Playboy

magazine is bringing back naked models, one year after its pledge to ban nudity.

The publication announced with great fanfare a year ago that it was banning all photos of naked women in a bid to attract more mainstream readers and advertisers.

That policy has apparently failed, with the announcement on Monday that next month's issue will feature topless "Playmate" Elizabeth Elam as Miss March 2017 alongside the headline: "Naked is normal."

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Cooper Hefner, the son of founder Hugh Hefner, took over as chief creative officer at Playboy last October.

He was reportedly an opponent of the decision to ban nudes, which had featured in the magazine since its first issue with Marilyn Monroe as the centrefold in 1953.

The move had been widely applauded by women's rights activists. Playboy said at the time that the easy access to online pornography had hit sales and it needed to attract new readers.

The magazine's record circulation was 7.2 million in November 1972, but began to decline in the early 1990s and was on average around 700,000 per issue last year.

"I'll be the first to admit the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake," said Mr Hefner.

"Nudity was never the problem, because nudity isn't a problem. Today, we're taking our identity back and rediscovering who we are.

"This is a remarkably special moment personally and professionally that I get to share this issue of Playboy magazine with my Dad, as well as with readers.

"It is a reflection of how the brand can best connect with my generation and generations to come."

Other changes include the removal from the cover of the tagline "Entertainment for Men", a return of the magazine's "Party Jokes" feature and "The Playboy Philosophy" column, which was last printed in the 1960s.

Mr Hefner said the aim of the column was to explore "the current political and cultural climate in the US".

Donald Trump is flanked by Victoria Silvstedt and his girlfriend, the then Melania Knauss - now first lady - at Playboy magazine's 50th anniversary celebration in December 2005. Photo / Getty Images
Donald Trump is flanked by Victoria Silvstedt and his girlfriend, the then Melania Knauss - now first lady - at Playboy magazine's 50th anniversary celebration in December 2005. Photo / Getty Images

The iconic magazine has featured many of the world's most beautiful and high profile women across the past seven decades, such as Brigitte Bardot, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Jayne Mansfield, Cindy Crawford, Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron.

This article was originally pulished by Daily Telegraph UK