Pramita Bose tell you how to rock the ‘mermaid’ dress, the latest trend that’s making news in the fashion world
Angelic fish without fins
Have you ever wished to be as pretty and graceful as ‘The Little Mermaid’ straight out of a fairytale book? Or marvelled at her beautiful bronze statue remarkably sculpted by artist Edvard Eriksen and displayed upon a rock by the waterside Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark? We bet you have and that too several times! Now you may wonder how you would look in the mirror if you slip into a mermaid dress. Yeah, you got it right. We are talking about mermaid fashion that’s ruling the roost at all evening galas and scintillating nights, right from star-studded pageants to high-profile parties.
Slim-fit in style
It is definitely an in-thing for formal form-fitting wear. Be it a long evening gown or a prom dress to boast about one’s curves, mermaid fashion spells out sleekness and femininity from every angle of the style. The streamlined gowns closely follow one’s figure to mid-thigh or calf area and then flare out voluminously at the bottom. Those with a penchant for refined taste and elegance, may certainly loosen their pursestrings to purchase an eclectic range of mermaid apparels varying from strapless evening gowns, halter top formal dresses to designer long evening outfits. The choice is absolutely theirs. But a good buy worth one’s wallet with 100 per cent quality is ensured in the bargain.
Outfits in demand
Designer Pooja Solanki of Intri Printi fashion brand comments that “gowns are at an ultimate acceptance value in the Indian market right now. Women are happy to show off their curves which gave rise to fitted silhouettes like the mermaid fit”. That’s why she thinks mermaid dresses and gowns are so much in fashion. Designer Amy Billimoria explains that “mermaid dresses and gowns accentuate the body contours in a slick manner to exude oomph and create a glamorous look on the whole”. And hence, its demand sees a steep rise.
Designer Rashi Kapoor decodes the construction of the outfit in detail. “Mermaid dresses are a piece of clothing fitted at the bodice, hip and the thighs, while the skirt is designed to resemble a mermaid’s tapering tail in the silhouette. The construction is partial to well-toned feminine bodies. And because of this reason, the Gen X and Y find a strong affinity with the mermaid cuts since they are very much health and body conscious and have figures that they are proud to flaunt, which mermaid fashion compliments to the tee,” she elaborates.
Incidentally, mermaid fashion can be traced down back in history, chorus the couturiers. “The silhouette became more popular in the 1950s when celebrities favoured this look. For example, late Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn’s makeover in My Fair Lady was much talked about in the 1960s and was modeled along similar lines of mermaid attire, its cuts and shapes,” informs Solanki. Kapoor refers to Cleopatra, the last active ruler and perhaps the best known pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, was thought to have worn a lot of mermaid dresses with elaborate hairdos, headgear and chunky jewellery. Billimoria too nods that mermaid dresses are a throwback at the “romantic era when flounce, lace, body-fit and flare dressing was very in”.
Also Read: Happy ‘furry’ feet!
Essentially an evening wear, a mermaid gown is basically ballroom, theme party, beauty contest and red-carpet friendly. “Mermaid dresses are much elaborately and dramatically fashioned below the knees, yet they are body-sticking till the thighs. The polarity of the form-tight bodice gripping the waist, hips and the thighs with a roomy skirt in the end, makes mermaid dresses and gowns visibly red-carpet appropriate. However, these are also widely worn at weddings, including the Indian marriages as well as at cocktails with a flourish that punctuates a definite fashion statement,” elucidates Kapoor. “Mermaid cuts add a dash of glamorous allure to the entire ensemble and perfectly emerge as pageant-compatible silhouettes,” shares Billimoria.
Interestingly, mermaid cuts and designs can also be paired up or combined with another clothing item. Short capes for an updated look for instance, cites Solanki. While in the age of mix-n-match, this is obviously usual, Kapoor nevertheless begs to differ from her side. She argues that “mermaid cuts are statement outfits, which are extremely bold and singular. In my estimation, these are best worn without being attached to an extra clothing item. If at all, they are best teamed up with fur throws”. “Mermaid skirts and lehengas are gorgeously flattering when donned as wedding ensembles,” sanctions Billimoria.
Other than gowns and dresses, the quintessential sari can alternatively be draped in mermaid style and worn with mermaid cut petticoats. “Bollywood superstar Mumtaz in the ’70s was legendary for wearing one. The retro fashion does highlight a lot of mermaid styled saris in vibrant palette,” reminds Kapoor. “Lehengas, stitched to imitate the mermaids, are tight at the knees and open up in full bloom from the calves in the form of a fishtail. These lehengas are tauter at the hips and the waists and hence, worn with a proper bodysuit beneath to lend a modern twist to that traditional wedding lehenga,” further shares the draper. “See, trends change with time and so has mermaid fashion. The hemline is lifted and the flare is reduced to convert it into a more practical dress for daywear,” observes Solanki.
Fabrics like tulle and taffeta have been most popular to suit mermaid-styled outfits. “Layers and layers of these are sewn to create that desired effect,” suggests Solanki. Kapoor feels, “mermaid outfits are best constructed with embroidered or textured or embellished tulle and chiffon. Alternatively, silk and duchess may also be used to make these outfits. The outfits should necessarily be made in a material that’s soft and supple plus frames the body well”. Billimoria approves of “tulles, brocades and stretch-satins to drape well on mermaid silhouettes”.
As the fashion chiefly conforms to an evening wear line, so “the outfits are made in predictable formal colour palettes ranging from pastel to bold solid shades. Jewel tones, enhanced and embellished tinges also form an array of dramatic colour options,” endorses Kapoor. For Billimoria, “any shade-card looks good on mermaid dresses. Even the bling factor helps add more vigour and sex-appeal to the costumes. Hence, you could also experiment with the hues of glinting gold and polished copper if it pleases you.”