Coco Chanel. Yves Saint Larent. Miuccia Prada. Alexander McQueen. These are visionaries who have forever changed the way women dress.
Add to that list Chad Horstman, the man who invented the Sexy Pizza costume.
"The pizza costume was Chad's baby," explains Sarah Chamberlain, Yandy's communications director. Chad and his brother Evan Horstman founded Phoenix, Arizona-based Yandy.com as a lingerie e-commerce business eight years ago, and expanded into costumes after noticing how well they sold at industry expos.
"He came up with the idea, we all told him he was crazy, but he said we're going to do it," Chamberlain says. "We worked with a designer and they came up with a prototype and had one of our core team members try it on. We went through a few variations on it — we added the crust."
"You have to imagine our director of purchasing running around our office in a pizza costume yelling, 'You wanna pizz-a me?'" Chad says, describing the scene.
Yandy.com has made a name for itself creating those kind of so wrong! sexy women's costumes. Sexy Mario and Luigi, sexy Oscar the Grouch, sexy Big Bird (not officially licensed, the costumes have called generic names like "sexy plumber" or "sexy trash monster"), and so on. Almost all of the examples on BuzzFeed's 21 Sexy Costumes That Should Have Never Been Made are from Yandy.
"A lot of people think it's ridiculous or stupid or whatever," Chad says. "But I honestly thought, well, a sexy watermelon, a sexy banana, well, it's kind of funny. People say, 'Well that's the stupidest costume ever.' It's supposed to be a little ridiculous, but it's cute too. The watermelon was one of our best-sellers ever."
Sometimes Chad has a muse when selecting inanimate objects to turn into seductive outfits. The idea for sexy corn? "I was dating a girl from Nebraska at the time."
Indeed, for the fertile mind of a sexy costume mogul, inspiration comes from everyday life, often when it's least expected. Chad came up for the idea of a sexy squid at a state fair.
"I saw a guy wearing this octopus hat. I took a picture on my phone and sent it to the designer. That's literally how it came to be. Sometimes you see something out there, or a homemade costume and you're like, 'I wanna do that.'"
But not all ideas are runaway hits like the sexy watermelon or the sexy hamburger, which was last year's biggest seller. The sexy corn turned out to be a dud, and things aren't looking so good for the sexy killer whale either. "All girls love Sea World, and they love Shamu, but this probably wasn't the best idea," Chad admits.
"We've sold a few; a few girls were confident enough to rock the whale."