Fashion Bathrobes Are A Thing Now, So I Tried One

Some things are better left for the runway

In addition to the see-now, buy-now debate, the discussion of whether or not fashion shows should exist, and how designers and retailers can best engage consumers, another very serious fashion issue has arisen this NYFW: fashion bathrobes. 

Yes, you read that correctly. From the white fur option at Alexander Wang to the cozy plaid offering from the recently revived Band of Outsiders, fashion bathrobes have emerged as somewhat of a micro trend on the Spring 2017 runways. And this has left everyone (mainly just me) wondering if the bathrobe is a viable everyday garment. I mean, we have athleisure, which has inexplicably made wearing sweatpants with heels completely acceptable. And the whole underwear-as-outerwear movement has been gaining steam for some time now (corsets and bralettes for the win!). But bathrobes? Really? How do you style something once reserved for spas and the boudoir? Naturally, Hugh Hefner has mastered the look, opting to don his silk, wine-colored iteration over a pair of pajamas and accessorize it with two (or three, or twenty) busty blonds. But I doubt the street style set will embrace the aged smut publisher look anytime soon. Then again, fashion trends are wild. I could be wrong.

At Lacoste, Felipe Oliveira Baptista opened his show with a lush purple hooded bathrobe paired with platform sandals. “It was a big moment. A big purple moment,” said Matthew Schneier, style reporter for the New York Times. “I don’t know if we’re calling it a bathrobe, or a robe coat, or something in between, but I quite liked it because it had a backstory. The whole collection was inspired by Casa Malaparte, the Capri villa where Godard’s Contempt was filmed. And basically, the entirety of the Godard film is Brigitte Bardot swanning around sunbathing, wrapped in towels. So, you know, if you can’t be sunbathing in Capri, you can at least dress like you are.”

Yes, yes you can. And I intended to do just that. After unearthing what is clearly destined to be a very important Spring 2017 trend, I decided to wrap myself in my own black silk bathrobe before attending the Hood by Air show (which, if you’ll recall, was porn-centric, so coincidentally, I was appropriately attired). I’m a modest lady (sartorially speaking), so I decided to wear a slip underneath, rather than going au naturale. As it turns out, the slip was completely useless, because it rode up as I walked across 33th street, and thanks to the blustery weather, I flashed god knows how many unsuspecting pedestrians.

As you can imagine, I was feeling fairly self-conscious at this point, but when I heard someone I assume was a tourist say, “Oh my, that’s so glamorous,” I found myself feeling more confident. That confidence was misplaced, a fact I realized after discovering a large white toothpaste stain on my collar. (I really should have planned this better.)

Once I reached Moynihan Station, I bumped into Allure fashion director Rachael Wang, who revealed herself to be a staunch supporter of loungewear-as-ready-to-wear. “I have several fashion bathrobes and I have worn them in public,” she proclaimed. I could tell she was staring at the toothpaste. God damn it. “I wore one last fashion week. It’s been documented. I’m so into it,” she continued. “I love a boudoir moment, but I honestly think it’s a continuation of athleisure, of people basically not wanting to put on real clothes. So we’ve gone from sweats to bathrobes. It’s literally just your pajamas.” Literally. I had slept in this robe the night prior. 

Once I was in the show space, I saw Naomi Campbell sitting front row, and you won’t believe this, but she was also in a bathrobe. Okay, she was in wide-legged black trousers and a sheer white lace tunic with silk insets, but it was definitely bathrobe-esque. I could really be on to something here. 

Naturally, I had to investigate further, so I asked super stylist Mel Ottenberg his thoughts before HBA’s first lubed-up model hit the runway. “I love a fashion bathrobe. You look great,” he told me. (It was dark, and he’s a nice guy.) “I actually have two,” he added. “Donatella Versace gave them to me—they’re white Versace medusa robes. They’re the gayest things, for a gay man. What could be better? Best Christmas present ever.” Indeed. But would he consider leaving his apartment in Donatella’s gift? “No. No I would not.” Going forward, I probably won’t either. But more power to anyone who wants to roam the streets in Lacoste’s purple stunner. I’d just recommend wearing it with pants. And checking for toothpaste before leaving your apartment.

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