Though Maisonzhou is a local brand founded just last October, while Three Graces London was founded in its namesake city in 2015, the founders of both luxury sleepwear lines agree on one thing – the importance of quality nightclothes for overall well-being.
Maisonzhou works “only with stretch-silk and lace”, while Three Graces London “only use natural fabrics, high thread-count cottons, fine linens and silks” which are “all…sourced from European mills.” We speak to founders Sophie Corlett and Catherine Johnson on why they think good quality sleepwear is important, what inspired them to start their own lines, and what upcoming projects you can expect from them.
#1: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start your brand.
SC: I’m a lawyer by background and have lived and worked in Asia for more than 10 years, including seven in Hong Kong and now three in Singapore. I consider myself European with a strong Chinese influence. I started the brand – as many people do – because I was looking for something I couldn’t find. I was looking for high quality sleepwear which was made from beautiful fabric, was made to last and had the kind of vintage aesthetic which I like. The brand represents my background, in that it’s a fusion brand.
CJ: I grew up in rural Ireland and can safely say luxury nightwear wasn’t the first thing on my agenda whilst growing up! However, growing up in a large Catholic family, dressing up was part of the fabric of life – whether it was Saturday night or Sunday at Church, clothes were fun and transformed me and those around me. I moved to London in my early twenties and it was within the marketing department at De Beers that I discovered luxury and the desire to start my own business. For many years I’ve collected vintage nightwear and lounge wear, and I wanted to set up a brand that created garments that allowed women to feel more special in their ‘down-time.’
#2: What sets your brand apart from others?
SC: There aren’t many similar brands in the Asian market – compared to international designer brands, the quality of our silk and workmanship is very comparable. We are very proud to be an Asian brand and I think that Asian customers are really looking for their own homegrown brands. Unlike most of the Western brands, we also offer a petite size for our customers who are 165cm and under. Also, many of our customers actually buy the pieces to wear during the day as well as at night, so much so that for future collections we’ll be introducing more “day” pieces.
CJ: My aim is to create timeless, elegant garments that stand the test of time using the highest quality silks, cottons and linens. The designs are different to what is currently available and the pieces are elegant and yet comfortable.
#3: Tell us something special about your designs.
SC: The silk we use is incredible and perfect for the Singapore climate as it’s lightweight, temperature regulating and moisture-wicking. That means it keeps you cool when it’s warm and vice versa. It also keeps the moisture locked into your skin, whilst letting sweat escape. Despite all the modern advances in technology, it’s still the ultimate anti-ageing fabric! Our customers tell us that it feels like you’re not wearing anything, which I think is the best compliment we can ask for.
CJ: Each piece that we make is special; each collection is new and unique. We use beautiful fabrics and we have a great design team. We focus on using European fabrics and our garments are made in Europe too.
#4: When did the trend of luxury sleepwear/loungewear start and what do you think sparked it?
SC: Luxury sleepwear has been worn in Europe since the late 19th/early 20th century, but really took off when designers such as Vionnet started designing beautiful silk bias cut nightdresses in the 1920s. Pajamas for women and loungewear (aka wearing your pajamas during the daytime) was first introduced by Coco Chanel and hit the mainstream in the 1930s, when a well-known US socialite took to wearing Schiaparelli’s pajamas and a trend was born. More recently, the current vogue for pajamas as daywear was started by Marc Jacobs who filled his three Fall 2013 collections (Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton) with silk sleep sets.
CJ: Access to the internet and social media has changed the way we live and work. Often we work from home and want to feel comfortable, and yet somehow our lives have never been more public or more on show.
#5: Why is it important to have good sleepwear/loungewear?
SC: Endless studies have shown that sleeping in silk gives you a better night’s sleep due to its temperature regulating properties. I also think that beautiful sleepwear helps you take a moment to recognise the change from day to night, and to enjoy your own ritual of winding down and relaxing into bed. Sleepwear is a very personal choice and most other people have no idea what you choose to wear. It’s all about how it makes you feel.
CJ: Wearing beautiful sleepwear and loungewear is a lovely thing to do for ourselves! It’s a great investment.
#6: Are there any exciting current/ upcoming projects for your brand?
SC: We currently have a pop-up at Takashimaya, Level 3, that runs till tomorrow, May 16, where we’re showcasing our S/S’17 collection. The entire collection will be available online afterwards.
CJ: This month, we are launching a swimwear and beachwear range, which we’re very excited about.
Maisonzhou is available at Beauty Candy Apothecary, Mandarin Gallery and at W Hotel, Sentosa, and online at www.maisonzhou.com with free local next day delivery. Three Graces London is available online at www.net-a-porter.com.
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