A Pubic Service? LES American Apparel Window Display Features Merkined Mannequins

Dov Charney is not beating around the bush.

American Apparel is not beating around the bush.

CEO Dov Charney has finally found a seductive way to sell his seemingly nude pieces of lingerie with a little help from an anatomy book. In the Lower East Side shop’s new window display, pubic hair is making quite the impression.  

The East Houston Street display showcases American Apparel’s $40 bralette with $15 matching panty and $40 lace mesh body suit, along with an au natural merkin. Twitter is freaking out, as you can imagine, and Gothamist has a bunch of photos too. But no, the merkins are not for sale in 20 different colors.

District Visual Manager Dee Myles told The Observer that these mannequins “bring rawness and newness to a holiday thought of as a romantic Hallmark holiday … by exploiting the lust of Valentine’s Day.”

Though portraying “natural” mannequins was not her concept, she supports the display, saying it is “important to have instances spark up curiosity and conversation about what we deem beautiful and sexy.”

The Los Angeles based company prides itself on being a company that celebrates culture and natural beauty. By adding a patch of hair to a mannequin, passersby are encouraged to question why society has set standards for beauty and why we are so shocked when these rules are broken. It is quite a stretch, though, to call these tall, slender mannequins with modelesque figures completely ordinary.

American Apparel is no stranger to controversey. In October, the company released a t-shirt designed by artist Petra Collins which featured a line drawing of a menstruating vagina.

“Grown women are taught to repress their postpubescent body or hide it. When you start puberty and you start growing hair you’re taught to shave it, because no one’s supposed to see it. With your period, it’s something that you conceal—no one’s supposed to know,” Ms. Collins told Vice.  “It’s almost pedophilic—and I don’t want to throw that word around. But this feminine ideology we have, of the woman being a prepubescent girl, is how we’re taught to change our bodies.”

Sure, presenting pubic hair will challenge women’s sexuality and social constructivism, but these window displays have a long way to go before they can be termed natural.

A Pubic Service? LES American Apparel Window Display Features Merkined Mannequins