The smoking jacket/dressing gown has perhaps never been more proudly displayed than in Noel Coward’s 1939 drawing room farce Present Laughter. Drop everything and watch the 1981 revival from London. It provides not only hilarity, but also a Jane’s Vanity moment of the most sartorial sort.
Present Laughter continues to sparkle, decades after its premiere. The lead character is Garry Essendine, a well-known and over-the-top stage actor whose hauteur is matched only by his romantic escapades. His persona is enhanced by his love of dressing gowns, a different one for each scene. In three acts, all occurring in his living room, Garry’s hectic life is showcased as he prepares to go on tour in Africa. He is attended by his faithful secretary, independent-minded household staff, investors, overnight guests, hangers-on, and ex-wife. Although his collection of lounging attire is non-verbal, it becomes a distinctive member of the cast. Come along, as JV selects dapper coverups to suit the playbill.
Perhaps the allure of this play lies partly in its homey locale. We can relate to spending all day swanning around the house in a sexy robe. As the curtain rises, Violet & Wren’s Camo Bloom Longline Kimono takes center stage. All eyes on its oversize magnolia print in shades of navy, black, white, and tan. Cuffed ¾ sleeves allow dramatic gestures. Bronze lurex trim catches the footlights.
Looking for a gift for a main character? Choose one of Gilda & Pearl’s Garland Velvet Robes in luscious emerald green silk velvet. The enveloping Long Robe features a full skirt that would be perfect for making an entrance. The versatile Short Robe could go out on the town as an evening jacket. Both robes are entirely lined in emerald silk.
When the plot thickens, we might require a coverup for a coverup. Blend into the scenery in Lise Charmel’s Rêve Orchidée Devoré Robe, a delectable floral on whisper-weight lavender silk.
For the finale, we take a bow in Christine Vancouver’s Origami Long Silk Robe. Its satin-finished silk crepe features a beguiling geometric pattern of red, white, and seaside blue.
Anticipate an encore for critically acclaimed coverups from Jane’s Vanity!