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Playboy: A brief history of the bunny

A rundown of Playboy from 1951 to 2021

Written by Georgia Chappell

March 2, 2021

BZ_PLAYBOY

Let’s face it, Playboy is THE iconic brand. Their truly unmistakable logo and sexy covers have been a key player in popular culture since it began in 1953. Ahead of our biggest ever Playboy collaboration, we’ve decided to take a look behind the brand and explore its development from a men’s entertainment magazine to the empire it is today.

The History of Playboy

Playboy Magazine

In 1951 the founder was working as a copywriter for Esquire magazine, after being denied a $5 pay rise, he quit the company to start his own magazine, Playboy. The very first issue was released in 1953 and featured possibly the most iconic covergirl of all, Marilyn Monroe. It became a platform for writers, artists and photographers, to express themselves with complete sexual freedom. The magazine took off, establishing itself as one of the biggest men’s entertainment publications in the world.

Playboy Mansion

The mansion was an integral part of the brand. Bought in 1971, it had 29 rooms, a wine cellar, three zoo buildings, a waterfall and a legendary game house. Known for celebrity parties and sexual liberation, it was a place that LA’s rich and famous could let their hair down.

The Rabbit Head logo

The bunny head logo is recognisable worldwide as a symbol of playfulness and pleasure. So where did it actually come from? As a student, the founder used to visit Bunny’s Tavern diner in Illinois and there was something about the word ‘bunny’ that stuck with him. Designed by Art Paul in 1953, the logo needed to be a representation of everything the brand stood for. The rabbit head itself portrays an element of playfulness and fun, but it is also paired with a sophisticated bowtie. Every edition of the magazine has featured the Rabbit Head logo on the cover, although some are difficult to spot.

History of the bunny

Playboy bunnies have been a quintessential part of the brand, since the first nightclub opened in 1960. They started out as cocktail waitresses, but today they represent something bigger. They are brand ambassadors, working across hospitality and casinos, all the while upholding the iconic legacy worldwide. The costume was deemed to be so recognisable that it became the first ever company uniform to be trademarked.

Playboy traditional bunny costume
@Playboy

Playmates

Not to be confused with bunnies, Playmates are models that are featured on Playboy.com. They represent confidence, free expression and sexual liberation. Once you have been given the title of a ‘Playmate’, you hold this for life. Representing an entire season enables Playmates to fulfil and develop their work as brand ambassadors in a meaningful way. Some of the most famous Playmates are Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith.

Anna nicole smith Playboy black and white pin up
@Playboy

Playboy today

Over the years, the brand has established itself as an advocate for self-confidence, good sex and the freedom to be whoever the f*ck you want to be. They are known for pushing boundaries, empowering women and promoting inclusivity across all genders, races and sexualities.

Playboy chain dress afro sun golden hour
@Playboy

Playboy X Missguided

Playboy x Missguided was originally launched in 2018. Working closely with the team, we created an essential collection for a new generation of rebellious females. Since then, it has become one of the most sought-after collaborations we have ever launched.

Hold on, something big has launched. Playboy Lifestyle – for all day, every day. This is the elevated essentials wardrobe that every girl needs. If you are all about activewear or casual fits, this collection is for you. From head to toe silhouettes in ash tones and calm colours, get ready to achieve an off-duty model look with these fits.

Missguided blue playboy lifestyle jumper white chair
@Missguided