The Mermaid Aesthetic Ruling This Summer (And Next)

This summer, Bloomingdale’s ready-to-wear fashion director, Arielle Siboni, noticed a recurrent theme as she bounced from resort 2023 market appointment to resort 2023 market appointment. All the clothes she wanted to own most looked like the dress code for a party under the sea. So she began putting her favourite pieces—a floor-length gown here, a shell-adorned top there—on her Instagram Stories and tagging them “mermaidcore.”

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The Mermaid Aesthetic Ruling This Summer (And Next)
A look from Versace Spring/Summer 2021. Photo: Getty

“I feel like we’re always looking for a new resort trend, especially since everyone is going on vacation again, and Instagram is a huge part of that,” Siboni tells Mermaidcore is the maritime resort trend that’s “taken on a life of its own,” she says.

The mermaidcore spectrum ranges from lightly nautical to full-on Aquamarine, depending on the designer. Siboni’s checklist for the aesthetic includes all-day pearl jewelry pieces and crochet separates, plus more evening-oriented column dresses decked in sequins. And because designers can’t resist a literal interpretation, fishtail dresses are also in the mix. Translated into Internet speak, “It’s almost the opposite of coastal grandma, which is more relaxed and linen based,” Siboni says.

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The first glimpse of what would become mermaidcore, according to Siboni, emerged in Versace’s spring/summer 2021 collection, where models walked the runway in dresses printed with seashells and starfish. Fast-forward to 2022, and resort collections for the upcoming year are covered in scale-like paillettes or drenched in shades like “sea glass” and “ocean.” Emerging designers are just as likely to have a spin as runway regulars; Siedrés, BAHÍA MARÍA, and Baobab are a few of Siboni’s favourites.

“There’s a million different ways to interpret this trend,” Siboni says, “which is what makes it so versatile.” (Make that 11 million, for the number of TikTok videos with a mermaidcore hashtag.) Before the latest interpretations arrive for resort 2023, a mermaidcore sampler is already on the market. Shop five far-ranging pillars of the mermaid aesthetic below—to wear for the end of summer or save until the next.

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The Mermaid Aesthetic Ruling This Summer (And Next)
A look from New Arrivals Resort 2023. Photo: Courtesy

Into the Blue

The days dominated by eye-watering hot pink are numbered. “Sunset colours have been really popular, but people have had enough of that—now they’re migrating toward blues again,” Siboni says. She’s anticipating a wave of aquas, ceruleans, and cobalts for next resort season; designers including Self-Portrait and Galvan are already experimenting with that slice of the colour wheel.

Sea of Sequins

The most recognisably “mermaid” aspect is also the most party appropriate. Evoking sirens in fishtail gowns and all-over sequins isn’t new to the runway—just glance back at Altuzarra’s fall 2022 collection, where Gigi Hadid glided down the runway in a gold column gown coated in scaly paillettes. But all-over sequins are set to continue throughout this fall and into next year with emerging brands like Siedrés and New Arrivals at the helm, Siboni tells us. (Almost all of New Arrivals’ resort 2023 collection is adorned in some form of disco-meets-deep sea embellishment.) And if you can’t swing for the boldest paillette minis, a coating of smaller sequins can also achieve that glistening effect.

Shore Things

Shells, sea glass, pearls: They’re still prevalent in accessories like box bags and jewelry, but pieces made from or inspired by materials washed ashore are also migrating to ready-to-wear. One of Siboni’s absolute favourite interpretations comes from emerging label BAHÍA MARÍA. “They have a very literal shell top—I think it’s fun to take this literally sometimes, when you’re going on vacation,” she says.

Haute Halters

Not everyone wants to go full Ariel with a shell top. So Siboni recommends halter tops and dresses for a subtler nod to all things mermaid. They’re inherently fit for the season and lean into the broader aesthetic in greens, blues, and iridescent fabrics.

Crochet All Day

Crochet’s resurgence isn’t going anywhere in 2023. Instead, Siboni tells us, designers are building on the handwork movement’s momentum with crochet matching sets and accessories to carry us through next year’s vacations. In upcoming collections, the vibe is more nautical than bohemian with fishnet knots and seaside-inspired colours; dip your toe into the look already with the pieces above.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.