Say "namaste" to the Playboy bunny.
In a first for Hugh Hefner's iconic brand, the Playboy bunny costume has been specially retailored for India ahead of the planned launch of the first Playboy Club in Goa early next year.
The costumes were previewed in Mumbai Wednesday by foreign models at a star-studded event which featured top celebrities including Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan, among others.
“Playboy engaged New York-based fashion designer Mohini Tadikonda to re-style the iconic Bunny costume while preserving the core elements of the traditional costume. With a two-piece bodice and the addition of the sari and sheer skirt, the accessories for the Bunny costumes – ears, cuffs, collar, bow tie and the signature Bunny tail – stayed the same. This new costume is a celebration of India’s rich culture and the Americana of the classic Playboy Bunny Costume,” said a company statement.
“The goal was being respectful of Indian culture,” added Matthew Nordby, Playboy Enterprises Inc. senior executive VP and chief revenue officer.
The original Playboy Bunny costume was co-designed by Hefner in the 1960s.
“Revealing outfits are frowned upon in this country. If you watch Bollywood films, you will see women dressed in far sexier and in more revealing outfits,” Sanjay Gupta, CEO of Playboy's India licensee PB Lifestyle, was quoted stating. While the bunnies are all foreign to start with, Gupta added that “we are open to hiring Indian women too.”
Earlier this year, Bollywood starlet Sherlyn Chopra became the first Indian to pose nude for Playboy.
In November, Playboy Enterprises announced its licensee pact with Mumbai-based PB Lifestyle, which has plans to open more than 120 Playboy formats covering a mix of retail outlets, clubs, hotels and fashion cafes over the next 10 years.
In addition, Playboy merchandise will also be a strong focus area for India given that products branded with the iconic bunny rabbit logo are sold in more than 25,000 stores in 180 countries. PB Lifestyle has earmarked an investment of $38 million (Rupees 2 billion) over the next five years to launch the Playboy brand across multiple formats. However, there are no plans yet of launching a Playboy magazine here.