Charles Guyette: Godfather of American Fetish Art
Charles Guyette, the “G-string King,” referenced in the film of Wonder Woman’s creator, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, and costumer to Bettie Page, was the first person to produce and distribute fetish art in America. In 1935, he was arrested and sent to federal prison. But what should’ve been the end was just the beginning. Although rarely credited by name in his lifetime, he influenced everyone who would follow him, particularly the publishers Robert Harrison, John Willie, Irving Klaw, and Leonard Burtman. The aim of this book was to evoke the spirit of Guyette—to collect surviving fragments of a decimated catalog largely by referencing vintage fetish publications from the 1930s through the 1980s and reconstruct a lost history. This portfolio of images is followed by biographical information seen nowhere else, and serves as a substantial introduction to the birth of American fetish art and the cultural impact of an unrecognized pioneer.
“If New York collector, writer and fetish historian Richard Pérez Seves had not decided to assemble what he knew about Charles Guyette (along with a substantial selection of images) into this paperback, this influential forerunner of the genre’s better known exponents would have continued a lot longer as the great unsung hero of American fetish art.”
—Tony Mitchell, thefetishistas.com
From The Author:
“Fetish art (although the word “fetish” was not used in those days as that term came into fashion in a non-clinical way in the 1970s) was about testing the boundaries of freedom. Some of it had to do with unconventional sexual expression … but more of it had to do with fashion because of how identity and gender are connected to what we wear.
Charles Guyette was a sexual fantasist, who earned his living as a costumer. He sold photos of his “costume studies” on the sly. He produced custom-made high-heel boots and shoes, sold corsets, opera gloves, and other eccentric accessories. He understood the transformative power of clothing, particularly “bizarre” and theatrical fashion. He is also referenced in the new film on Wonder Woman’s creator, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, as the costumer for Wonder Woman’s real life inspiration, Olive Byrne.”
—Richard Pérez Seves
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