Move over Barbie, Ariel is now fashion's favourite inspiration


The latest fashion show of Ludovic De Saint Sernin, for the Spring/Summer 2023 season, is directly inspired by the wardrobe of the legendary Disney character. Photo: Instagram/Ludovic De Saint Sernin

Who would have thought it? After Barbie, now it's the turn of Ariel – aka "The Little Mermaid" – to step into the limelight as the ultimate fashion icon.

From the runway to social networks and red carpets, everyone is clamouring for her cult looks, or taking inspiration from them.

So, get your seashells and fishnets ready, as aquatic references are where it's at!

Disney's cult film, The Little Mermaid is itself based on a 19th century tale by Hans Christian Andersen. So far, so unexceptional, except, perhaps, that more than 180 years later, suddenly everyone seems to be all over the essential outfits of the world's most famous mermaid.

This may sound strange, considering that the tail of these mythical marine creatures is not particularly practical for city life, yet mermaidcore is indeed the fashion trend of the moment.

And it's expected to grow with the release of the live-action adaptation of the Disney film in May 2023.

Read more: What will you be wearing this year? Top 10 predicted fashion trends of 2023

Ocean inspiration

Since life on land is a little different from life underwater – and we're not mermaids in the making – this fashion trend translates primarily into a multitude of aquatic references.

Mermaid-like silhouettes are also seen on the runway. Photo: BlumarineMermaid-like silhouettes are also seen on the runway. Photo: BlumarineAs a result, shells – in patterns or embroidered – are high on the agenda, whether on clothing, jewellery or accessories.

The famous fishnet material should make a resounding return in the coming weeks, as well as sequins and glitter, while ocean-inspired colours like blue will be the shades of choice.

On social networks, and especially on TikTok, the mermaidcore trend is already gaining a crowd of followers worldwide. The hashtag has been seen no less than 22 million times on the Chinese social media site, while its variation #mermaidcoreaesthetic has more than a million views.

So what does it involve? In a nutshell, pretty much every aspect of Ariel's attire, from her hairstyles to her legendary outfits and her magical beauty looks.

From Ludovic De Saint Sernin to Dua Lipa

Social network users aren't the only ones to have adopted the mermaidcore trend, which is also gaining sway among designers and celebrities.

This was seen in the latest fashion show of Ludovic De Saint Sernin, for the Spring/Summer 2023 season, directly inspired by the wardrobe of the legendary Disney character, in a sensual, if not to say ultra-sexy version.

But that's not all. Here and there, a host of aquatic references were seen on the runways, from bras shaped like shells (can you get more kitsch?) to iridescent colours and long mermaid-like fishtail gowns.

Stars – influencers, singers, world-famous actresses and the likes – are in on the game too, sporting outfits modelled on those of Ariel. Dua Lipa, for example, seems to be a master of the art.

With underwear and multiple references to the marine world, to glittering makeup and even fishnet, the young star goes all out in referencing – time and again – the cult look of the Disney princess.

The trend has also been tried and adopted – with more moderation – by Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Chiara Ferragni and Hailey Bieber.

Read more: From low-rise cuts to hot pink, the fashion trends set to lose appeal in 2023

The wet look, aka 'laminated skin'

But fashion isn't the only sector running with the mermaid theme. Jewellery is also embracing aquatic references, as is the beauty world.

On the runways, designers went in for long wavy hair, but above all for the famous wet look that will be top of the trends this summer, joined by shimmering (and pronounced) iridescent makeup looks.

But the strongest inspiration – which has been trending on social media since this fall, and was seen on London runways – has got to be "laminated skin".

This beauty look emulates wet skin, sometimes even as if it's dripping in sweat, like after a workout – or a session between the sheets – again giving rise to a wet look that nods to the Disney character. – AFP Relaxnews

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