Review: Paul Stuart – Silk Butterfly Robe

When Christine, the owner of the lingerie retailer Duchess of Dupont, reached out to me looking for custom illustration work, I was so excited! “Freelance illustrator” is sort of a weird life plan, and most of my illustration jobs are completely unrelated to lingerie, so it’s exciting to occasionally get jobs where I get to draw exactly what I like drawing for fun: glamorous ladies in lingerie! Plus, this time around, I got to actually wear the robe in the illustration while I drew it. Whoah.

As partial trade for this illustration commission, Christine offered that I look through her shop for something that I might like to keep and use as drawing reference for the project. I don’t currently accept sponsored reviews, but receiving this robe in exchange for illustration work felt like an excellent excuse to give you all my thoughts on this loungewear piece.

Christine was hoping for pinks and blues to feature heavily in the illustration, so I had my eye out for those colors while browsing. I was surprised by the sizing options, as I was sized out of most bras at a 34DD, so I turned my sights to loungewear instead. Being sized out wasn’t all bad, as lately I’ve been falling out of love with wired bras, and y’all know how much I love swathes of silk!

Duchess - My Version.jpg
Final Illustration for Duchess of Dupont

THE PRINT

I was torn between this robe and one featuring a red coral motif on a darker blue ground, but as I already own a lot of red and navy, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go for the lighter color! I’m glad I did — the color is really beautiful. It’s more vibrant and luminous than it looks online, and is similar to something like a more vivid Tiffany Blue.

The large-scale butterfly print is bold and crisp, and looks really lovely as the robe moves and folds on the wearer’s body. It’s way more bold than anything that I would usually wear (or draw), but I’m really glad I chose this robe. It matches just about every hair scarf in my closet, and it looks so good with red lipstick!

During my time studying illustration at SCAD, I drew a lot of repeat patterns that I printed on fabric (and occasionally wrapping paper). Few of my classes had assignments that I could submit patterns for, so I mostly made them for personal use on clothes I wanted to make — I sew as a hobby, so illustrating patterns was a fun way to merge these interests. I haven’t made any patterns recently (work and life tend to get in the way of sewing), but this fun butterfly print makes me want to whip out my sketchbook and get back into it!

Duchess - My Version
Closeup of Robe by Paul Stuart and Lingerie by Lise Charmel

FABRIC AND CONSTRACTION

You just can’t beat silk, y’all. The fabric is a medium weight silk satin that breathes wonderfully, moves with the wearer, and feels incredible against skin. I’m moving to Bali in a few weeks, and while 90% of my nice things are going into storage, this is one of only two robes that I’m bringing with me. I’m hoping the silk will provide nice relief from the constant humidity!

The robe is semi-tailored, with an elegant shawl collar, deep pockets in either side seam, (pockets!!), and a wide sash belt. I’m 5’4″, and the size M hits a few inches above my knee and the sleeves hit around mid-palm. This feels like a garment that was designed for someone quite a bit more long-limbed than me, but that’s not a criticism — it would just work better on a tall person!

The robe is sewn together with a mixture of overlocked and french seams, and the cuffs and robe opening are edged in a cute decorative woven piping. The robe feels well constructed in most areas, but there are a few construction defects that I must regretfully report. Having sewn for many years, there are things I look for in garments that are important to me.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, the fabric is badly puckered at the seams connecting the sleeves and cuffs, almost as if pattern pieces don’t quite match up in size. Also, the bottom hem stitching is wobbly in areas, and the sewing tension looks like it was set way too high, resulting in tight stitches that pulls at the fine silk and leaves small tear lines in the fabric. To contrast, the sewing tension at the shoulder seams seems bafflingly loose, resulting in stitching that can be seen from the exterior of the garment on close inspection. These are all relatively small construction defects that I’d expect in a less expensive robe, but with a price tag of $595, I do expect better stitching.

Duchess - Sketch 1
Rough Sketch #1

WASHABILITY

I noticed a mysterious oily stain the first day of wearing the robe, so I braced myself for the worst and decided to wash it. I washed it how I wash all of my silks — in a cold bowl of water with a bit of silk-safe detergent. (Lately I’ve been using a bottle of the stuff that Harlow & Fox includes in all orders.) Even though silk is more or less a pretty colorfast fabric (as natural fibers generally are), I was nervous about submerging it and risking those crisp and super-saturated colors bleeding into each other. I tested washing the waist sash first, and luckily, I had no need to fear! Usually, most garments will release at least a little bit of dye the first few washes, but this robe was absolutely colorfast. There was no running of colors (or even muddying of the water) at all. Sadly, the mystery stain is still on the sample I was sent, but I’m happy that the robe looks like it will hold up well to careful washing. Success!

SHIPPING AND PACKAGING

The robe arrived quickly and with a kind note enclosed, which is a touch I always appreciate in luxury lingerie purchases. I was staying with friends at the time, and when the package seemed like it might have been lost in transit, Christine helped me figure out the problem, even going as far as to call my local post office for me! The package turned out to be moved by another houseguest and all was well, but I hugely appreciated Christine’s gesture.

The robe arrived in a plastic product bag in the shipping box, and lacked any of the touches of luxury that I would normally expect a robe this expensive to come packed in (like tissue paper or a long-term storage box). If you’re purchasing a gift for someone from the Duchess, or if packaging is important to you, it may be worth an email to see what packaging options look like.

Duchess - Sketch 2
Rough Sketch #2 – Chosen Composition

CONCLUSION

It’s a beautiful robe, and I expect to get a lot of wear out of it, but it doesn’t feel like a $600 robe. The fabric and print are lovely, but between the puckered seams and poor sewing tension throughout the garment, I just don’t think it lives up to it’s price. I see a lot of brands and manufacturers trying to capitalize on the luxury lingerie and loungewear niche, but luxury is so much more than a high price tag.

However, this is still a lovely robe that I personally plan on wearing all of next year in Bali, and for lovers of bold prints and luscious prints, it may be worth keeping an eye out for sales over at Duchess of Dupont!

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