Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Playboy Club, a pleasant surprise

Dad collected Playboy Magazines and was a member of the NYC Playboy Club. When I was a little girl my parents punished me because I thought it would be cute to go out on the porch and pose for my young neighbor after looking at dad's magazine. Wonder if I was imagining hearing him chuckle as mom frowned at him.

Dad didn't leave his mags laying around the house or anything like that but kids will get into EVERYTHING. My son confessed how he opened and re - taped Christmas presents I thought I had hidden so well.

I wonder if dad attempted to make up for it, as he rarely if ever, punished me, much later in life when as young aspiring artist I was commissioned to paint one of his favorite centerfold models. Done very tastefully, she was standing sideways wearing a short sheer baby doll nightie. She resembled Marilyn Monroe, about the age MM first posed for the magazine. It is one of the things I wish I had been given after dad passed away but I can almost bet it went to the trash bin thanks to his 2nd wife.

I was actually anticipating Pan Am more than the Playboy Club. I found the suspense plot from The Playboy Club more interesting.

Must note the authentic Playboy Bunny uniforms were cut sexier than those worn on the tv series. Maybe the costume dept had to bend to tv censors?

credit - Glenn Francis

As you can see, by the photo above, the thighs were cut to the waist.

vs the thigh cut in photo below:

credit - NBC

Arent the kiddies supposed to be in bed by 10PM? After all, not to give the plot line away, an extremely violent and bloody scene was allowed. I guess I shouldnt be surprised that we are so desensitized to violence yet prudes to the human body. And while I mention a human body, I would like to say VA VA VOOM! For women with REAL curves just like the actresses of the show and not the stick figures the media and most designers pass as "normal"

credit - NBC

Tails were soft, fluffy, tidy...more like powder puffs.

credit - Bunny PJ

The famous tail was one if not the most important accent of the uniform.

Early Bunnies wore black mesh for years until more comfortable black hose were introduced later in the 60s.

You can also tell, by the 80s uniform above how high those thighs were cut.

credit - History Wired

Update 2.16.2013 As it turns out Huff Po published an article in honor of Black History month about Zelda Wynn Valdes, Black Fashion Designer Who was the original creator for The Playboy Bunny Outfit.

"Zelda was revered for her design talent and best known for her skill in highlighting the female body. Her curve-hugging creations were worn and loved by a host of Hollywood's biggest starlets during the 1940s and 50s, including Joyce Bryant, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West. The Pennsylvania-native's key role in glamorizing these women caught the attention of Playboy's Hugh Hefner and he commissioned Zelda to design the first-ever Playboy Bunny costumes. And history has proven, the low-cut, skin-tight, sexy outfits are an iconic symbol of seduction and allure, forever ingrained in pop culture."

Zelda also designed for Marlene Dietrich, Joyce Bryant, Maria (Mrs. Nat “King”) Cole, Edna (Mrs. Sugar Ray) Robinson and later superstars like Gladys Knight and opera diva Jessye Norman.

Here is a link to an article about her in Ebony Style.

Thanks to vintie-loving friend Theresa Gotty for the lead.

On another note, I also remember Playboy mag having great music articles, this was before the days of Rolling Stone and other music magazines.

Singer Jackie Wilson autographs the cuff of a Playboy Bunny at a dinner for the Motion Picture Pioneers Association at the Playboy Club on November 19, 1962 in New York, New York. - credit irockjazz on Facebook.

A vintie-loving friend of ours, Kat Monroe, made further observations [of the show] stating the "dialogue was inauthentic. VIP customer to bunny: 'You are a thing of Beauty'...Bunny's remarks back end with a caustic...'I'm not a thing' "It would simply NEVER happen".

"Also the terms 'street PERSON' and 'Homeless person'...were called 'bums' or 'hobos' in those days. She also noted there was barely any smoking - as in Mad Men where you can clearly tell cigarette smoking took place everywhere, including doctor offices!

She is correct. In those years there was no such thing as PC. We were clue-less about the dangers of nicotine, cigarette ads and commercial were OK. Job security for women did not yet exist. Its great having another pair of eyes.

Fun trivia; Did you know? There is a bunny on every cover of the Playboy Magazine.

Dad & I made a game of Who Could Find It Faster.

Some were obvious;

Others, not so much;

Smithsonian Institute - "In the late 1960s, Playboy introduced Pucci-influenced, psychedelic-print costumes.

70's Bunnies Great Gorge NJ. Left one most probably Pucci uniform.

credit - Christian Montone

Also from Smithsonian - "In the early 1980s, the Bunny Cabaret costume was developed, inspired by Hugh Heffner, complete with Espree mesh stockings, garters and dyed pumps."

Wikipidea - 'The most famous maneuver of all, the "Bunny Dip," was invented by Kelly Collins, once renowned for being the "Perfect Bunny"; to do the "Bunny Dip" the Bunny gracefully leaned backwards while bending at the knees with the left knee lifted and tucked behind the right leg. This maneuver allowed the Bunny to serve drinks while keeping her low-cut costume in place.'

LINK: Marchesa designs for the new Playboy in London opening after a 30 year hiatus.

17. 05. 2011
Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig have taken on the daunting task of revamping the iconic Playboy Bunny costume. The high-fashion redesign is to celebrate the reopening of the new Playboy Club which will open in London on July 4th after a 30 year break.

“The Playboy brand is about fantasy and escapism, which are elements embodied in our Marchesa collections" explains co-designer Georgina Chapman of the somewhat unusual pairing.

"We've taken our inspiration from the original costume but added Marchesa's signature details, such as hand draping and embroidery, while staying true to the Playboy Bunny's classic corset silhouette. The result is a modern, yet feminine interpretation of this legendary look," said Chapman.

"I recently discovered that both Lauren Hutton and Debbie Harry were Playboy Bunnies in the Sixties," continues Chapman. "They would've been perfect; they are so fun and daring in their style.”

The one-off Marchesa piece will be auctioned prior to the Playboy Club reopening, on May 26th on to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.


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