In the ever more crowded and noisy world the need at times to stop and contemplate, often in silence and without communication, is overwhelming. Comfort and security in the feeling of the clothing selected to cocoon in is paramount; a Hermes cashmere blanket is possibly the perfect piece.
The term cocooning was coined in the 1990s by Faith Popcorn, a trend forecaster and marketing consultant.
In fact long before this Li Edelkoort, the outstanding style clairvoyant, talked about pyjamas and blankets in 1988, amongst other things. “The need for the warmth, the comfort, the time for oneself, for ones surrounding. To be occupied with one’s home.”
In fashion terms the idea of the cocoon stretches back into the simple wrapping and layering of nomadic and travelling clothing. To carry ones home on ones back, to wrap and enfold blankets, shawls, quilts and possessions to enable the home to be wherever one is. Simply unfold the outer layers and reveal the heart of the home at the centre; oneself.
This must be the inspiration for Paul Poiret and his massive fur trimmed coat in fabric by Dufy called La Perse of 1911, which is turn inspired Marc Jacobs only a couple of seasons ago. The huge quilted opera coats of Lanvin in the 1920’s and 30’s, closer to an eiderdown or bedspread in iridescent satins and taffeta’s, were designed to shield a flapper in a beaded chemise dress form all weathers. The Afghan coat beloved of hippies in the 70’s, rich with embroidery and with the fur tufting along the edges provided shelter at raves and festivals. Jean Charles de Castelbajac has often re-interpreted the rich blankets inspired by the Hudsons Bay company of Canada established in 1779, it is possible in the frozen Canadian winters this really was truly was cocooning, if not hibernation. Norma Kamali famously created the “sleeping bag coat” in 1975 truly linking the concept of carrying ones bed around and high fashion. Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garcons has celebrated padding and wadding to cushion and protect, as well as distort, the wearer in many collections over the years.
Clothing and cocooning have a long relationship and a happy partnership whatever the prevailing silhouette or trend. Even in summer the many variations of a poncho, cover up, caftan or dressing gown links the wrapping and enveloping of the wearer in a cocoon of fabrics to clothing.
In recent seasons pyjamas and dressing gowns have paced the catwalks of the world, the doudoune, puffa jacket, down jacket or padded parka; whatever it may be called; can be seen in every possible variation, from top luxury brand Moncler, filled with real duck and down and trimmed with luxuriant fox fur, through to end less rails in endless colour options as a basic at Uniqlo.
This season the blanket surely arrived at its catwalk pinnacle at Burberry where Christopher Bailey enfolded the world’s top runway girls in personally monogrammed blanket wraps as the show finale. At Christian Dior the coats were folded over the models arms resembling blankets ready to snuggle down into for sleep and shelter. Even the most glamorous of designers Mr. Roberto Cavalli threw some extraordinary monochrome blankets over his Amazonian glamour girls and Etro offered blankets as well in divine Berber stripes or exotic plaids. Etro of course had Afghan coats as well.
There is a fashion cocooning for every style from a blanket wrap cashmere coat at Hermes to a quilted duchess satin dress for the red carpet at Dior. The only problem is that most of these clothes are too fabulous to stay at home and cocoon in.