For ladies of the 1970s, the equal opportunities that were being offered as the stereotypes were being broken down led to erotica, with the debut of Viva: The International Magazine for Women in 1973.
Published by Bob Guccione and his partner Kathy Keeton, the founders and publishers of Penthouse Magazine, Viva was to be a companion title for women.
Subjects contained within in the pages included erotica, fashion, beauty, celebrity interviews, as well as articles and fiction focused on women’s fantasies.
Just like its male counterpart, full frontal nudity was included in Viva as well as pictorials dedicated to sexual encounters. But its art direction made it a unique magazine, avoiding the sleaze and focusing on the style.
The first issue debuted with a one million copy print run – and pushing the boundaries of this decade. In the same year, Playgirl was also launched.
The racy covers encouraged many readers to pick it up – sexy but not too overt, as well as covering subjects such as tattoos, erogenous zones, feminism, fetishes and interviews with A list celebrities such as Shirley Maclaine, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty and John Lennon.
In 1976, the overt nudity was dropped, and Viva was aligned as a competitor to Cosmopolitan Magazine, adding fashion editor Anna Wintour, now known as the editor of Vogue Magazine. Wintour brought German photographer Helmut Newton to the pages of Viva, adding an artistic yet sexy interpretation of clothing and women.
But with the change in publication style, Viva lost its male readers, who had enjoyed the nudity and sexual content. By January 1979 the magazine was closed down, having never made any profits.
But its unique style of photography and art direction was what made this magazine unique and despite its disappearance from the newsstand before the beginning of the next decade, made it a worthy publication to emulate.