Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

How women here gave world PJ fashion trend

Frances Burscough

There's some great news for so-called ‘slummy mummies’ who like to wear their nightwear way past their bedtime ... and right through the next day.

Having witnessed Belfast Fashionweek in all its glory, I can tell you that PJ chic is all set to shuffle off the international catwalks and stride purposefully down our high streets this summer.

Apparently everyone who’s anyone has been doing it in LA, since the iconic fashion label Prada introduced the look at their New York shows a few seasons ago and made it ok to be seen in a tell-tale satin two-piece. Upmarket label Celine took up the theme, then Stella McCartney wasn’t far behind with a distinctly nocturnal aspect to her collection for Spring/Summer 2012 .

So who are the stars who, along with their pyjamas, come out at night?

Salma Hayek sent the paparazzi into overdrive when she was pictured arriving at LAX airport in a pair of Chinese silk ones with a Paisley-style print earlier this season. Halle Berry was spotted in the same design but a different colour on the catwalk at Stella McCartney; Rihanna wore some exquisite Emilio Pucci oriental silk PJs for the premiere of Battleship last week and the androgynous-looking Tilda Swinton wore an ivory pair of men's PJs when she was at a posh do in New York recently.

Meanwhile, the seal of approval this side of the Atlantic was given to the look when Jade Jagger's daughter (and Mick's grand-daughter) Amba Jagger (16) chose to wear a pair of stretch satin jammies to her catwalk debut last month at a film premiere.

Lily Allen was also seen leaving a trendy club in Soho wearing a pair teamed with sexy stilettos, and the likes of Mel B, Katie Perry and Florence Welch have all been flaunting theirs around town too.

Now everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Topshop have them hanging from their rails — in daywear, not nightwear, collections.

I personally love my jammies, and now that it is ok with the fashion cognoscenti to be seen outdoors in them, I certainly intend to ... and not just putting the bins out on a Monday morning, either.

However, what none of the worldwide fashion commentators have mentioned so far is that the trend didn’t actually start in any of the cool European capitals.

Not at all ...

In fact, it started right here in the suburbs of Belfast.

Fashionistas of the world take note of an article written in the Andersonstown News and then followed up in the Times, no less, as far back as 2007: “So many women in Belfast take their children to and from school while still dressed in their pyjamas that a local headmaster has appealed to them to show some respect.

“Joe McGuinness, principal of St Matthew’s Primary in Short Strand ... was moved to action after seeing as many as 50 mothers — colloquially known as ‘Pyjama Mamas’ or ‘Millies’ — arriving at the school gates in their nightwear. In a bulletin to parents, Mr McGuinness wrote: ‘Over recent months the number of adults leaving children to and collecting children from school dressed in pyjamas has risen considerably ... I feel that arriving at the school in pyjamas is disrespectful to the school and a bad example is set to children.’”

Tesco quickly followed suit by banning pyjamas from its aisles — even in its all-night stores — and before long it became a political hot potato that everyone was talking about.

So the inappropriate wearing of pyjamas in Northern Ireland had become a national issue long before it was even a twinkle in the eye of the international fashion world.

But now at last we are vindicated! Those strait-laced protagonists of pyjama protocol can now stop the mockery and go slip into something more comfortable.

So, take credit all you busy Belfast mums for starting a trend that is now sweeping the fashionable world!

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