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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 July 2018

Fashion notes: Is fishnet really back in vogue?

What brands such as Chloé have done, giving a romantic, lingerie-inspired twist to wearable ready-to-wear, is quite commendable, but I think a limit has been crossed when your unmentionables are on clear, deliberate display.
A model walks the runway at the Balmain Spring Summer 2016 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. Catwalking / Getty Images
A model walks the runway at the Balmain Spring Summer 2016 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. Catwalking / Getty Images

The topic of my latest fashion rant is the questionable fishnet fabric. But, rather than slamming it wholeheartedly, I’ll censor myself and look at how the notoriously exposed material has inspired some really cool style trends of late.

Perhaps I’m the only one who is instinctively baffled by the fact that webbed fishnet-like fabrics are currently being given the thumbs up in fashion. There was a time when the textile was most symbolic of theatrical shows. But, trends often find roots in the most peculiar of subjects and, many times, designers create pieces that are positively beautiful, inspired by sources that can be, for lack of a better word, cheap.

I’ll get the negativity out on the table right away. Beach babes and club hoppers are currently baring it all on Instagram, some clad in nothing but undergarments and an uber-tight fishnet top or dress. Now, I’m all for liberation, and for being proud of your body, but, like the many critics of Kim Kardashian’s recent nude social-media post, I draw a line somewhere. I also realise that the whole underwear as outerwear trend has been gaining momentum, too, and I’m not hating on it as a whole – I think what brands such as Chloé have done, giving a romantic, lingerie-inspired twist to wearable ready-to-wear, is quite commendable. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I think a limit has been crossed when your unmentionables are on clear, deliberate display.

The spring/summer 2016 runways have dictated that texture is a key player in clothing for the season. And while lace is always present at fashion weeks, this grainy, lattice-like mesh is the latest novelty. Even at Chanel’s autumn/winter 2016 show, models’ eye make-up emulated a fishnet pattern.

I very much like when fishnet designs are worn as an overlay. And if the layer underneath has a slight sheerness to it, I can live with that. But when all mystery is forsaken, for the sake of flat-out flashing, you’ll get more than just a raised eyebrow from me. When fishnet is worn as the layer underneath another, the result can be quite striking. Wear a net top underneath a spaghetti strap dress for an attention-grabbing, grunge-meets-girlie look. You could also layer it with an all-black ensemble to exude a street-chic Parisian attitude. Net stockings can also be worn underneath boyfriend jeans. When the fishnet texture is seen peeking out from gaping, distressed denim holes, the appearance is really quite cool.

The material can also be great for socks – and before you call me crazy, just look at Simone Rocha’s spring/summer 2016 show during London fashion week, where jelly sandals were worn with beige fishnet socks, which also featured cute floral baubles and beads. An image of fishnet socks, white in colour, paired with plain old Adidas Superstar trainers, particularly resonated with me. My thinking is they’ll be ideal for the UAE summer heat, where more conventional socks can make your feet unbearably sweaty when you’re wearing trainers.

Beyoncé might have rocked the fishnet-stocking look at the recent Super Bowl half-time show – but just because a pop icon wears a super-flattering ensemble intended to be a stage outfit, does not give the rest of the world a licence to mimic the outfit in their everyday lives. There are ways to take the contentious stocking and make it wearable – somewhat edgy, and borderline raunchy, but still wearable – on the streets. If you’re still not sold, don’t trash your fishnets just yet – simply stow them away until October. Come Halloween, fishnet tights become a hard-to-get commodity.

hlodi@thenational.ae