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Tracing a trend: Mermaidcore

By Jayne Mountford


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Credits: Versace, David Koma, Valentino/Launchmetrics Spotlight/Courtesy/Bronx and Banco

Mermaids in history and on film and TV

Credits: The Little Mermaid/Courtesy Robert Fisk, Pexels

Myths about creatures from the sea that are half-human half-fish date back centuries. In 1837, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, ‘The Little Mermaid’ was published. The story was so popular that the Danish government commissioned a bronze statue of the mermaid to be built in Copenhagen in 1909.

The movie ‘Splash,’ released in 1984, and starring Darryl Hannah, the story of a mermaid and a man who fall in love, has become one of the most beloved Hollywood movies of the late twentieth century. In the coastal town of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, the Mermaid Parade of 2023 celebrates 40 years of people dressing up as sea creatures. Some people are even professional mermaids and mermen as evidenced in a documentary currently showing on Netflix called ‘Merpeople.’

The impact of Disney’s 2023 movie, ‘The Little Mermaid’

As predicted by e-comm retailer, Asos, and reported on by FashionUnited, the Disney movie,'The Little Mermaid’ is currently having a major influence on fashion, especially for 20-to-30 year-olds. According to Teen Vogue, “Once just a niche subculture of style, ‘mermaidcore’ is all about emulating the mythical sea creatures”

#mermaidcore - the statistics speak for themselves

There has been a 736 percent spike in recent Google searches for ‘mermaid style,’ and Pinterest search data has seen a 614 percent uptick in searches for ‘mermaidcore.’ On TikTok, #mermaidcore has amassed over 333 million views.

Mermaidcore at retail

According to Mashable.com, along with tutorials on how to dress and hairstyle ideas, “jewel-toned fabrics and crochet skirts dominate beach attire; pearl earrings and sequined blouses — reminiscent of fish scales — top it off. Eyes are coated with glimmering shades of blue; billowing skirts are adorned with seashell-strung jewelry.”

On the runways

Post-pandemic, many runway designers have delved into the aesthetic, arguably starting in the ss21 season when Donatella Versace showed dresses printed with seashells and starfish. Talking about the inspiration behind his ss23 collection, David Koma said, “I then had a vision of an underwater world with colorful sea creatures illuminating the darkness.” Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière held his resort 24 collection on a tiny island in Italy. Inspired by the surrounding lakes, he mixed neoprene tank suits with lavish courtly robes, and paired mermaid-scale sequin skirts with naval jackets. The baroque headgear was custom-made for the show by an atelier in Rome that works for the opera and movies. Mermaidcore includes a range of styles, fabrics and colors. Here are eight designers who made an impact.

Versace ss21

Credits: Versace ss21/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 36: A green, blue and orange tank top embellished with starfish and a matching mini skirt.

Credits: Versace ss21/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 66: a ‘shell-like’ bra top in satin and sequins with a flounce mini skirt with a shell and starfish print.

Alberta Ferretti ss22

Credits: Alberta Ferretti ss22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 48: a sleeveless full-length gown of jade, turquoise, sapphire and amethyst shimmering palettes.

Credits: Alberta Ferretti ss22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

look 50: a blouse and mini skirted version rendered in the same fabrics and colors with white pointed toe pumps.

Joseph Altuzarra fw22

Credits: Altuzarra fw22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 43: a long-sleeved gown with a deep vee neck in various sizes of copper and gold paillettes.

Credits: Altuzarra fw22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 44: a floor-length halter-neck dress in small and large gold paillettes with an additional overlay across the chest.

David Koma ss23

Credits: David Koma ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 6: full legged low-slung denim jeans with a necklace of gold and silver coated shells on a gold chain.

Credits: David Koma ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 10: a head to toe look in Yves Klein blue with a sporty zip-front top contrasted to a sequined skirt with a marabou feather fishtail hem.

Credits: David Koma ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 26: A one-shouldered mock-turtle neck long-sleeved tunic in a multi-colored tie dye print. Silver shells trimmed the shoulder. Accessories included iridescent metallic thigh-high boots in a mock croc pressed leather.

Valentino Haute Couture ss23 - designer Pierpaolo Piccioli

Credits: Valentino HC ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 65 was a short fitted mini dress covered in oversized green and blue metallic paillettes, accessorized with opera length green leather gloves and white satin pumps.

Bronx and Banco fw23 - designer: Natalie DeBanco

Credits: Courtesy/ Bronx and Banco fw23

Look 10: a one-shouldered, asymmetric fishnet dress with rhinestone embellishment and matching headdress.

Credits: Courtesy/ Bronx and Banco fw23

Look 14: a halterneck dress in diamond-shaped fishnet and a long fringe at the bust.

Diesel resort 24 – designer: Glenn Martens

Credits: Diesel Resort 24/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Look 5: A strappy bustier in denim with a pink and turquoise iridescent treatment on the surface with a midi-skirt in a similarly treated gold denim.

Louis Vuitton Resort 24 – designer: Nicolas Ghesquière

Credits: Courtesy/Louis Vuitton resort 24

Look 4: a multi-colored neoprene jacket with an ocean themed print and a black flounce neoprene mini skirt.

Credits: Courtesy/Louis Vuitton resort 24

Look 16: a stingray leather jacket with ‘anchor’ buttons and a below the knee skirt of blue, silver and grey paillettes. Accessories included an intricate headdress, custom sneakers and a handheld duffle bag.

Credits: Courtesy/Louis Vuitton resort 24

Look 17: a cream-colored fitted jacket and a below the knee length skirt in grey and silver paillettes. Accessories included a feathered headdress and custom sneakers.

tracing a trend