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Want to dress like Hef? Playboy launches menswear

Written by: Staff

LAS VEGAS, Sept 2 (Reuters) After a lifetime of undressing beautiful women, Playboy now has a new cause -- dressing men.

Seeking to expand its lucrative licensing business, Playboy Enterprises Inc has launched a line of menswear that represents a hip departure from the silk smoking jackets favored by its 80-year-old founder, Hugh Hefner.

At the Magic Marketplace apparel trade show in Las Vegas this week, fashion buyers got their first peek at a 2007 spring line of men's T-shirts, jackets and swimwear, all emblazoned with variations on Playboy's iconic bunny logo.

At a nearby booth, rival entertainment brand Penthouse International Inc unabashedly showed that sex is always popular, displaying a line of four- to six-inch high heels in red satin, metallics, and faux leopard and snakeskin.

While Playboy's women's apparel line emphasizes sexy, Playboy executives said that for men, it's cool that sells.

''If they (young males) can't gain access to the Playboy mansion, then they'll buy a T-shirt that makes them feel like they're affiliated with the lifestyle,'' said Aaron Duncan, Playboy's creative director of licensing.

Designers envisioned a young Hef when creating the men's collection, which is influenced by retro fashion, Duncan said.

Silk-screen images of 1970s-era Playboy cover girls adorn swim trunks and T-shirts, for example, while the ubiquitous bunny ears pop up track suit jackets and tees.

The theme for Playboy's upcoming fall 2007 men's line is ''On the Prowl.'' MORE REUTERS PDM BS1002

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