Playboy Bunny

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Playboy Bunny waitresses at the Playboy Mansion, July 23, 2011

A Playboy Bunny is a waitress who works at a Playboy Club and selected through standardized training. Their costumes were made up of lingerie, inspired by the tuxedo-wearing Playboy rabbit mascot. This costume consisted of a strapless corset teddy, bunny ears, black sheer-to-waist pantyhose, a bow tie, a collar, cuffs and a fluffy cottontail. In more recent Playboy Clubs, such as Sin City that was re-opened in 2006, Playboy bunnies wore slightly altered costumes that were based on the original bunny suit.

Origins[edit]

Playboy Bunny waitresses at a Playboy Club, Brazil, 2009

The original Playboy Bunny costume was designed by the mother of Ilse Taurins, who was a Latvian émigrée. At the time, Taurins was dating one of the Playboy Club co-founders, Victor Lownes III.[1]

Taurins had suggested a costume modeled after the Playboy Magazine trademark, either a rabbit or bunny, and she had her seamstress mother make a costume prototype. The prototype was reviewed at a meeting attended by Playboy Club co-founders Hugh Hefner, Victor Lownes and Arnold Morton, as well as frequent Playboy illustrator LeRoy Neiman.[citation needed]

The outfits were initially not received well by the co-founders, but Hefner advised that it could work once changes were made. The initial costume looked similar to a one piece swimsuit, with a white yarn puff tail and a headband with bunny ears, and Hefner suggested cutting the leg higher on the hip to expose more of the leg, and sharpening the v-shape of the costume. His suggested modifications were in an attempt to make the costumes more visually appealing, and the tightly laced corsets added to the feminine appeal, cinching in the Bunny's waist by at least two inches. This redesign of the bunny costume tied in directly with the need for a show-girl type of costume, achieving this look with an addition of bow ties, collars and a fluffy cottontail.[2]

For mass production, the costume was manufactured for the Playboy Clubs by the Chicago-based Kabo Corset Company, and was based upon a "merry widow" style of corset within their line.[3]

Later, in 1962, French fashion designer Renee Blot was further employed to refine the design, and her revisions included making the ears smaller, adding a collar with bow tie and cuffs with rabbit-head cufflinks, and a satin rosette with the bunny's name, worn on the hip. The original costumes were made in twelve colours of rayon satin. Several years later, Playboy engaged a prominent manufacturer of lingerie and swimwear to create a modified bunny costume that used washable stretch knit fabrics, allowing for costumes in vibrant prints as well as solid colors. The standard stockings also evolved from fishnet material to a special sheer pantyhose style supplied by Danskin. Bunnies wore two pair of these sheer stockings, a black pair worn on top of a taupe toned pair.[4]

Since 2013, rumours suggested the original design of the Playboy bunny costume was by New York fashion designer Zelda Wynn Valdes, however, there exists no evidence to support this. This is also contradicted by recounts in much earlier publications such as "Big Bunny" by Joe Goldberg (1967) and "The Bunny Years" by Kathryn Leigh Scott (1998).[5][6][7]

The bunny costume became a symbol of the Playboy Clubs, and was also the first commercial uniform to be registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. trademark registration number 0762884).[8][9][10]

Behavior and training[edit]

The Playboy Bunnies are waitresses who serve drinks at Playboy Clubs. There are different types of Bunnies, including the Door Bunny, Cigarette Bunny, Floor Bunny, Pool Bunny, Fine Dining Bunny, Playmate Bunny, and the Jet Bunnies (specially selected Bunnies trained as flight attendants; they served on the Playboy "Big Bunny" Jet).[citation needed]

To become a Bunny, women are first carefully chosen and selected from auditions. Bunnies then undergo thorough and strict training before officially becoming a Bunny. Bunnies are required to be able to identify 143 brands of liquor and know how to garnish 20 cocktail variations. Customers are not allowed to touch the Bunnies, demerits are given if a Bunny's appearance does not meet requirements, and dating or mingling with customers is forbidden.[citation needed]

A Bunny also has to master the required maneuvers to work. These include the "Bunny Stance", a posture that is required in front of patrons, where the Bunny must stand with legs together, back arched and hips tucked under. When the Bunny is resting or waiting to be of service, she must do the "Bunny Perch," where she must sit on the back of a chair, sofa, or railing without sitting too close to a patron. 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 leans backwards while bending at the knees with the left knee lifted and tucked behind the right leg. This maneuver allows the Bunny to serve drinks while keeping her low-cut costume in place. Strict regulations were enforced by special workers in the guise of patrons.[citation needed]

In the 1970s, Lownes used his country mansion, Stocks House in Hertfordshire, England, as a training camp for Bunnies. The Bunnies acted as hostesses at lavish parties thrown in the house.[11]

Description[edit]

The uniforms were tailored to each Bunny at the clubs in which they worked, and a full-time seamstress always remained on duty whenever the club opened. The costumes were stocked in two pieces, the front part being pre-sewn in different bra cup sizes, and the seamstress would match the Bunnies' figure to the correct fitting front and back pieces. The two pieces were then sewn together to fit each person with great precision.

