Sheer Delight

In the new lace issue of Selvedge, Kate Cavendish explores how contemporary designers are using sheer to explore the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...

For Spring / Summer 2018, ready-to-wear fashion there is one trend and that is the sheer, the transparent, the translucent. Layers operate to indicate some modesty but generally speaking, the body is on show underneath barely-there layers of clothing. This allows a total fabric feast as different combinations and nuances of sheer can be utilised and put on display. This year, designers clearly had fun experimenting with a myriad of textiles, and most exude femininity and are fluid in motion; wafting around the body in a gauzy, filmy, breezy manner as befitting the perfect summer day where gentle air cools the body.

Ultra-feminine materials – lace, chiffon, organza and tulle – are chosen, but functional plastic also provides protection from showers that can occur anytime during a British summer. As designers use sheer in great volumes, many areas of clothing appear like clouds floating around the wearer; puffs of nothingness that surround and encase. The garments’ construction is evident where built-up edges, narrow seams and deep hems allow for varying densities as fabric ends, joins and folds. Collars and cuffs offer a movement towards opacity too, without ever fully achieving it.

The body underneath is perceptible, and only lightly covered with the ensuing layers. Underwear is able to be seen and for this reason simply-cut knickers with more coverage than usual are adopted, and triangular-cut bras are worn (or sometimes not). Long shirts are worn over thin skirts, belted jackets over delicate dresses, and similar garments are layered over each other...

You can read this article in full in Selvedge 82, The Lace Issue.

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