Following the untimely passing of adult publishing mogul Hugh Hefner, Honeyee sits down with designer Yuki Matsuda to discuss his personal collection of vintage Playboy magazines. The creative head behind heritage labels – Yuketen, Chamula, Monitaly and Epperson Mountaineering, Matsuda shares insights into the ways the publication has evolved, how it informs some of his work and why it was an important platform for alternative expression in America. Check out some highlights from the interview below and read the full piece at Honeyee US.
Obviously, Playboy is known for their girls, but at the same time it also seems like part of their goal was to be contrarian…
I think more of the more aggressively periodicals with naked women had already been done, but Playboy was not just a magazine with naked women – it was more for the intellectual gentlemen, who didn’t take himself too seriously. I mean, look at this, there’s all these different articles, fun writing. It’s funny, because when I’m looking at Playboy, it’s almost like I’m reading a Japanese fashion magazine, in the way that they display product or the way they create the stories within a lifestyle concept.
In a way, do you sometimes feel like Playboy is a kind of members-only magazine?
Definitely in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s it was one of the best examples of the American gentleman magazine, more than the others. Look at this cover of Carol Lynley: they repainted her image for a more scary look, changing her eyes and mouth, to create new art. Before photoshop, they had an artist to come in to make something new. You know I’m a designer for clothing and shoes. So when I read magazines, it helps give me a reference for where things came from. I see something, then I need to learn, I need to digest, and then I can go next step; not just taking something without understanding it.
“Playboy was born in an era when people had time to enjoy things – now time goes so fast.”