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Larry King has a new home goods collection called Sleep Like a King

Shawn King, left, and husband Larry King at a media preview of their new Sleep Like a King line at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Shawn King, left, and husband Larry King at a media preview of their new Sleep Like a King line at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

A recently launched line of home goods called Sleep Like a King certainly sounds like the setup to a joke: a range of bedding, towels, quilted robes, scented soaps and candles all inspired by the luxury hotel experiences of octogenarian Emmy-winning broadcaster and serial monogamist Larry King and his eighth wife, actress and singer Shawn Southwick King. But the punch line is that Sleep Like a King, which launched last month, manages to serve up an assortment of luxury-hotel linens at bed-and-breakfast prices.

A partnership between the Kings and Sobel Westex, a Las Vegas-based maker and distributor of bed linens that traditionally caters to the hotel business, the debut Summer 2016 Sleep Like a King collection includes 17 items ostensibly inspired by the couple’s jaunts around world and presented in collections named after some of those destinations (currently in the mix are Rome, London, Paris, Beverly Hills and Hollywood). There are 100% cotton bed linens offered in 400, 500 and 700 thread count options (sheet sets range in price from $49.99 to $169.99), super-thick bath towels that, at 30 by 57 inches, border on beach towel territory ($29.99), alpaca throws ($277.77, “Perfect for the yacht!” notes Shawn King), a pillow, robes for men and women and a range of candles, reed fragrance diffusers and soaps. (The sheets and fragrance diffusers, which are pre-order only, will be available by mid-June.)

Last week, the Kings held court in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Shawn walked visitors through the debut 2016 collection and Larry served as supportive husband and court jester, interjecting occasionally and posing for photographs. Below are a few excerpts from the conversation.

We notice there’s not just a lot of purple in the debut collection but it’s also all over your business cards -- and the cover of your product guide. Why?

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Shawn King: The color purple represents royalty. It’s the first color we picked when we were choosing our logo for that reason. And I think we’ll always have some purple in the line.

How did the line come about?

Shawn: There were two hotels in Las Vegas that Larry and I had stayed over the years – one was the Wynn and the other was the Four Seasons – and while we didn’t know it at the time, both of them had Sobel Westex sheets. The sheets at the Wynn were so comfortable I couldn’t not take [some] home with me so I remember going down to the home shop there and paying a fortune for them.

Speaking of prices, while $50 to $170 isn’t cheap for a set of bed sheets, it’s hardly luxury bedding prices either. Why that price point?

Shawn: I wanted to be able to bring some of the goodies I get to experience to everybody. That’s why we partnered with the people who actually make the sheets and the factories that make the soaps and we’re offering them [direct-to-consumer] without a middle-man so the mark-up is minimal.

Sleep Like a King's Rome bath terry set ($47.77) is reversible.
Sleep Like a King’s Rome bath terry set ($47.77) is reversible.
(Sleep Like a King )

What is hands-down your single favorite hotel to visit?

Shawn: The George V in Paris.

Larry: The Saint Regis San Francisco is incredible.

Larry, did you expect that launching a line of home goods would be a new chapter at this point in your career?

Larry: When I was a kid, I always dreamed I would have … bedding! No, I’m a broadcaster and I never thought [about something like] this -- but I do love the idea.

I get the impression from seeing the two of you interact that Shawn is the driving force behind Sleep Like a King and you’re just kind of along for the ride. Is that accurate?

Larry: She has me smelling the soaps and telling her which ones I like. My input is that I love the way the pillows and the towels and the sheets feel. But when it comes to design -- and everything else that goes into it -- this is her baby. … That’s the story of my life. I’m a world figure who at home is a slave.

OK, so which one hogs all the covers at night?

Shawn: He does. He gets all twisted up in them. [To Larry] You don’t know it but you twist and grab the sheets and they go with you.

Larry: Really? Nineteen years [of marriage] and this is the first I’ve heard that I commandeer the covers.

Soaps from the debut Summer 2016 Sleep Like a King collection.
Soaps from the debut Summer 2016 Sleep Like a King collection.
(Sleep Like a King )

If you could choose one celebrity to endorse Sleep Like a King, who would take the brand to the next level?

Shawn: I personally think Mr. Clooney would do a fine job …

Larry: George Clooney is the one guy, that if she came home tonight and said: “I’m leaving you, I’ve met someone and I’m in love” -- and said it was George Clooney -- I’d say: “What, are you crazy? Are you nuts? He’s ugly!”

Shawn: Well, let’s say George and [his wife] Amal. We’d put them both in [our sheets].

What’s next on the horizon for the brand?

Shawn: We’re going to be adding a hair towel and porcelain [fragrance] diffusers. And every year we’re going to include a new destination [in the collection]. So we’re going to be taking a trip soon – we can’t say where yet – but it’s going to be an exotic location and we’re going to be traveling around to see the culture and be inspired. And that will be included in the Fall 2017 collection.

Larry: I have absolutely no idea what [she’s] talking about. Are we going back to … Brooklyn? That’s exotic to me! Maybe it’s Coney Island?

With that, Larry King sat back and let a smile creep across his face. He was clearly cracking wise about the Coney Island inspiration, but stranger things have happened.

Like a lifestyle brand inspired by the luxury travels of that Emmy-winning broadcaster and his eighth wife.

The debut Summer 2016 Sleep Like a King collection is available exclusively online at www.sleeplikeaking.com.

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For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me @ARTschorn.


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