Robes are one of the oldest documented garments, worn everywhere from churches to courtrooms via boxing rings and the bedroom. However, over the past few seasons, items that have traditionally been reserved for the bedroom – like the slip dress and bralette – have made their way into our everyday wardrobes. This subversion of classic attire has been taking place since the beginning of the 20th century but, in recent years, female musicians have done a lot to disrupt the notion of ‘proper’ dress – think Madonna’s cone bra and Christina Aguilera’s corsets – with Rihanna often photographed in the street wearing a printed silk robe over a bralette, glass of wine in hand. Robes may scream ‘my wealthy husband recently died in mysterious circumstances’ but they’ve also been reimagined in a variety of prints, shapes and fabrics, which make them as suitable for work as for the bar.
French ready-to-wear label JOUR/NÉ recently presented robes inspired by smoking jackets, while on SS17’s catwalks we saw monochrome collarless pieces from Etro and a bohemian amalgamation of colour and print at Roberto Cavalli. Elie Saab went all-out Americana with star-printed robes, Vivetta gave us botanical florals and Alberta Ferretti paid homage to the classic nightgown. Whether inspired by traditional Japanese kimonos or the lingerie worn by on-screen sirens of the ‘40s, robes are everywhere and make the perfect lightweight cover-up come hot weather.