What makes a New & Lingwood silk dressing gown?
The traditional view of a dressing gown is one of style-free comfort. Often associated with drab hospital stays or chilly British mornings, the majority of gowns are made from washed out cotton or tired towelling. They’re synonymous with a dowdy, dated and frankly unsexy reputation, which, if truth be told, is largely deserved.
Thankfully, there is another sphere of dressing gown – a higher echelon, if you will – of style, opulence and indulgence. Certainly, that’s how we try to envision our gowns at New & Lingwood, designing them in the finest tradition of gentlemen’s outfitting.
The inspiration behind our ever-evolving silk gown collection is best characterised by the work of Art Deco fashion illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, or the golden era of Hollywood screen idols. Our gowns are informed by the chosen loungewear of icons like Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Nöel Coward, who took the job dressing to relax very seriously.
Far from being hidden from view, in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, they were to be seen on both sides of the pond, from New York to Paris, in swanky apartments at pre-theatre cocktail parties, where they would stand in for a dinner jacket until such time as the chauffeur arrived and the dinner suit was donned.
New & Lingwood’s dressing gowns continue this tradition and are a work of traditional British luxury. We like to think of them as heirloom pieces, to be passed on from one generation to another – certainly, we build them to last as long.
Our gown making process begins with the designing of our silks, which can be inspired by anything from an architectural feature to a botanical drawing. Each fabric is scaled and coloured to achieve balance and proportion across its silken canvas. Experience and judgement then help to decide whether the best medium is printed or woven (jacquard) cloth.
Our screen-printed silks hale from the birthplace of British serigraphy, Macclesfield. The 36oz twill lends a superior weight to the cloth, which in turn gives the garment a sleek sense of comfort and fluid drape. Our jacquard silks are woven in Sudbury, Suffolk, by makers who date back to the Huguenots and their migration from Spitalfields to Suffolk in the eighteenth century. The cloth has an unsurpassed lustre and is extremely durable.
To render these wonderful materials into a finished dressing gown requires the skill and dexterity of our maker in Nottingham. Each gown is individually cut and sewn in a small atelier to our own unique patterns.
Of course, all of our gowns are limited editions, but if something truly unique is desired we are able to create a bespoke design for customers, commissioning a limited edition length of silk exclusively for his or her use. We can also re-colour most existing designs, should they have a preference of shade or to co-ordinate with their home environment. When we say our gowns are the height of traditional British luxury, we mean it.