My first Christmas pressie arrived in the mail yesterday. It was from myself. It takes the pressure off loved ones if I stuff my own stocking. Although there’s room for additions.
This is not something I would have rushed out and bought any other Christmas. Maybe in my 20s when shock value was an integral ingredient of my everyday attire, when I was a walking billboard for slogans, clashing prints and controversial images; when I was an uncalled-for exclamation point assaulting you in a sentence. Now, some years later this logo across my front requires a little bit of reflection.
Playboy has featured writing from Nabokov, Heller, Hemingway, Kerouac and Capote. But I wouldn’t have read it. I can find their writing elsewhere. It was a boys club of squelching leather couches, ice knocking in brandy tumblers, animal skins, Warhol triptychs, from which I was excluded. “I buy it for the articles” induced a wry smirk. The magazine’s recent aims to become relevant would have produced a roll of the eye. Words like iconic, Americana, freedom, feminism, zeitgeist and political rang empty; a woman with her tits out and a tail pinned to her arse shoots all that down in a hail of machismo.
Then Kate got involved. Well, that fairly shook my self-righteous foundations to their very cornerstone. There she was staring over her shoulder at me, beckoning, almost winking, alluring as a Bond girl. In her collaboration with Marc Jacobs, with a percentage of sales benefitting Amfar, she graces the front of a T-shirt in an image from her Jan 2014 Playboy photoshoot.
As you know, she is the Pied Piper, dear followers, and I follow her magic tune.
I find myself focussing on how her head is obscuring the ‘n’ of men. Entertainment for me sounds more Kate. Not a vulnerable girl but a woman, a mother, a veteran of image creation, celebrating her 40th birthday, Kate is photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, her most trusted photographer friends. She is a style icon who courts no paparazzi, offers no soundbites, experiences dramatic downfalls, gets her shit together, offers no apology, doesn’t cry on Oprah, nor publish reassurances that it won’t happen again. Because it’s none of your business.
These images show Kate more covered up than many of her fashion editorials. She has been vocal about how the fashion industry took advantage of her as a 14-year-old model so there is the implication that, having been the figure in the camera lens ever since, she has now become the one in charge.
Playboy has become irrelevant in recent years because the imagery that used to be exclusive to its glossy pages is now all around. I find the Kardashians spilling out of their too-small clothing more vulgar than Playboy. Former bunnies are now television celebrities. Lady Gaga wears less on stage in front of an audience of 13-year-olds than vintage bunnies.
So after much reflection, I gave Kate’s pert, 40-year-old derriere a proud airing in my Friday morning design class. The students, fed on a diet of E! Entertainment, loved it, one commenting that it was “very charming.” Playboy may have all but lost the ability to offend but I have grown up with Kate, she has accompanied me through my fashion career, we are of an age. That’s the only reason I display Hugh Hefner’s company logo. Woman to woman, bunny tail to belly button.
Or am I a woman of so little substance that I can turn tail and bob off in the opposite direction so easily..?
When you’re ordering your copy of Playboy, be sure and check out my book! You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.