Fans of Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix blockbuster series Bridgerton rejoice! You may not be getting a star turn from Regé-Jean Page for season two, but now you can live out your Regency-era fantasy, care of the latest collection of Nap Dresses from Hill House Home, which dropped today.
In a three-way collaboration, Hill House Home has partnered with Netflix and the female-driven creative agency Phenomenal to release a line of three dresses and two hair pins that are inspired by the gorgeous aesthetics of Bridgerton. Two of the dresses feature custom prints created by Diane Hill, a Black London-based artist who specializes in chinoiserie, a style that was popular in the Regency era in which Bridgerton is set. The drop is designed to highlight women’s empowerment by bringing together female-founded brands and female artists.
The idea for the partnership first came to Meena Harris, the founder of Phenomenal. She launched Phenomenal in 2016, wanting to create a platform to empower women in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election: Her first product was a T-shirt inscribed with the words “Phenomenal Woman” from Maya Angelou’s poem, which she sold to raise money for women’s organizations. But over the last five years, she’s created something of a social justice empire, launching campaigns and products to draw attention to everything from police violence to supporting farm workers during the pandemic. “We now think of ourselves as a creative agency that highlights women and focuses on social justice,” Harris says.
Like much of the world, Harris fell in love with Bridgerton, not just because it was irresistibly binge-worthy. “It’s so impressive on so many levels,” she says. “It’s entertaining, but it’s also the work of an incredible Black woman and dares to wrestle with complex issues of race, sexuality, and gender.” Phenomenal partnered with Netflix to release a line of Bridgerton-themed sweatshirts, emblazoned with quotes from the show, which has been one of the brand’s most successful collaborations to date.
As Harris thought about the second season, she thought the Nap Dress, which Hill House Home launched in 2019, would be the perfect collaboration. Harris was a personal fan of the dress, which has become viral product during the pandemic. “It’s makes you look chic and put-together during Zoom calls, but it’s as comfortable as sweats,” she says. “We’ve all gone through so much during the pandemic, and this dress has given so many of us a little bit of joy.”
As its name suggests, the nap dress is designed to be comfortable enough to take a nap in, but it also has a silhouette that is reminiscent of the Regency outfits in Bridgerton: It has an empire-waist, flutter sleeves and comes in an array of colorful patterns. In February 2021, Harris reached out to Hill House Home founder Nell Diamond, whom she knew through mutual friends, and suggested a collaboration. Diamond said yes instantly. “We have never done a collaboration before, even though we often get inbound requests,” she says. “But as a founder, I believe in trusting my instincts, because if something resonates with me, it will resonate with my customers as well. And this collaboration just made sense.”
Diamond got to work developing the custom print with Hill. The two short-sleeve dresses feature Hill’s prints, one in pink and the other in purple. There’s a third dress, with puffed sleeves that features a new print developed in-house by the Hill House Home team, and is called the Whistledown Trellis. Each of these dresses is part of a limited edition and costs $125, like the other Nap Dresses that the brand makes. And this collection is only available on the Phenomenal website. “We invest a lot of time and effort in developing each of the dresses, making sure the prints are just right,” says Diamond. “We like to think of each dress as a wearable piece of art.”
I had a chance to get an early look at the pink Nap Dress. Up close, you can see Hill’s delicate drawings of flowers and and butterflies that do indeed, make you feel like you are clothing yourself in artwork. But the dress is as comfy as ever, with its elasticated smocking at the bust and its loose, tiered skirt full of ruffles. So in addition to taking you from your midday snooze directly into your video conference, you can spend your days channeling your inner Bridgerton character.
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