Jan. 17, 2014— -- A retail chain's window display has caused a stir on the usually unflappable sidewalks of New York City. The cause? Mannequins with pubic hair peeking out from beneath sheer panties.
The American Apparel store located on Manhattan's Lower East Side dressed three female figures in its window in sheer lace and mesh lingerie, adding dark brown merkins to each of the mannequin's genital areas beneath the underwear.
Gothamist first reported the display, noting a number of pedestrians were pausing to laugh. Others have taken pictures with camera phones to share on social media, while some online have accused the clothier of baiting publicity.
But the company maintains that it is merely celebrating the human form.
"American Apparel is a company that celebrates natural beauty, and the Lower East Side Valentine's Day window continues that celebration," a spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. "We created it to invite passersby to explore the idea of what is 'sexy' and consider their comfort with the natural female form."
The window display is in keeping with the company's overall approach to marketing. "This is the same idea behind our advertisements which avoid many of the photoshopped and airbrushed standards of the fashion industry," said the spokesperson. "So far we have received positive feedback from those that have commented and we're looking forward to hearing more points of view."
Previously American Apparel has featured models with visible pubic hair in advertisements, as well as an image of women's genitalia on t-shirts.