An anatomically correct female mannequin is displayed at the American Apparel store in the SoHo area of Manhattan, New York January 16, 2014. American Apparel's Lower East Side "Valentine's Day" window celebrates natural beauty, inviting passersby to explore the idea of what is "sexy" and consider their comfort with the natural female form, according to the company. So far, American Apparel reports positive feedback from those that have commented.      REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY FASHION ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) TEMPLATE OUT

The merkin mannequin: on display at the American Apparel store in Manhattan. Photo: BRENDAN MCDERMID

Masters of titillation and seekers of controversy, American Apparel are attempting to pass off their latest publicity stunt as a celebration of female beauty.

Mannequins with merkins (that's a pubic wig for the uninitiated) are on display in the fashion brand's New York store windows.

With a thicket of (fake) bush protruding past the mannequin's underpants, the scene has unsurprisingly made a splash with passers-by stopping to photograph the spectacle.

But, in a statement to Elle, a rep for the company said they were just trying to honour women in all their ungroomed glory.

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"American Apparel is a company that celebrates natural beauty, and the Lower East Side Valentine's Day window continues that celebration.

"We created it to invite passers-by to explore the idea of what is 'sexy' and consider their comfort with the natural female form.

"This is the same idea behind our advertisements which avoid many of the photoshopped and airbrushed standards of the fashion industry. So far we have received positive feedback from those that have commented and we're looking forward to hearing more points of view."

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Au naturale may be making a comeback, so the "celebration" might be topical.

But, given the brand's history of creating a stir - menstruating hairy vagina T-shirt, topless and bottomless adverts as well as claims of sexualisation of under-age models - one has to wonder about the true intention behind the stunt.