Once dismissed as a bygone, pyjamas have come full circle. Between the sheets and on the streets, embrace it, says Phoebe J. McDowell
Pyjamas have set hearts aflutter for many years; just consider Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk, Audrey Hepburn in Charade and Claude Colbert in It Happened One Night. Only recently however, have we witnessed their fierce revival, evolving into items of coveted luxury for men and women, in and out of the house.
Despite Coco Chanel pioneering PJ-dressing back in the 20s, we are only now harnessing the true power of pyjamas. Recently, every PJ garment in the book has been sent down the runway. Mixing day and night, brands such as Celine; Pucci; Louis Vuitton and Lanvin have provided artful lessons in juxtaposition. Everyone from Alexa Chung to Derek Blasberg have - with an accompanying insouciance - donned chinoiserie, rococo swirls and stripes in slouchy silks, satins and plush cottons.
A contradiction of sorts, pyjamas have become sexy, yet demure, chic, yet comforting. Styles from the likes of Derek Rose, Equipment, Turnbull & Asser and Yolke tap into a versatile and contemporary mood where practicality and a playful sense of tradition sleepily collide. Pinning a forgotten elegance that once was, whilst still retaining pyjamas’ integral DNA: slouch and ease. So although elegant loungewear makes a good case for lazy (and lavish) Sunday mornings, it’s equally at home in a look that says,“I woke up like this.” Versatility is key, something Dean Gomilsek-Cole, head of design at Turnbull & Asser knows all too well. His brief looks a little like this: “loose and comfortable but would still pass muster if one was locked out of their Mayfair home and had to pop out for breakfast.”
And what's so jolly good about all of this is that the primary “sleepwear” function of PJs has not been rendered defunct. Free from irritating zips and fastenings, comfort bears no compromise with these garments. Post 4 o’clock on any given wintry day, pyjamas dance, tease, flirt and seduce us. Once on, they’re a sartorial equivalent to being enveloped in a hug with your best friend; supping a golden whisky and hunkering down in front of a roaring fire. Essentially it's all about “celebrating the ultimate luxury of ‘at home’ and ‘me time’” explains king of nightwear, Sacha Rose of Derek Rose.
Women have been more daring with their chosen sleepwear, and thus, have profited from virtuosic colour, pattern and fun - a precious commodity in the fashion world. Wonderfully spoiling loungewear label Yolke, encourages its customers to “experiment”, particularly because “clashes aren’t an issue because most bedsheets are white”. Gentlemen, however, remain sentimental to Sacha Roses’ interpretation, “blue, navy and blue. Fact.” For them, it’s all about tradition and playing Lord of the Manor - think Lord Grantham. References and inspiration come in abundance, not least from Downton Abbey, but also Capitol Hill’s power dressing senator Frank Underwood and London’s oddly dashing supersleuth, Sherlock. With the weight of the world on their shoulders, both renounce their duties in refinery: pyjamas and robes from preppy British brand, Derek Rose.
Irresistibly contagious and dangerously addictive, it’s refreshing to see something so simple, slouchy, accessible and attainable, garner such a following. And what's even better is that they’re one of the rare garments we can share our affection for, with the opposite sex. Without question, expertly tailored, beautiful quality loungewear has hit fever pitch, and the screams can be heard from parties of swank to parties of slumber.
Words by Phoebe J. McDowell
Images by REX Features & Yolke