A woman, also known as the "Bunny Mother", took responsibility for the welfare of the women working as Playboy Bunnies. This was a human-resources role and a management position as the Bunny Mother was in charge of scheduling work shifts, hiring, firing and training. The Club Manager carried two responsibilities for the Bunnies – floor service and weigh-in. Before every shift, the Manager would weigh each Bunny, and bunnies could not gain or lose more than one pound, with exceptions only being made for water retention.[12] Playboy Enterprises required all employees to turn in their costumes at the end of employment and Playboy still retains some of these costumes in storage. Occasionally, costumes are offered for sale on the Playboy Auction site or eBay,[13] but some of the costumes on eBay are known to be counterfeit or damaged. The only two costumes on public display are in the collections of the Smithsonian[14] and the Chicago History Museum.[15]

Image[edit]

New York Playboy Club Bunnies Waren Smith, Tiki Owens and Liz James, aboard USS Wainwright c. 1971

Reception and review[edit]

The treatment of Playboy Bunnies was exposed in a piece written by Gloria Steinem and reprinted in her 1983 book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.[16] The article featured a photo of Steinem in Bunny uniform and detailed how women were treated at those clubs. The article was published in 1963 in Show magazine as "A Bunny's Tale".[17] Steinem has maintained that she is proud of the work she did publicizing the exploitative working conditions of the Bunnies and especially the sexual demands made of them, which skirted the edge of the law.[18][19]

Clive James wrote of the "callous fatuity of the selection process" and observed that "to make it as a Bunny, a girl need[ed] more than just looks. She need[ed] idiocy, too."[20]

International icon[edit]

The costume of a Playboy Bunny gained huge popularity in Japan, where it has lost much of its association with Playboy and is accordingly referred to simply as the "bunny suit" (バニースーツ[21][22], Banī sūtsu, which also means cleanroom suit in Japanese and has same meaning in English.[23]) or "bunny girl outfit" (バニーガール衣装[24][25][26], Banī gāru ishou). It has frequently been featured in manga and anime; notable examples of characters who have been depicted wearing it include the title character of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kallen Stadtfeld of Code Geass, Bulma of Dragon Ball, Haruko Haruhara of FLCL, and the unnamed protagonist of the Daicon III and Daicon IV Opening Animations. The outfit is alluded to in the title of the series Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, and the character Mai Sakurajima is seen wearing one in its first episode. The suit is also popularly depicted in anime and manga fan art and merchandise, even for characters who are never seen wearing it in official works. Bunny suits are most frequently worn by female characters, but they are occasionally worn by male characters, usually for comedic effect.

There are no Playboy Clubs in Brazil, but Playboy's Brazilian division has Bunnies who attend its events. For most of the 2000s there were three official Bunnies, and they were also Playmates — both separately, and together in the cover pictorial for the December 2008 edition.[27] The last printed issue of the magazine, in 2018, featured the five Bunnies of the period on the cover.[28]

Playboy Bunnies are a separate entity from Playboy Playmates, women who appear in the centerfold pictorials of Playboy magazine, however, a few Playboy Bunnies went on to become Playmates and vice versa (see below).

Return of the Bunnies[edit]

In 2006, The Palms Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas opened the first new Playboy Club in over a quarter-century, located on the 52nd floor of the Fantasy Tower. Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli was chosen to re-design the original Bunny suit.[29] It closed in 2012.

Notable Bunnies[edit]

Prominent women who had careers as a Playboy Bunnies include:

