It would seem that right here, right now, the zeitgeist is pink and fluffy and dripping with bling.
News reaches us that after 25 years out of London, and indeed away from these shores, Playboy and the Bunny empire are on their way back. And in style.
Founder Hugh Hefner upped and offed in 1981 after the government cast aspersions on his business practices, and his company has faced a struggle for survival in recent years. But with his (scarily-efficient-looking) daughter, Christie, at the helm, the whole Playboy thing has been re-marketed as a fun, logo-led brand designed to appeal to women as well as men.
The 14th September sees the opening of a vast new Playboy emporium in Oxford Street, selling clothes, accessories and memorabilia. There is talk of a new club casino to follow.
We invariably get the shops and the nightlife we deserve, but quite apart from what it says about our collective taste as a capital city, the move highlights a slightly worrying economic trend:
It follows other U.S. retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch , which are making a move into London as the city's status grows as a playground for wealthy Russians and Arabs as well as Europeans.
Anyway, Londonist is not pro-drinkin’ ‘n’ gamblin’ ‘n’ womanisin’ as a general rule, nor does it support ruthless commercialism. The fact that a lot of the iconic bunny-adorned merchandise, with its innate sexual connotations, is aimed at tweenagers is actually slightly nauseating.
But the whole Playboy thing is so gloriously politically incorrect, so very over-the-top, so hard to take seriously, and ultimately so girly, that it should be welcomed to London. For all the arguments of the morally outraged, liberated woman about town, ‘Hef’ clearly worships women, and at a time where in-your-face sexuality abounds, there is something slightly endearing and old-fashioned about his bunny girls. The vices mentioned above are hardly new, nor are they going to go away. So why shouldn’t they be swathed in pink and fluff, with even a slightly comical glamour of sorts?
Image courtesy of drhunter’s flickr stream.