Male model Andrej Pejic models push-up bra in HEMA advertising campaign

Nadine Bells
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

Andrej Pejic, 20, is the androgynous darling of the modeling world. The blond Australian male model has made his career modeling both men’s and women’s fashions on major runways around the world.

And now Pejic is the face — and body — of the Dutch-designed HEMA bra.

See the campaign here.

Sure, the bra’s an engineering marvel — giving Pejic’s flat chest the cleavage many of us ask Santa for this time of the year. That's if by “engineering marvel” you mean “super-stuffed.”

The curves were “not achieved with any tricks, explains Judy Op Het Veld, HEMA’s manager of corporate communications. Rather, the department store’s 20€ mega push-up bras have ‘pillows’ in each cup to add volume. They are, in a word, falsies,” the Toronto Star reported.

The response has been mixed, with consumers and fashion insiders calling the campaign everything from “cheeky,” “silly” and “innovative” to dismissing the campaign as gimmicky and the bra as just “a pair of falsies.”

[See also: New photoshop detector shows where images have been altered]

In Amsterdam, many don’t even recognize that the model in the bra isn’t female. (The name Andrej doesn’t give him away.) And those made aware by Grazia Fashion were more amused than anything else by the boy-in-bra ads.

“Sometimes I think we are too serious especially here in North America,” Vasilia Panagakos, owner of Toronto’s Avec Plaisir lingerie boutiques told the Toronto Star.

“I think European women have more of a sense of humour about their bodies. I think they’d have a chuckle. In North America, a campaign like that might not work. If you did go down that road you’d have to explain it more — then the joke would be lost.”

Slate gives HEMA the benefit of the doubt, assuming their campaign was part joke (The bra works too well?) and part subversive advertising, challenging the provocative images of semi-naked women we’re almost desensitized to:

“Perhaps I’m giving HEMA too much credit, but it seems like they’re deliberately playing with that male audience, taunting potential oglers: Ogle this, but then don’t get mad when you figure out exactly who you’re lusting over,” Slate’s Julia Felsenthal writes.

Would a man in a bra convince you to boost your cleavage with HEMA?

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