I’ve never understood the appeal of pajamas, and I probably haven’t worn a set since I was about 12 and still keen on Spiderman. Wearing PJs always seemed (to my too-male mind) like swapping one suit of clothes for another at bedtime, and that just felt wrong. Add to that the transformation of PJs in adulthood from unisex uniform into sensual feminine boudoir wear and, well, you can understand why the whole pajama game just confuses me.
However, it might be time to rethink all this, especially after seeing how New York lingerie label Ari Dein has turned this most functional of garments into something positively regal with their new Classic Boutique Hotel pajama line.
The BH jammies are a far cry from my old Spidey flannels: at $660 a set, these hand-made, all-silk creations are the last word in bedtime luxury.
They’re also a runaway hit of the new fashion season. Despite the hefty price tag and the fact that Ari Dein’s spring collection won’t even have its official U.S. launch until next week, company founder Arielle Shapiro is filling orders as fast as she can sew.
Available in peacock and tainted white (with contrasting appliqued ribbon trim and lion-face buttons), the BH pajamas take their style cues from Dein’s popular Boutique Hotel lingerie collection with its memories-of-post-war-Manhattan aura. You could imagine Cary Grant or Clark Gable lounging around in these outfits, under a smoking jacket, of course.
Ironically, the BH pajamas were a last-minute afterthought that came about after Claire Chambers, CEO of lingerie retailer Journelle, identified a gap in the U.S. luxury intimates market — no one, she remarked to Shapiro last fall, was making luxury menswear-inspired pajamas anymore. From such serendipitous beginnings a bestseller was born.
Shapiro showcased the Ari Dein 2011 collection of silk lingerie and sleepwear at last month’s Salon International trade show in Paris, where the classic pajamas immediately stood out. That was followed quickly by a full-page feature in Women’s Wear Daily‘s intimates issue (above photo) and inclusion in the Wall Street Journal‘s valentine’s gift guide. Suddenly, website orders started pouring in from London to L.A.
For Shapiro, the enthusiastic response has been a welcome surprise, and one that validates her appreciation of classic styling.
“The pajamas are proof that fashion isn’t just about modernity and trends,” Shapiro said yesterday. “My approach has always been creating ‘new classics.’ I wanted to establish a brand in 2009 that didn’t feel like a young designer, but instead represents tradition, timeless design and ageless style.
“The PJs epitomize that to me. My grandmother could have worn these 60 years ago. I can wear them now … and in 60 years.”
You can learn more about Ari Dein’s Classic Boutique Hotel pajamas and the rest of the new 2011 collection by visiting their website.