If you’ve ever wondered who was the mastermind behind the infamous Playboy Bunny costumes, then today is your lucky day!
In 1960, the curvaceous and classy custom-made costumes were constructed by the late Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes. “I just had a God-given talent for making people beautiful,” said Zelda during a 1994 interview with the New York Times. She has crafted looks for women like Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, and Eartha Kitt just to name a few. Her career began when she moved to New York from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and opened her own boutique called Chez Zelda (1948) in Manhattan.
Despite the objectification of women, the costume implied at the time, the Playboy Bunny costume will go down in history as the most memorable phenomenon being featured in movies like Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, and The House Bunny. The only problem is; these are white female roles. How is it that a Black woman who made this costume, yet the Black woman is under-represented in the costume? Hugh Hefner indeed supported the Civil Rights movement, but rarely featured Black women in his issues. Nevertheless, the costume actually became the first service uniform to be patented and trademarked.
To this day, Black women continue to amaze me and rise above many odds. As a black fashionista myself, women like Zelda Valdes inspire me to strive greater, even if it means receiving credit later in life. This just goes to show how awesome we are and how we are found in so many hidden places! That said, I am honored to dedicate this highlight to all of the chocolate Playboy Bunnies who are definitely influential to the brand and culture of the Playboy legacy.
Fashion Blogger Intern
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