Mermaids, sirens and the fashion imagination

“We are all aware of the importance of hydration, but fashion has been drowning in its own aquaphilia as of late. Peruse through SSENSE or Farfetch and you’ll see the sea everywhere: Sea-shell bras from Blumarine and Dsquared2, fishing-net-inspired knits from Marnistarfish earrings from David Koma and Loewe’s conch dress —marine motifs are no longer limited to the confines of the “vacation shop.” Even sweatpants have tails nowadays.

If you’re thinking, “The ocean? For summer? Groundbreaking,” I wouldn’t blame you, but we’ll be riding this wave well into the fall. On the fall/winter 2023 runways, Givenchy gave us a fish print with windswept chiffon and Balmain served up a crocheted, shell-inspired top. Coral somehow made it onto outerwear at Bottega Veneta, and gowns with scale-like iridescence shined at Rick Owens and Gucci. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to link the release of The Little Mermaid to #mermaidcore, but the viral look paints an incomplete portrait of a larger seascape of style that has more complex themes swirling beneath its surface. Mermaids are just one of many characters that play a role in a trend best described as “shipwreck chic.”

Click here to read the next essay in my ON TRENDS series for W.