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Lingerie Review: Boudoir by Catherine D'Lish Cassandra Dressing Gown

Disclosure: This item was purchased for me to review by The Lingerie Addict. All opinions are my own.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

If you don’t, you’re wrong. It absolutely exists. I know because it happened to me the first time I saw one of these feather-covered, sheer dressing gowns by Boudoir by D'Lish. Sigh.

The designer behind these robes, Catherine D’Lish, is somewhat of a jane-of-all-trades in the burlesque world as both an incredible performer and fantastic costume-maker. She frequently performs alongside Dita Von Teese, with both performers wearing costumes she’s made.

In the past, TLA reviewed her loungewear line although I think I first came across her lush dressing gowns when we featured her eBay store in 2014. How can you look at those photos and not fall in love?

To be honest, these gowns are entirely frivolous garments. You can’t wash dishes in them because the sleeves are covered in feathers. You can’t answer the door in them because they’re completely sheer. They’re massive, luxurious, and totally impractical. In other words, they’re everything a lingerie lover’s dreams are made of!

I assumed I wouldn’t have one until I got married or became a Real Adult with Money or something. After all, they’re opulent enough to be wedding dresses, and one gown wouldn’t have even fit through the door of my first bedroom in NYC. But when Cora asked me what I wanted to review this year…well, I knew what my top request would be.

Above, the original meme that propelled this robe out of the burlesque and lingerie worlds and into the hearts of millions of Twitter users. The internet is weird, man.

And not just for my sake, either. After the above meme, featuring Catherine D’Lish’s Dressing Gowns, went viral, there seemed to be two main reactions to the price of these pieces.

First, at $400, why is this gown so expensive? And second, at $400, why is this gown so cheap?

With all that in mind, this review serves to answer the two biggest questions I’ve heard about this robe.

Why is This Gown So Expensive?

Catherine D’Lish’s Marabou Cassandra Dressing Gowns come in three price ranges: Regular ($299 to $399), Deluxe ($100 more) and Extra Deluxe ($200 more). The three styles are identical except for the amount of feathers sewn around the hem and sleeves. Based on photos and the construction of my gown, I assume the Regular Cassandra has two rows of marabou feathers, the Deluxe has four and the Extra Deluxe has six.

The web store has some price discrepancies between colors. When I placed my order for this gown, the Deluxe pink version was listed as the same price as the Regular version, so naturally, I snagged the Deluxe. Why would I not want extra fluff?

(To be honest, I had some trouble deciding between the four shades of pink. In the end, I decided to go with the iconic, classic pink. Because if I’m going to own something that looks like it belongs in Barbie’s dream house, I figured I should go all the way.)

A few days after I placed my order, Catherine herself emailed me to confirm my color choice and get a few measurements: my bust, my height, and, most importantly, whether or not I wanted a train. My answer was yes. Yes, I do absolutely want a train on the most ridiculously frivolous item of clothing I've ever owned.  If you want something a little more practical, foregoing the train might be a prudent decision.

The gown arrived about 5 weeks later. It was nicely folded and tightly packed into a cardboard box that practically exploded with candy pink fluff as soon as I started opening it!

Boudoir by D'Lish Cassandra Dressing Gown in pink; bodysuit by Trashy Lingerie. Photo by Michi Rein

This thing is just as lush, or maybe even more lush, than it looks in photos. It comes with a long, notched, satin tie for your waist, which seems almost useless against the beautiful bounty of fabric.

There are so many yards of feathers and mesh that it’s hard to tell what’s up, what’s down, what's inside-out, and how many times the sleeves are twisted around your wrists (which is bound to happen with the amount of fabric used here). Putting it on is a process in itself - one that will have tiny marabou feathers scattered across your floor.

Surprisingly, shedding is not much of an issue. I find one or two tiny feathers every time I wear it, which is pretty impressive for a robe with this much marabou. 

Photo by Michi Rezin

The weight of the feathers is what lends that beautiful draping to the sleeves and hem of this robe. The back and front of the robe are gathered for fullness at the shoulder seams, with even more yards of English mesh gathered around the hem.

The sleeve cuffs are also made of massive amounts of gathered mesh forming an incredible bell around your wrists (or, to be more accurate, around the general vicinity of your wrists). Add thick rows of feathers to those gathers and waves of fluff naturally ripple around you.

Photo by Michi Rein

The dichotomy between the thick feathers and soft mesh worried me, however. Would the feathers pull on the mesh, causing it to stretch out? Would the shoulder seams pop after a few wears?

I was so pleased to find the mesh is weightier than I anticipated. The feathers are heavier than the fabric, but it’s sturdy enough not to stretch when it’s worn. When the robe is hanging in my closet, I do keep it inside a short garment bag just in case, so most of the weight sits on the bottom of the bag instead of pulling on the shoulders.

There’s very little chance of any seams popping, either. Everything is sewn with French seams, which not only look nice and clean, but are extra strong.

