Versace Robes Are Now a Wardrobe Basic

September 20, 2019

“Robes” are now one of the most searched items of apparel online—thanks to a boom in Versace’s luxury take on the spa staple.

[Read the original story here in GQ.]

It’s a wild world out there—don’t you just want to slip into something more comfortable?

As it turns out, you do, because Versace robes, for years the epitome of aspiration, are now a wardrobe staple. Versace’s robes—with their signature baroque Versace trim, and the terry cloth print reading, “VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE” like a terry-cloth rendition of the Migos hit—have long been part of hip-hop lore, as elemental to Diddy’s image as his all-white wardrobe, as integral to the inner-being of Drake as heartache. And they have always represented a sweet life always triumphantly beyond reach. You will never be on this yacht, smoking this cigar, recording a smash hit like this, performing shirtless to a sold-out crowd (…telling time by the pool like Floyd Mayweather?). The Versace Robe really looks like celebrity, the crowning the long road towards a life well-earned.


Now, though, the robe has entered a new age of ubiquity. According to ForwardPMX’s annual report on online luxury brands, robes are, for the first time, a top keyword search in apparel this year, coming in right below “wrap” and just above, if you can believe it, “tuxedo.” That means more people are searching for robes than tuxedos. That’s luxury! And it isn’t just any robe that’s got the people searching: It’s a Versace Robe, the report notes. That’s a hypothesis bolstered by a report released earlier this year by Lyst, which listed the Versace bathrobe as one of the hottest men’s products: searches for the robe were up 240% in the fourth quarter of 2018. Lyst suggested that the Versace Robe boom was “likely influenced by the likes of Kanye West, Kevin Hart, and Drake, who have all posed in the striking, instantly recognizable robe on Instagram.” (Probably didn’t hurt either that Drake namedropped them in the 2018 freestyle “Behind Barz”: “Versace hotel and I’m takin’ the robes.”)

What this suggests is that consumers—aka normies, aka people like you and me—now feel they should shop and dress and live like celebrities. To venture a theory: perhaps we’ve discovered that “easy fame” isn’t as e-z as social media made it look. And now we just want to look famous, instead of going to all the trouble being famous seems to entail.

Neiman Marcus is a storied purveyor of the Versace robe—they carry the robe in multiple styles and colorways, as well as the coordinating slippers, as well as the coordinating bedspread!—so I reached out to get their take. Russ Patrick, a senior vice president and general merchandise manager, noted that high-fashion designer clothes are generally on the rise among men, but that “designer brands, such as Versace, have transformed the everyday robe into a statement piece that elevates [a man’s] look inside-and-outside the home.” He added that a number of the customers, “influenced by celebrities,” are buying the robes to wear not only at home, but also “by the pool, at the beach, or on a boat as a way to stand out with comfort and style.” It’s like the status inflatable pool toy—except $595. (Which seems kinda affordable, in the grand scheme of Versace!)

On Instagram, #versacerobe puts things in more immediate terms. Men are posting post-brow lift selfies (#cosmeticsurgery #versacerobe); guys are posing on Toronto hotel balconies and quoting that Drake song; cryptocurrency brokers are letting us know that “sometimes you just have to stay home and chill.” The Versace Robe, long the emblem of unattainable relaxation, is now the official symbol of the trappings of fame, minus the actual doldrums of celebrity—it’s “comfort and style,” as Patrick said. In this age of topsy-turvy celebrity, what’s a better definition of fame than that

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