Asceno London: Silk Pyjamas & Sweet Dreams

Annabel Harrison

22 October 2018

Poppy Sexton-Wainwright, co-founder of one of the coolest sleep and swimwear brands around, tells us about globe-trotting (and sleeping) in seriously silky style

The louche loungewear label you can wear day or night, favoured by Kate Hudson and Cate Blanchett

22 October 2018 | Annabel Harrison

It might not be the done thing to judge a book by its cover but we think it’s fair enough to love an Instagram account at first sight. The world of Asceno London, as seen on social, is one where sandwashed silk pyjamas are worn as nonchalantly in the street as in the savannah. There’s just the right amount of skin on show, and the perfect play of light and shade. #wishwewerethere

Five years since founding the brand, best friends Poppy Sexton-Wainwright and Lauren Leask are still driven by “an insatiable desire to travel the world and the absolute necessity to look effortlessly cool while doing so”. Their silk pyjamas in particular combine a tomboy fluidity with top tailoring, using bold stripes, vibrant prints, and pops of colour, and they have appealed to everyone from Kate Hudson and Rita Ora to Lucy Williams and Cate Blanchett. Poppy tells us more.

Where does the name Asceno come from?
It is a combination of our mothers' maiden names. We founded the brand with the intention of creating a collection of wardrobe essentials for every woman. We are both incredibly close to our mothers so given that the brand was created for women we thought it was a natural extension to honour them. It is sort of an internal secret that we don't often mention outwardly, but it is meaningful to us.

How long have you known each other and how did you meet?
We have known each other for the past 10 years! We met at university, at a party, and became friends immediately. We were doing the same course, and lived together; this provided a great foundation for owning a business together as we speak more to each other than our own husbands.

Who is your ultimate ‘laidback 90s tomboy’?
Kate Moss. Without a doubt.

What is true luxury, to you?
Sophisticated and elegant but without trying too hard.

What’s your go-to ‘effortlessly cool’ outfit?
Trainers, straight leg jeans and a silk PJ top - of course.

Suitcase essentials?
A silk slip and silk PJ set, both of which can be worn day and night and dressed up or down. A bandeau bikini set because there had better be an occasion to wear it. Whatever book I am cranking through. At the moment it is This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay. I always carry an elaborate assortment of potions - oils, creams. At the moment I’m using Votary.

Favourite place in the world, and why?
Being away with family – wherever it might be - having holidayed in my childhood in Greece and Portugal, I’m always very happy to return.

What inspires you?
We are really inspired by the places we travel. We get so much of our creative inspiration from what we see in the world and going new places always opens your eyes in a different way and to new things.

What do you do in your downtime?
Seeing family, either in London or further afield. And walks in the countryside followed by curling up on a sofa is always nice.

Your dream ASCENO customer:
We have her. Any woman who understands the brand and loves it is already fulfilling our dreams.

The secret to a good night’s sleep:
Being tired! And silk pyjamas – just kidding.

What you do to leave the world in a better place: 
We believe it is important to be socially responsible and our manufacturing follows these requirements. We know how it important it is to be ecologically responsible and are in the process of making necessary changes to our business as well. It isn't being done as something that we will speak about externally but we think every business has a responsibility to be responsible in the way they do things.