Hef Forever: A high-fashion take on Playboy’s style legacy

Hugh Hefner was a complicated icon, to say the least.

He helped usher in an era of sexual openness, aided in funding Roe v. Wade, supporting the civil rights movement, and putting a woman of color on the cover of Playboy as early as 1971.

But he also helped cement a very specific standard of beauty: thin, usually white, usually blond, and in later years, usually with surgically enhanced breasts. Still, scores of former Playboy models credit him with jumpstarting their modeling careers, and are proud to have worked with Hef and worn the Playboy ears with pride.

But not every model was so happy to be included in Playboy’s pages. Take, for example, Hef’s history with Marilyn Monroe. Despite claiming to admire her, he published her nude photos without her consent as the first Playboy cover ever and bought the crypt next to hers so he could be entombed next to her for all eternity, also without her consent. This could be construed as objectifying and dehumanizing behavior, to say the least.

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But he also provided a platform for transgender models, refusing to waver on the fact that they deserved a place in Playboy as early as the 1980s. This deserves a massive round of applause. And aside from a few high-profile cases like Holly Madison, who wrote a book painting her time with Hef in a negative light, many women who’ve worked with Hef over the years have insisted he was a class act and a benevolent mentor.

Pamela Anderson, for example, said upon Hef’s death, “Everything anyone loves about me is because you understood me. Accepted me and encouraged me to be myself.” For anyone to say Pamela and Hef’s other female collaborators were exploited by default would be to infantilize these women and take away their agency.

This is just a short list of the conflicting facts we know about the late Hugh Hefner. It’s up to you whether you worship him, revile him, or somewhere in between. But one thing’s for sure: he knew how to create an aesthetic and keep it going for decades.

In this photo shoot, photographer Marco Ovando, stylist Kevin Breen, and models Hanna Edwinson and Anita Hodosi reimagine the classic Playboy style — bunny ears, bodysuits, and a shortage of bras and shirts — in high-fashion, 2018 style. Enjoy.


Dress: The Blonds | Choker: Zana Bayne

Bodysuit: Augusto Manzanares

Faux Fur: Topshop | Denim shorts: Moschino

All Moschino

Latex Skirt and Bra: Vex Clothing | Belt  & Choker: Zana Bayne

Choker Zana Bayne

Jacket: Jeremy Scott | Bra: La Perla | Bottoms: Jeremy Scott | Hat: Moschino


Faux Fur: Topshop | Denim shorts: Moschino

Top & Faux Fur: Topshop | Latex Skirt: Atelier Harlem | Shoes: Missguided

Latex Gloves and Bodysuit: Vex Clothing | Top: Moschino

Bodysuit: Augusto Manzanares | Bodysuit: The Blonds

Jacket: Jeremy Scott | Bottoms: Jeremy Scott | Hat: Moschino

On Anita — Dress: Kelsey Randall | Choker & Harness: Zana Bayne | Shoes: Missguided | On Hannah — Dress: Kelsey Randal | Shoes: Missguided

Latex Gloves and Bodysuit: Vex Clothing

Faux Stole: Jeremy Scott | Panties: Victoria’s Secret | Shoes: Missguided

Latex Gloves and Bodysuit: Vex Clothing

Photography: MARCO OVANDO @marco_ovando
Fashion: KEVIN BREEN @kpbreen
Hair: LORENZO DIAZ @lorezodiazhair
Makeup: ESTEBAN MARTINEZ @estebanmartinez.makeup
Nails: KANA KISHITA @kana_nailist

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