This article is reprinted. By G. SEETHARAMAN and BETH STEBNER
When the iconic Playboy Enterprises announced the launch of its clubs in Goa, India in November, the big question on fans’ minds was what the Playboy bunny costume would be.
This was unveiled at a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday. The famous corset has been tweaked with an allusion to sari and paired with a translucent ankle-length skirt. But the other trademark paraphernalia, like the ears, bow tie and tail, remain.
The new sheer corsets do not follow the traditional, skimpier Playboy Bunny uniform, in that sheer panelling has been added.
But even with the culturally-cognizant design, some fear the costumes mark a slippery slope and that opening the Playboy club would encourage debaucherous and vulgar behavior.
Dilip Parulekar, the tourism minister to Goa, said in November: ‘We will not entertain anyone who is here to spread obscenity and nudity,’ according to the Times of India.
Sanjay Gupta, the chief of Playboy India explained the rationale behind the still-skimpy apparel in a country where modesty is highly valued.
‘Revealing outfits are frowned up to in this country. If you watch Bollywood films, you will see women dressed far sexier and in more revealing outfits,’ he told the Telegraph.
The change in the costume, designed by US-based Mohini Tadikonda ‘keeping in mind Indian sensibilities’ is a first for Playboy, its executive vice-president and chief revenue officer Matthew Nordby said.
Playboy, which has its origins in the magazine founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, inked a deal with its India licensee PB Lifestyle India in November to open at least 120 outlets over the next 10 years.
The outlets include clubs, bars and cafes. The first club is coming up on the Candolim beach in Goa by March, which will be followed by another one in Hyderabad.
‘We plan to have eight clubs in four years and 49 bars in seven years,’ said Sanjay Gupta, chief executive, PB Lifestyle.
The firm, which will play a royalty to Playboy, has targeted an investment of Rs 200 crore over the next seven years.
‘With our various formats, we are looking at all kinds of target audience,’ Gupta said.
But fans looking to see Indian women in the bunny costume are in for disappointment as for now the bunnies will all be foreigners.
This article is reprinted.