Details

For Restless Sleepers, elegance never sleeps

Passing effortlessly between day and night, between the feminine and the masculine, whether you’re between the sheets, lazing away the day with friends or out for an elegant evening. Metamorphic and unpredictable, quite simple in their lines, sumptuous in the fabric and the accessories that reinvent it. With her sartorial savvy, Francesca Ruffini Stoppani has elevated silk pyjamas from “something to wear” to an entirely new way of dressing. Dressing to revive the heady days of the archetypal Grand Hotels, which heralded a new era of hospitality from Europe to the Far East. And to dress this way today, we choose the loveliness of F.R.S., the monogram of For Restless Sleepers and Francesca Ruffini Stoppani herself, who designed two limited edition pieces for the Grand Hotel Tremezzo inspired by our palatial gardens, the eighteenth-century frescoes of Villa Sola Cabiati and the signature shade of orange that unites them both.

Her personal story begins on Lake Como and opens out to the whole wide world. For Francesca Ruffini Stoppani, fashion designer, Como native born to two Comaschi parents, a life in silk and fashion, the first time her monogram found its way on to a pair of pyjamas was when her mother, another woman of old-world sophistication, sewed her initials on her striped poplin and Oxford pyjamas as a child. “There were three of us born in the space of four years,” Francesca recalls, “and my mother always dressed us exactly the same, including our menswear-inspired pyjamas. That tunic, those soft and comfortable trousers, but with a real sense of style – I always loved them and wore them day and night. I would have left the house in those pyjamas if my mother had let me.” As Francesca got older, her affinity for fashion led her to enroll in Como’s special secondary school for the silk industry – “I was in ‘Class Q’, to give you an idea of the size of the school” – and then to a degree in business and marketing, after which she worked many years in her husband’s company, “but it just didn’t feel like my thing, so at the age of fifty I opened my drawer of dreams and said, ‘Let’s go!’”

The first collection of F.R.S. For Restless Sleepers was launched in 2015, pyjamas as daywear, jackets with lapels and comfortable trousers that were still very feminine, dress robes cinched at the waist with a belt. The success was almost immediate, thanks to the imminently wearable elegance, the high-quality silk and the distinctive prints. It was the outfit every real woman was missing in her closet. “Real women”, because from the early 1900s, women of character always wore men’s pyjamas, confident in themselves and in their own femininity.

"When I started thinking about an F.R.S. collection for Grand Hotel Tremezzo, I went back to those halcyon days, the magnificent 1930s, the lost art of travel, the ur-charm of the world’s most magnificent hotels."

Pyjamas, from the Hindi pae jama for “clothes for the legs”, came to Europe in circa 1870 with the British and immediately usurped the antiquated and not very manly nightgown. At the turn of the twentieth century, a lot of things changed, including women and the way they were perceived by men. Paul Poiret was the first designer to honor the natural female form, finally doing away with corsets and saying yes to soft lines, including pyjamas. A blink of an eye and then we see Coco Chanel vacationing in Antibes, christened “Pyjamapolis” by Robert de Beauplan in 1931. Three years later, Claudette Colbert wore striped men’s pyjamas in the film It Happened One Night. Then others, everyone from Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Harper’s Bazaar’s Paris editor Daisy Fellowes and Joan Crawford to Jacqueline Kennedy, Ira von Fürstenberg and Marella Agnelli, followed suit. Is it a coincidence that Greta Garbo had been a guest of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo and the star of the film Grand Hotel in 1932? Everything is written...

“When I started thinking about an F.R.S. collection for Grand Hotel Tremezzo, I went back to those halcyon days, the magnificent 1930s, the lost art of travel, the ur-charm of the world’s most magnificent hotels. And it was precisely traveling to these other mythical properties – I’m thinking of the Pera Palace in Istanbul, sitting at the little table where Agatha Christie used to take her tea, or the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, in a room once reserved for William Somerset Maugham – that I felt the urge to design something that evokes the same magical feeling even after I returned home.” Shall we try and delve into the source of the magic? “Kindness, restraint, gazing upon objects of wonder and blessed with infinite time for yourself,” recalls Francesca Ruffini Stoppani. And we might add the morning breeze wafting over the silk, causing it to ripple and play, while we luxuriate, so elegant, so Parisian, so Hollywood, such restless sleepers.