Wearing this gown made it easy to understand why it costs so much, but as I floated around my room in a sea of pink marabou, I couldn’t help but wonder…

Photo by Michi Rezin

Why is This Gown So Cheap?

Well, first, Catherine D'Lish's Dressing Gowns are a fairly simple design. The sleeves aren’t set-in sleeves, but rather large rectangles with a gathered cuff attached. The seam across the shoulders and back is straight, with no neck curves. So although the materials are ample, the construction, in general, is fairly simple, which cuts down on sewing time significantly.

Then there’s the sewing itself. The seams are sturdy and clean, but vary in width by a few millimeters in some areas. The yards of feathers are sewn on slightly irregularly, which is only noticeable from the back, and only under an incredibly scrutinizing eye, because the feathers roll under slightly and cover up the stitching regardless.

Basically, this gown is so inexpensive because this is not a couture-level garment.

Detail of the slightly-irregular feather stitching along the underside of the sleeve. Photo by Quinne Myers

This isn't a poor quality garment by any means. The stitching would be impeccable to most lingerie-wearers without training in apparel construction.

Even as someone who does have training and is pretty particular about her clothing, I have no problems with the construction of this piece at this price point. The sewing is invisible for the most part, and sewing feathers to stretchy mesh is hard.

Detail of an enclosed French seam on the Cassandra gown. Photo by Quinne Myers

If this was a couture-level gown, the sewing would be impossibly impeccable - to a point where most people, in today’s fast-fashion focused society, wouldn’t notice or care. It would also be entirely unaffordable.

No, $400 for a robe isn’t typically in the “affordable” category by any means. However, for a custom-sized, made-to-order, floor-sweeping garment, with yards and yards of marabou feathers, giving you the effortless, over-the-top drama of a Harlequin romance novel cover? Anyone in the apparel industry would tell you that’s pretty damn cheap.

Photo by Michi Rezin

Is Catherine D’Lish Pricing Her Work Appropriately?

That’s a hard question for me to answer. From a purely artistic point-of-view, and given her status in the burlesque world, I think this robe is undervalued. The Cassandra Dressing Gown is the type of garment high-end apparel labels would price in the four figures, and this will definitely be considered an iconic garment from today’s lingerie era.

From a cultural point-of-view, in a society where most people typically only spend hundreds on practical garments (like a nice leather jacket) or special occasion garments (like a wedding gown), and not on garments that will only live inside your boudoir (like a sheer feathery robe with a train), her work is priced to sell.

What do you think of Catherine D'Lish's Dressing Gowns? Do you own one? Would you wear one?

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Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.

11 Comments on this post

  1. Chantal Mallett says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the detail images you posted are being shown on a makers forum by someone wanting to copy the design for themselves. Might be wise to consider delete the close ups?

    • Cora says:

      Hi Chantal,

      Can you share a link?


    • Quinne says:

      These construction methods aren’t proprietary to the designer– and honestly, if you sew, they should be obvious even without the detail photos. (That means, if someone needs my detail photos to knock off these gowns, they’re not very knowledgeable in garment construction and their end product probably won’t look too great anyway!)

  2. Hottie says:

    I just received the Valentina gown for my birthday and I love it! I agree that the pattern is simple enough and the sewing uncomplicated enough to make it somewhat affordable. Catherine is also a genius and making curvy bodies look amazing.

  3. Naomi says:

    Oh how I want this gown! I actually bought a floor-length (with train!) wool dressing gown to be used indoors only (it gets super cold in the winter) & a sheer swing gown for the summer, only a week or two before I first saw Cathrine’s site, which was the only reason I didn’t impulse buy one of her gowns on the spot. As you said, they’re impractical but I JUST WANT IT – which I guess is what luxury is all about:)
    You look FABULOUS in yours – Enjoy it for us all!

    • MDB says:

      Where did you find a woolen floor length dressing gown with train ? My wife has been after one like that for ages.

  4. Tina StOnge Barkalow says:

    New life goal…!!!

  5. Ashley P says:

    I have a Cassandra and a Rita that I love dearly from Catherine. For me, focusing the “couture” aspects on the design and materials to keep the price point down struck the balance that makes these items accessible for me.

  6. Maggie says:

    It’s a stunning piece. I agree, I would in no way be put off by the slight (and basically invisible) irregularities here.
    Pricing is a very relative thing especially in this category.
    I would love to own this!

  7. Catherine Clavering says:

    I have one she was ebaying a few years back – it’s a giant floof and lives in the spare room for special events and people coming round to worship it :D
    It has no feathers and I think is made from a different mesh. I love it.

  8. Beautiful photos, I love the matching bouquet and flower crown :)

    I’ve always thought D’Lish’s robes were underpriced for what they are and would easily cost double (if not more) if a brand like Agent Provocateur were to create something similar. But it’s interesting to read about the construction in detail and see why she’s able to price them that ‘low’. I’m totally not put off buying one (one day, one day… it’s on my bucket list) because when it looks as swooshy and dramatic and amazing as this, who cares if the stitching on the inside is a tiny bit wonky? Not me!

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