Bunnies who were also Playboy Playmates[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Chrisman-Campbell, Kimberly (4 October 2017). "The Surprising Tale of the Playboy Bunny Suit". The Atlantic. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  2. ^ Norman, Dominique (5 October 2017). "The Influential Designer Behind the Playboy Bunny Uniform". Observer. Observer. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  3. ^ Farmer, Patty (November 30, 2015). Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music. Beaufort Books. ISBN 9780825307171. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  4. ^ Vinciguerra, Thomas (27 August 2011). "The Bunny Is Back". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Joe, Big Bunny: The Inside Sory of Playboy, Ballantine Books, New York, 1967.
  6. ^ Handy, Bruce, May 2011, "A Bunny Thing Happened: An Oral History of the Playboy Clubs", Vanity Fair.
  7. ^ Scott, Kathryn Leigh, The Bunny Years, Pomegranate Press, New York, 1998, pp.54-55. ISBN 978-0-9388-1743-7
  8. ^ Candace Jordan (4 March 2017). "Woman's History Month: The designer behind the iconic Playboy Bunny costume". Chicagonow.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ Julee Wilson (7 February 2013). "Zelda Wynn Valdes: Black Fashion Designer Who Created The Playboy Bunny Outfit (PHOTOS)". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ Dominique Norman (10 May 2017). "The Influential Designer Behind the Playboy Bunny Uniform". Observer.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Aldbury: Be here now". Hertfordshire Life. 15 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  12. ^ Beard, Lanford. "Playboy Bunnies Remember 'Humiliating' Monthly Weigh-Ins, Bruising and Body-Shaming". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  13. ^ "FAQ'S". Explayboybunny.com. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  14. ^ "HistoryWired: A few of our favorite things". Historywired.si.edu. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  15. ^ "Costumes". 2006-05-25. Archived from the original on May 25, 2006. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  16. ^ Steinem, Gloria. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, pg. 29-69. Plume Books, New York City: 1983.
  17. ^ Published in two parts, Part I Archived 2014-12-18 at the Wayback Machine and Part II Archived 2015-08-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Steinem, Gloria. "'I Was a Playboy Bunny', excerpted from 'Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions'" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-27.
  19. ^ "Interview With Gloria Steinem". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  20. ^ Visions Before Midnight. ISBN 0-330-26464-8.
  21. ^ 電撃ホビー編集部, ed. (September 3, 2022). "92M氏描き下ろしイラスト「近視の姉」を立体化!ナイスバディ&眼鏡なバニースーツお姉さんがBINDingから登場!". 電撃ホビーウェブ (in Japanese). Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  22. ^ "『彼女、お借りします』の更科瑠夏がバニー姿でフィギュア化。伝わってくる"ちょっぴり背伸びしてる"感がイイ!". 電撃オンライン (in Japanese). August 28, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  23. ^ "「バニー・スーツに着替えてください」エンジニア英語でどう言う?【216】". English Cheer Up (in Japanese). February 12, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  24. ^ 電撃ホビー編集部, ed. (September 13, 2022). "優しい表情が魅力的!『カッコウの許嫁』天野エリカ、海野 幸に続いて瀬川ひろが大胆バニーガール姿でフィギュア化!". 電撃ホビーウェブ (in Japanese). Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  25. ^ "【写真特集】神谷泉水(トゥラブ)、王道バニーガール衣装で圧倒的な美脚を届ける!<近代麻雀水着祭2022>". WSS Channel (in Japanese). September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  26. ^ "「青ブタ」桜島麻衣、最新"バニーガール"フィギュア登場! 手に取りやすい魅力の詰まった"KADOKAWAコレクションLIGHT"第2弾". animeanime.jp (in Japanese). September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  27. ^ "Coelhinhas da Playboy" lançam revista em mercado de São Paulo
  28. ^ Coelhinhas posam nuas em homenagem ao fundador da 'Playboy'
  29. ^ RYAN NAKASHIMA (2006-10-01). "New Playboy club opens in Vegas". Washington Post.
  30. ^ "Larry King divorces Shawn Southwick: Meet the TV icon's slew of ex-wives". Daily News. April 16, 2010. p. 4 of 25.
  31. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (November 16, 1987). "In the Market for Bitter Fruit? Hooperman's Barbara Bosson Seems Always to Harvest a Bumper Crop". People. 28 (20). Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  32. ^ Deirdre Donahue "They May Be Missing Persons, but Terry and Dale Bozzio Have Found Each Other" People Magazine Vol. 22 No. 22 November 26, 1984
  33. ^ Facey, Fitzroy; Anderson, Derek (March 2020). "Fitzroy & Derek Anderson Speak With Ava Cherry". Soul Survivors Magazine. No. 86. pp. 16–20.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i Suddath, Claire; Sun, Feifei; Cruz, Gilbert; Rawlings, Nate; Romero, Frances (3 June 2011). "Top 9 Successful Ex–Playboy Bunnies". Time. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  35. ^ Clark, Mark (2012). Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Applause Theatre & Cinema. ISBN 9781557839633. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  36. ^ a b c "Diamond Days". December 17, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  37. ^ "Sherilyn Fenn Biography". rottentomatoes.com. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  38. ^ Anders, Marcel (June 2014). "I was criticised for being too sexual. But it was innocent compared to today". Classic Rock #197. p. 54.
  39. ^ "Playboy Holds Bunny Hunt in Asia". www.radaronline.com. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  40. ^ DREIFUS, CLAUDIA (June 16, 1998). "A Conversation With Polly Matzinger; Blazing an Unconventional Trail to a New Theory of Immunity". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  41. ^ Carlos, Al (December 30, 2010). "FIRST PERSON: Maria Richwine: Latina Playboy Bunny Turned Actress". La Prensa San Diego. La Prensa San Diego. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  42. ^ ROHAN, VIRGINIA (September 25, 2011). "Leonia mom looks back on life as Playboy bunny". northjersey.com. North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  43. ^ "B.J. Ward". metacritic.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  44. ^ Saltonstall, David (August 6, 1995). "Quite An 'Other Woman': Brilliant Judge'll Survive Steamy Divorce Scandal". New York Daily News. Retrieved Aug 28, 2013.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Goldberg, Joe (1967). Big Bunny: The Inside Story of Playboy. New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Scott, Kathryn Leigh. The Bunny Years. Los Angeles: Pomegranate Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-938817-43-7.

External links[edit]