What is a mermaid after all? The dictionary meaning would suggest the obvious. A mythical sea-creature with the head and trunk of a woman and the tail of a fish, conventionally depicted as beautiful and with long flowing golden hair. Yes, that’s the precise definition. Now picture this ‘mermaid’ phenomenon raiding the fashion world with myriad styled dresses and gowns. The cuts, shape and make reflect a ‘fishy’ story which is elegant, vibrant and graceful.
Admitting that it is more appropriate as evening wear, designer Rashi Kapoor states that “mermaid dresses are essentially formal outfits. The combination of the fitted bodice with the elaborate skirt, makes for an ideal formal, occasion wear”. Designer Amy Billimoria too seconds her opinion with the “it definitely is an evening silhouette” line.
In the accessories department, “dainty diamonds, statement solitaires, art deco and artistic metal would nicely match a mermaid wardrobe,” affirms Kapoor. “Mermaid-cut outfits should be accessorised by extremes. Bold accessories like headgears, neck-chokers and neck-cuffs are best admired with mermaid-oriented dresses,” she offers ahead. One could toy a lot with accessories depending on what neckline the outfit has, say the designers in unison. “A strapless dress with a necklace, otherwise dangling earrings would adequately suffice a sartorial choice in mermaid fashion,” assists designer Pooja Solanki of Intri Printifashion label.
To put your best foot forward, the fashion experts recommend high heels and stilettos as the greatest option to wear with mermaid outfits. “Footwear must be neat, delicate and very feminine. “Open-toed shoes and pointed stilettos in high heels best harmonise with these dramatic dresses,” Kapoor sums up.
For the hairdos, a messy bun, updos and side twirls would no doubt look awesome with mermaid kind of ‘charming dressing’.“Mermaid outfits are attractively bold and styled in exquisite ways. Different hairstyles from bouffant to messy hair, based on the styling and occasion should amp up the overall get-up. Yeah, the outfits are all about drama and the ornate hairstyles should add onto it,” notes Kapoor.
“Less is more” is the key dictum for mermaid fashion make-up, say a few exponents. “Go for a deep dark eye makeup and bright lip colours,” advises Billimoria. “Play up the eyes dramatically to work really well with mermaid cut outfits. However, it is improper to associate only a specific make-up or a hairdo with a particular outfit. The outfits may be dramatised or underplayed with respect to the wearer’s make-up, her personality, the occasion to wear them and her styling,” believes Kapoor.
Among celeb fashionistas, “Indian dames namely Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Urvashi Rautela are praised to carry off mermaid fashion with a lot of panache. Whereas international divas Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie and Beyonce Knowles are stealing the stares all the way,” acknowledges Solanki. If Deepika Padukone had successfully sported mermaid cut kurtas in her debut feature film, Om Shanti Om, then actors Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Shilpa Shetty have also embraced the vogue with enviable élan, insists Kapoor.
“Donatella Versace, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian are some of the globally-reputed style-empresses who have been there and done that on various events and red-carpet affairs,” she further stresses. Like most designers, Billimoria too puts her money on the desi damsel Deepika Padukone to lend justice to the mermaid magic! For the foreign connect, she states that “though there are many who love to brandish this look, yet my all-time personal favourite is the age-defying Meryl Streep”.
Presumably, mermaid fashion looks apt on all tall and leggy lasses. However, there’s no hard and fast norm to this general notion of having a “tall body-type with a great shape” as a must requisite to carry off this look.
Solanki debunks the myth: “Not necessarily. A person with short height may also opt for a mermaid collection in her closet. The only rider is to go for less volume in the hem. That’s it,” she lays an emphasis. “This cut actually enhances the body frame. It is how toned the figure is, that is of more importance than the height. Even petite frames on short height are made more prominent by mermaid cut dresses. Height though shall always have an added advantage,” fathoms Kapoor.
When quizzed if the make is heavy at the bottom as the material is stitched to form layers as in fish-scales and also subsequently determine its streamlining effect, to that, Solanki replies, “Mermaid gown is also referred to as fishtail gowns, for the purpose of mimicking the imaginative shape of a mermaid tail. Hence the tiers at the bottom make the gown tangibly thick and weighty.”
“The dress is skin-fit or close to skin fit till the thighs. To maintain this construction-balance, a couple of seams are added at the lower half for the touch of flare and simultaneously enable the silhouette assume the shape of a mermaid with her tail-fin,” volunteers Kapoor.
Fishtail skirts and fishnet socks are also much in demand, study the designers. “Skirts are an extension to the silhouette. However the fishnet socks are in sync with the sheer, transparency trend, which is yet another genre to explore,” points out Solanki. “Fishtail skirts are the less formal option of a mermaid dress, and can be worn by most, teamed with loose or close-fitted tops and blouses. However, unlike mermaid dresses, here the outfit may not be form-fitted at the bodice,” remarks Kapoor.
Billimoria declares that “sporting fish net socks is a matter of personal style”.