Byline: Karyn Monget / With contributions from Alessandra Ilari, Milan / Samantha Conti, London / Robert Murphy, Paris

NEW YORK — Every night, they dress women the world over in frilly, pretty and often sheer little things for bed, but what do designers wear themselves when settling down for the night? WWD broke through the inner sanctum of their boudoirs to find out. The answers are, not surprisingly, candid and varied. They have their own after-work rituals and wear anything from old-school Hollywood glam and sexy, peekaboo sass to boyish charm.
Vivienne Westwood: “I have no recreational clothing. When I get home, I take off my dress, get down to my stockings and bra — which I get at my son Joe’s shop, Agent Provocateur — and put on an apron to do the cooking. That is how I sit down to eat with my husband.”
Donna Karan: “Always, always, always caftans, whether they’re in silk, linen, cashmere or linen. That’s what I wear all of the time. “
Karan, who is laid up with a broken leg, apparently is sleeping with a new accessory — a plaster cast.
Betsey Johnson: “What I wear to bed is very dependent on whom I’m with or if I’m alone. If I’m alone, it’s like sleeping with a girlfriend or my daughter, and I wear these silk rib tops and slips that have been washed and worn for many years, and are very loose and funky looking — not sexy or clingy. I hate wearing anything new. I can wear these all day long if I didn’t leave the house. If the FedEx guy shows up, there’s no panic because it looks like I’m wearing a Sloppy Joe, easy kind of dress, and I don’t have to change.
“But with a guy, I love sexy lingerie and gowns, especially at the beginning of a relationship. It’s fun to experiment with all of the tricks and gimmicks from tacky lingerie stores to Victoria’s Secret and Christian Dior. It’s fun to see where your guy is at.”
Angela Missoni: “I sleep in extra long, extra large Fruit of the Loom T-shirts — rigorously white. I started stealing my boyfriend’s, until I decided that they’re so comfortable and easy that I now have a collection of 15. That said, to make them sexier, I slit them down the front with a pair of scissors.”
Nicole Miller: “My four-year-old son, Palmer, loved it when I first wore a Tweety Bird-printed nightgown. Kids just love that kind of thing. I’m moving on, though, to prints of stiletto heels, sunglasses and perfume bottles. But to keep things spicier, Miller admits that she also wears “just about everything in silk. I believe its not a good thing to have your husband see you in sloppy pajamas. You still have to maintain an element of sexiness in your marriage.”
Chantal Thomass: “Vintage nightshirts from the Forties and Fifties. During the summer, I like light Indian silk Nehru shirts. I always wear pastel colors to bed. I wear black all the time during the day, but I wear color to bed. It goes better with my sheets.”
Alberta Ferretti: “Regardless of the season, I always wear a long satin nightgown that varies in color, but not in style. My favorite stores are Ars Rosa in Milan, Sabbia Rosa in Paris and Rigby & Peller in Knightsbridge, London.
“Underwear and sleepwear, especially the English styles from the 1900s, are a major inspiration for us,” said Ferretti. “I love the details, necklines and cuts that make a garment always modern and sensual, and I love to reinterpret the lightness, the fluidity and the construction of the sleepwear and lingerie of those days.”
Mary McFadden: “I’ve been wearing my pleated Grecian gowns ever since I can remember, at least 30 years. They actually are very couture-looking dresses.”
Anna Molinari of Blumarine: “Romantic and sexy — that’s how I go to bed. In the warm months, I wear silk slips with lace trimmings, and in winter, switch to silk pajamas with my initials on the pocket. I buy most of my sleepwear in Milan’s Via Montenapoleone called Ars Rosa. They are to die for.”
Josie Natori: “I love to sleep in white, gray or black slipgowns, long or short, in satin or a lightweight jersey. It depends on the season. Slipgowns make me feel like a woman. I hate wearing anything with sleeves to bed, it’s so old-fashioned. Once in a blue moon, I’ll wear pajamas just to hang around the house or if it’s freezing.”
Cynthia Steffe: “I’m just an old fuddy-duddy. And I’m practical. It’s a seasonal thing and a temperature thing. If I’m in the country, I’ll wear flannel or silk pajamas. When I travel, I like something a little sexier like a tissue silk slip. An easy oversized cotton T-shirt is great in the city. I like to sleep in my husband Rick’s T-shirt when he’s away because it smells like him.”
Diane Von Furstenberg: “I only wear a white kurta — a traditional Indian men’s tunic with white thread. I own hundreds of them and keep them in all of my homes to lounge around in and sleep in.”
Vivienne Tam: “Lately, I’ve been sleeping in embroidered Indian silks that have a crewneck and no shoulder seams. I buy them at shops on Spring Street. A lot of people wear them out. I like the sea greens, blues, pinks and reds. It makes me feel happy.”
Cynthia Rowley: “Remember that Anita Ekberg line in “La Dolce Vita” where she says she only sleeps in her perfume? Well, that’s what I do. But if I have guests or I’m staying at my parents, I’ll wear a man’s pajama top to bed.”
Kimora Lee Simmons of BabyPhat: “I wear a scrunchy in my hair and La Perla underwear.”
Irene Leroux of Eres: “Au naturelle, of course.

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