It probably won’t surprise you to hear that, overwhelmingly, women are embarrassed to buy or carry condoms.  I remember stuttering and stumbling before an inspector at London’s Heathrow Airport when he searched my handbag and, rather dramatically, pulled out two boxes of condoms.  I explained that I tried to purchase some other equally embarrassing item from the vending machine in the toilet, and these popped out instead.  Twice.  However, our reticence to be discovered as possibly having sex, occasionally, is putting our health at risk.  And that’s something the people at Planned Parenthood find disturbing.  So, they found a way to make it a bit less embarrassing and a bit more chic to be prepared.

Every season, Planned Parenthood teams with a designer to design a package for their “Proper Attire” brand of condoms.  They’ve partnered with some of the hottest designers in the U.S., including Rebecca Minkoff and Jeremy Scott.  This season, it’s Mara Hoffman.  Her cool, tribal-inspired print designs make it truly hip to be safe, even if Rush Limbaugh might call you a slut.  In fact, that’s even hipper.  Hoffman and Proper Attire’s Rachel Molloy launched the new packaging during Mercedes Benz Fall/Winter 2012 Fashion Week, and front row seated celebs like Eric West, Torrey DeVito and celeb photographer Nigel Barker voiced their approval (just click on the link below to join the festivities).

It’s been a tough couple of months for Planned Parenthood.  First the Susan G. Komen foundation pulled its funding (a decision that was happily reversed, and in very short order).  Then, Mitt Romney repeated a vow to “get rid of Planned Parenthood” to save money.  And, now the state of Texas is proposing pulling Planned Parenthood’s funding.  See, most people hear “Planned Parenthood” and think, “abortion”.  And yes, Planned Parenthood clinics do provide abortions (which, by the way, are still legal in America).  But they also provide poor women with the kind of health care reserved, of late, for the rich.  Mammograms, screenings and treatments are provided, often free of charge, for women in need.  Isn’t that something worth protecting?

But there is good news for Planned Parenthood.  The Susan G. Komen thing backfired, big time.  Karen Handel, the former anti-abortion candidate for Georgia governor who became Komen’s policy chief and took the heat for the decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood, resigned, along with a host of other Komen execs in cities across the country.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I know the Susan G. Komen foundation does incredibly good work for women battling for their lives, and seeing them in disarray can’t be the best outcome for anyone.  But they made a bad decision, going along with the personal agenda of a woman who only had concern for her conservative ideals, not for the less fortunate members of her own gender.

And support for Planned Parenthood is stronger than ever.  Funds have been pouring in and a second designer, the legendary Isaac Mizrahi, designed a series of packaging for Proper Attire this season.  More about that later, for now, have a look at the Mara Hoffman launch and join the throngs of women, and men, determined to place a higher value on women’s rights to make choices about their health and their lives.

To see the video of Proper Attire for Planned Parenthood and hear from Mara Hoffman and her celebrity guests at Mercedes-Benz Fall 2012 Fashion Week click below. Produced for Planned Parenthood by Red Stiletto Media

Videography and edit: Scott Fetterman

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