bondage collection. It's no surprise that fashion editorials are experiencing the trickle down effect.

Thierry Mugler once described fashion as a "very cruel...very demanding mistress," and we couldn't agree more. It's an apt description and helps to explain why the dark world of fetish and fashion have always been, well, bedmates. Masks, PVC, whips and latex don't have much of a place in real life but since when was high fashion concerned with practicality and reality? The fashion editorial is the perfect place to be a little naughty.

In celebration of sin we'd like to take a look back on the dominatrix and her partner, the submissive, in fashion photography. Caution: Fetish, riding crops, and nudity ahead.

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Though only peripherally connected to fashion photography proper (he acted as mentor to Guy Bourdin in the 1950s), it's clear that Man Ray's influence has been felt. His photographs ranged from women portrayed as objects (a violin, a coathanger) to these more wanton and erotic images.

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The Guy Bourdin mistress from the 1970s was often high gloss and precisely positioned, giving her an almost clinical quality. Don't let that fool you, though, these ladies are clearly up to no good.

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Bourdin's contemporary, Helmut Newton, subverted the subversive by occasionally placing his doms and subs in surgical or orthopaedic corsets, braces, or even saddles.

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Ellen Von Unwerth's Revenge took a special look at bondage and BDSM relationships with a vintage, Betty Paige feel. The book doesn't stray too far from her typical shooting style.

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The cinched waist is an essential element of the dominatrix image. Thierry Mugler did it like none other with his brand of severe glamour in the 1990s.

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Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Elle UK, 1995.

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Jamie Bochert goes for a walk with her...pet? By David LaChapelle, 2002.

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The dominatrix was a frequent visitor on the pages of Vogue Paris while Carine Roitfeld was at the reins. It was a sinister edge that went with her when she left the magazine.

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Here's a sampling of fetish and the dominatrix for fall, from the timidly brazen to the downright taboo. Numéro's current Fetish issue hits the trend hard, probably repeatedly, with a cat o' nine tails.

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Vogue covers are having a naughty moment.

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Claudia Schiffer by Miles Aldridge in Vogue Germany.

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Katie Holmes by Tom Munro in Vogue Spain

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The popular lace masks even showed up at Chanel's Fall 2011 Haute Couture show this past July.

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Harper's Bazaar UK August, Visionaire 60

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Vogue Japan August, Marie Claire US August

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Vogue Italia July

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The current issue of LOVE we've been loving has forayed into fetish and bondage as well.