Earlier in the year I flew Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Vancouver. Â One of the (many) little perks of flying in First Class with Cathay was a lovely pair of pajamas. Â Waiting on my seat for me was a pair designed by leading Hong Kong fashion house Shanghai Tang.
I had been waiting for years to get my hands on a pair of these and was totally over the moon to have them. Â I was also sad knowing that Cathay was going to change over to a new provider. Â I commented in my review that I was disappointed in the change, so the new provider decided to send me a pair of their pajamas to show that all was not lost.
Letâ€™s first Â look at the old pajamas, before we talk about the new.
Shanghai TangÂ started back in 1994 by David Tang, a Hong Kong businessman looking at rejuvenating Chinese fashion by bringing back the styles of the 1920s and 30s. Â The company has expanded immensely from its Hong Kong beginnings, now with 44 stores in all corners of the globe.
I have been a fan of their shirts for a number of years after picking one up cheaply while on my first trip to Hong Kong. Â Since then, I have wanted to try them out. Â While in Hong Kong earlier this year, I even tried to see if they sold them in one of the Kowloon stores and was sorely disappointed to find out they were made exclusively for Cathay.
They are 100% cotton and come in a variety of colors. Â Though they feel a little bit heavy, they are extremely comfortable and very durable. Â The style is authentic to the region; the Chinese-style buttons and the neckline point to the designer’s goals.
They come with a pair of slippers and an eye mask. I have to say that the slippers were the weakest part of the set since they were a bit flimsy. Â Overall, they are a great set of pajamas and I enjoyed them so much, I still wear them at home today.
On July 27th, Cathay Pacific started the transition from Shanghai Tang to their new pajama designer. Â PYE, also a fashion house from Hong Kong, started back in 1984 but their predominant business has always been tailored dress shirts.
Known for their use of a specific type of Chinese cotton (Extra Long Staple cotton from the Xinjiang region), this was their first delve into the world of airline amenities and became known as the â€œPye in the Skyâ€ project. Â I was sent a pair of the pajamas for review along with some information from Pye about the new â€œSleep Suitâ€ (as they call it). Â Their description:
PYE approached the design of the sleep suit with the goal of creating a garment that wouldÂ enrich the flying experience through its unparalleled style, comfort, and quality. The sleepÂ top features a double-sided collar based on the Zhongshan Zhuang, the mandarin collar suitÂ popularized by Sun Yat-Sen. The sleep top can be worn either up in the Chinese mandarinÂ collar fashion, or down in a classic Western pyjama style â€“ an east-meets-west twist.
Made in a 100% organic cotton, the sleep suit comes in a range of contemporaryÂ combinations in both solid colours and heathers that change with the season, forming partsÂ of a collectible set comprised of six variations a year. Contrasting trims along the innerÂ collar, the cuffs, and the pant pockets add a refined touch to the garment, and a singleÂ button sewn with a bright red thread is the subtle signature for this special co-brandedÂ garment.
I was skeptical when I received the offer for these – how could anything replace the Shanghai Tangs? Â I was wrong, so very wrong — Â The description does not do the pajamas justice at all.
The fabric is light yet durable, soft and strong at the same time. Â They do not feel like any other pajamas that I’ve worn. From that first night’s sleep (in my own bed mind you), I was in love.
The color was subtle and the detail was remarkable, even down to the Cathay Pacific logos around the rim of the top button. Â The pajamas came with a pair of slippers and eye mask (as you would expect). I was shocked at how comfortable the slipper were (so much so, Iâ€™m wearing them right now as I write this).
To top it all off, most airline pajamas come with a bag that screams â€œairline amenityâ€, meant to look pretty at first opening but not really be all that useful after that. Â Pye fixed that issue as the carry bag could be used after the fact to continue holding your PJs or could be used as a real bag, it is that versatile.
At the time of posting, Cathay Pacific has fully rolled out the new offerings by PYE. Â These were the best first class pajamas I have ever worn, so even though my Shanghai Tang PJs will hold a special place for me, I can say that Cathay First Class fliers in the future are in good hands.
For those of you who have tried airline pajamas; which have been your most and least favorite?