Bring back the bunnies

Fifty years ago, Playboy's famous clubs were at the height of their heydayall over the world. There were nearly 30 clubs - 15 in the U.S. - serving food, cocktails, and a unique ambiance that positioned them as the classy and refined gentleman's club. Most notable, Playboy Clubs were home to the bunnies - a buxom staff of beautiful women who wore the forever iconic bunny suits, tails, and ears...and nothing else.

Despite their initial booming popularity, demand for these clubs dwindled in the 80s, eventually losing enough revenue to necessitateshutting them down. It was a dark day for Playboy, but it catalyzed a long and tedious process of rebranding - or rather,capitalizing on enough nostalgia to keep the brand as is and reposition it as retro, timeless. Now, a new Playboy Club is opening in Manhattan on West 42nd Street. According to a Playboy press release,

"The space will feature a lounge area, a game room and a full-service dining room, but by far the most attractive feature of Playboy Club New York will undoubtedly be the return of the Playboy Bunnies to Manhattan. The alluring Playboy Bunny hostesses, waitresses and cocktail servers have a worldwide, well-deserved reputation for their style and graciousness. The décor will feature elements from the sexy and sophisticated aesthetic of Playboy's rich history integrated with the energy of New York, one of the world's most exciting destinations."

The club will partner with Cachet Boutique New York Hotel and will include a bar, restaurant, and game room. It's not the first Playboy Club to reappear, either; several have opened recently in places like London, and one will open in Shanghai shortly.

Apparently, the outfits will be "updated," likely a response to Gloria Steinem's The Bunny Tale, a tell-all piece about her brief time working at the Playboy Club back in the early 60s. I, for one, am incredibly interested to see how they update the outfits. They can't stray too far without losing the iconic look, and after all - don't they wear less at Hooter's or Tilted Kilt? Regardless, the club itself is supposed to harken back to the day's of yore, and my only hope is that patrons spending time at the club dress in classy attire (see above picture) and not touristy I 3 NY shirts you often find in that part of Manhattan.

It will be interesting to see how this aligns with Playboy's recent rebranding, too. Now that Hugh's son Cooper is the Chief Creative Officer and has brought his event-oriented start-up Hop into the Playboy brand and the magazine no longer features full nudity, we have to wonder - willPlayboy shift from mostly visual to almost entirely experiential?

Either way, it sounds like fun.