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Chopsticks and Sushi

[whitespace] Designer nightwear just right for a night off the town

By Jenny Shears

What makes the Cat's Pajamas so incredibly unique are the little luxurious extras that your old ratty nightshirt lacks. A pair of chopsticks, for example, comes with each pair of Cat's Pajamas, and what could be more elegantly delicious than an evening spent at home eating takeout sushi in your chinois-print PJs? Thanks to local designers Lynn Deregowki and Jenny Maxwell and their stylish new line of pajamas, nights spent in will never be the same.

"We always knew that we wanted to go into business together, we just weren't sure doing what," says Deregowki, who remembers when she and business partner Maxwell first came up with the idea of starting a clothing line that most people wouldn't want to wear out of the house. "None of our friends were at all surprised when we told them we were going to start making pajamas. We're really the jeans, T-shirt and pajama-top types ourselves."

Deregowki and Maxwell's very first PJs, a beautiful butterfly pattern in a standard men's style cut, premiered last spring. There was also the colorful Asian print with fortune cookies, fans and food in a classic Mandarin style. Over the holidays, there was the popular garden print with a seed packet tag, as well as the nightshirt line packaged in Chinese takeout containers. And for this spring Deregowki and Maxwell continue the Asian theme with two new additions, the sushi pajama and a beautiful Chinese watercolor cat print.

The industrious designer duo creates the patterns themselves, borrowing design ideas from other pajama and clothing styles. They carry out quality and comfort tests with a variety of different sized and shaped fitting models. "Most companies will have a fit model that is supposedly the perfect size. But with pajamas, they're very loose and we want them to fit a lot of different people so we don't have just one model. People have told us that's such a bad idea, that we have to have one fit model who stays the exact size to try it on. We have it tried on by 10 different people, maybe all who wear medium but who all have completely different body types and then we figure out what the problems are in the fit," Maxwell says.

The results are quality PJs that are comfortable and stylish. The sophistication filters down to detailing like ribbon trim, contrasting cuffs, dyed-to-match buttons and, of course, the chopsticks. Maxwell says, "Our thrust has always been in prints and accessories that are playful and fun, but also a little sophisticated in the design."

Cat's Pajamas are available at Asphalt, 551 Hayes St; Felice, Crocker Galleria; Girlfriends, 1824 Union St; and Wishbone, 601 Irving St. For more information call 415.333.5650 or visit www.fabric8.com/bazaar.

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From the March 1, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc.