The Original Bunny - Page 3 of 5

Hef was hands on about the way his Bunnies looked -- he even patented their famous outfit. The suit itself showed just enough skin to be sexy but stay innocent, a visual symbol of Hef's "Look but don't touch" policy with the Bunnies, who were not allowed to date Playboy Club members (also called Keyholders) until 1975.

The Santa Bunny costume.

In 1962 Playboy hired French seamstress Renée Blot to perfect the suit. She took the original design and added a bow tie and shirtcuffs, reduced the size of the ears, cinched the waist and bumped up the cleavage size to a generous D-cup. The ultra-stiff cup, made from the same foam rubber as car seats, required some Bunnies to fill in the holes with everything from rolled-up socks to cut-up bunny tails. "All of us had to stuff our bras," says Kathryn Leigh Scott, author of The Bunny Years and three-year alumna of the New York Club. "There were very few of us who could simply zip themselves into that costume without any sort of padding."

But the true art of the suit was in the details. "A lot of thought went into this costume," says Pat Lacey, Director of Playmate and Bunny Promotions for Playboy and a 13-year veteran of the LA Club. "There are so many things that people don't realize that were really thought out so that Bunny could perform her job very easily and at the same time remain glamorous and graceful." Every girl was required to wear a pair of nude nylons under her black ones so that Bunnies of all races had the same skin tone.

A bikinied Bunny at
Playboy's Jamaican Club.

The rosette name tag, sexily placed on the right hip, was there so seated Keyholders only had to look at eye-level to see a Bunny's name. And the costume's ribbons weren't only for decoration -- they were what the Bunnies hooked their pens and penlights on. "It was almost like a telephone lineman or a carpenter," Scott says. "You carried the tools of your trade on what was your uniform."

And the sexiest part of the costume wasn't sewn on at all. "Part of being a Bunny was being a flirt, and the costume really helped you flirt," Scott says. "So when you got a tip you'd slip it in what we called 'The Bank.' You'd slip it into your cleavage. It was a turn-on, there's no question."


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