Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Ben Whishaw as Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisted
Here at FEAL, we don't usually say too much about menswear. But when John Lewis told us that their sales of 'dapper robes' were up by 91% in the men's department, our ears pricked up.I thought it was only girls who watched Downton Abbey, but John Lewis seem sure that the rise is a result of men wanting to emulate Lord Grantham's stately bedroom attire. Are the men of Great Britain going home and pretending to be turn-of-the century aristocrats? I certainly haven't seen any evidence of them wearing their new robes out and about, have you?
As Lord Grantham gets a bit too close to maid Jane, we get a good peek of his bedroom robe (image from itv/ mirror.co.uk)
Oscar Wilde posing in his smoking jacket (image from thisislondon.com)
I don't think Downton is where it all began though; I've been slightly obsessed with the 1981 series of Brideshead Revisited for years now and I studied Oscar Wilde at university. Recently, I've seen all these used as references for various microtrends such as the pyjama suit and the dandy slipper. Penelope Chilvers has even launched a bespoke service which lets you design your very own Dandy slipper.

It doesn't get more Dandy than Ralph Lauren's purple tasseled slippers
This pyjama/slipper combination feels luxurious and exotic- see the above still from the 2008 film version of Brideshead Revisited which is all about a louche and priviliged life where one really can recline in pyjamas all day long.  This is why I think there's more to this than wanting to be like Downton's main man. Although, as we're talking about John Lewis here, perhaps this is more of an older man buying into the Lord of the Manor lifestyle represented by Hugh Bonneville's Lord Grantham. Although he's loveable in his own way, he doesn't have that foppish air of extravagance and wealth which Oscar Wilde and Sebastian Flyte possess.
JW Anderson AW11 - Francesca Burns & Emma Elwick of British Vogue both have this pyjama suit by Jonathan Anderson, and have even been seen wearing them together
Louis Vuitton Resort 2012. You can buy this from November 21st. Top £700 and trousers £550
For us girls, pyjamas are a trend which is going to get hard to avoid. John Lewis say that we're already coming round to it, with sales of the 'luxurious nightwear' up by more than 200%. But it's the crossover to seeing pyjamas as daywear options which is really telling. J.W Anderson has already done some highly lustworthy day time paisley pyjamas for AW11. The Great Gatsby inspired Sofia Coppola and Marc Jacobs' collaboration for Louis Vuitton's Resort 2012. Once the SS12 shows came around, barely a show went by without some evidence of gentleman's silks and easy pyjama suits; Equipment's will be amazing (aforementioned on this blog). The High Street has already been offering mannish silky shirts and, in some cases, matching silky pyjama bottoms and palazzo pants. By next spring this will be a huge fashion thang, so you may as well be ahead of the curve and get into it now. So while all the boys are hiding inside, playing at being Dukes and Lords, it seems inevitable that the ladies will be out and about showing off their take on pyjamas as fashionable daywear.

Alexa Chung has included a pyjama suit in her new and rather good collection for American brand Madewell. Alexa's dandy silk Valentine pyjama is dotted with palm tree silhouettes; a New York Post writer was so enamoured of them,she wore them for a day out in Manhattan and wrote about it.

Derek Rose, purveyors of luxury pyjamas, have a few styles which could work well as daywear options...
Very Art Deco- the Leila Blue£109.99

Modern Paisley- the Nelson Silver £109.99

Stella McCartney's paisley pyjama for SS12

Close up of Stella McCartney paisley

Close up of Stella Mccartney foulard silk, the main motif of her collection

Paul Smith SS12

J. W Anderson's paisley suit for SS12

Photos: Fashion Editor at Large, catwalking.com

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