Pin-up Queen; Bettie Page
Bettie Page; Pin-up Queen, glamour icon and underground bondage model. This surreal character crops up every now an again with an increased fan-base and a constant need to inspire the lingerie industry.
Secrets in Lace have been designing the Bettie Page lingerie collection inspired by her 1950’s photographs and stills making sure to remain true to the style of the era and the prints Bettie loved.
Playful Promises Boutique has been selling pieces from the very popular Bettie Page lingerie line for a while and the seamed stockings are one of our more popular items. We’re expanding the Bettie Page line to also feature online, but where does a pin-up’s career even begin?
Bettie Page always desired to be in the spotlight, she moved to New York after her first divorce to find work as an actress, but by day supported herself working as a secretary.
Whilst out walking one day she came across enthusiast photographer Jerry Tibbs. He put together her first pin-up portfolio and her career as a pin-up was launched.
By the 1940’s, pornography was illegal, therefore ‘camera clubs’ were invented to bypass the pornography laws. Bettie became a glamour model and camera club model posing nude on many occasions. Her lack of inhibitions brought her a great amount of work and landed her in men’s magazines of the era such as Wink, Titter and Beauty Parade.
Often the camera club models provided their own lingerie which has been an inspiration to many faux retro lingerie designers. Many pieces would have been made by the models themselves; in particular Bettie had a knack for combining fashionable prints with contemporary styling. An amazing insight into lingerie fashion of the era.
1952 was the year her pin-up career really begun as she worked alongside Irving Klaw who produced mail-order photographs. Here images of a pin-up, bondage or sadomasochist theme were produced and these images shot Bettie Page to stardom.
Bettie became a famous bondage model appearing in photographs, short-films and stills that Klaw’s customers requested. Although none of Klaw’s and pages work featured nudity or scenes of overtly sexual content they did feature fetish scenarios including abduction, domination, bondage, tying up and more. We’ll let your mind wonder.
Incredible lingerie fashions were used from tight leather costumes to lacy and silky nightwear as well as high-heel shoes and lace-up boots.
Furthermore Bettie appeared in several burlesque films made by Irving Klaw including Teasearama and Varietease. These films including dance routines and several striptease artists.
In 1954 a chance meeting whilst on holiday in Miami lead to a collaboration with Bunny Yeager. A model turned photographer, Bunny Yeager set-up a photo-session in a Florida nature reserve featuring two beautiful cheetahs. The ‘Jungle Bettie’ shots are some of her most celebrated images, she models a home-made leopard print bikini set as well as some renown nude shots too.
Bunny Yeager also set-up a photo session for images she later sent to Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy. The image, of Bettie in a Father Christmas hat winking at the camera, was chosen to be ‘Playmate of the Month centrefold’ in the Playboy magazine in January of 1955. This feature led her to be voted as ‘Miss Pin-up Girl of the World’.
Although it seems Bettie’s modelling career was short-lived she was one of the most famous models of the period and her career lasted longer than most of the industry individuals. She retired from her pin-up career and became a born-again Christian.
Since the 1950’s Bettie’s images have kept re-surfacing creating a cult following and an ever growing fan-base. Books have been published and more recently biographies and films have been made.
Bettie herself was in and out of the lime-light but was rumoured to not have been earning any money from the images used. Her photographs, films and stills have inspired generation after generation and her bondage scenes are still sought-after.
If, like us at Playful Promises, you are mesmerised by this intriguing character then take a look at the Bettie Page inspired lingerie and stockings and perhaps you can create your own Jungle Bettie photographs!