New York Paris London Palm Beach Hudson Valley


Aug 18

The Wet Look: “Liquid” Clothes Are Summer’s Freshest Idea

What’s the perfect thing to wear on an unbearably humid, 90 degree day in New York? No really, I’m asking. In late July and August, when the pavement begins to actually sizzle, you can’t walk more than a few blocks without breaking a sweat—not exactly the time to wear your long-sleeved prairie frock or rigid jeans. Naturally, it makes getting dressed for the office (or, dare we say, running around New York Fashion Week) feel rather difficult. How can you possibly look “put together” when you’re overheating, your cheeks are flushed, your hair is frizzing, and you’re starting to glisten? Anything relatively complicated, layered, or strict is out of the question. The word breezy comes to mind; you want something that catches the breeze and lets in some air. But is there something even more refreshing than a crisp breeze? Like . . . being underwater?

Honestly, the only place this kind of heat makes sense is a pool or beach—so why not re-create that feeling with your clothes (and jewelry and beauty products)? It’s in the air, literally: Humidity is water vapor suspended in air. But we mean that figuratively, too. Consider the omnipresent summer slip dress: It’s weightless, it’s cool to the touch, and it flows over your body, sort of like water. There’s a reason we use adjectives like fluid and liquid to describe that shiny, nearly reflective satin. It’s oddly satisfying to imagine yourself in a “liquid silk” dress, isn’t it? Or a silk jumpsuit, silk pajama set, or anything really, as long as it’s aqueous from head to toe. In a recent email newsletter, AYR wrote that its new silk Blush Pant “feels like a refreshing dip in a plunge pool.” Priscavera’s Prisca Franchetti took it a step further and shot her Tahitian-blue silk slip dress and matching trousers in the actual ocean. Nili LotanKhaite’s Catherine Holstein, Nanushka’s Sandra Sandor, Attico’s Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio, and Lemaire’s Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran have a way with fluid slip dresses, too. In her review of Lemaire’s Spring 2018 collection, Vogue’s Nicole Phelps described the opening look—a simple ivory satin dress—as “luminous,” like moonlight reflecting the ocean. Sold.

Our water-seeking tendencies are turning up in jewelry, too. Jane D’Arensbourg is known for her blown-glass necklaces and earrings, which look like ice dangling from your ears. Jess Hannah’s cut-crystal earrings are called Glacé, or “ice” in French, and Lizzie Fortunato’s Arc cuff is like a frosted ice sculpture for your wrist. As for where to store all of your cool new jewels, Me&Ro’s Robin Renzi is making jewelry holders out of giant conch and scallop shells, which she painted with real silver. (We can picture them on the vanities of the “mermaids” working at Weeki Wachee Springs, who captured our fascination last summer.)

Like most trends in 2018, this goes beyond fashion. In fact, it really started with beauty. How long have we been on this quest for “dewy” skin? Most women I know use some kind of rosewater spray, and a few even carry it in their bag on extra-hot days so they can spritz their flushed cheeks on the hour. Another friend of mine swears by Milk’s Cooling Water gel stick, which is made with seawater and marine minerals and feels like portable AC. Lip gloss is making a comeback, from Glossier’s “cushiony, crystal clear” gloss to Winky Lux’s jelly tube lipstickswith tiny flowers floating inside. And wet, slicked-back hair is also having a moment—see Alexander WangPradaThe RowPrabal Gurung, or any number of ’90s-era Kate Moss photos you’ve scrolled past on Instagram. You might recall that slip dresses were big in the ’90s, too. So does this trend even qualify as “new”? From a lifestyle perspective, yes. Today’s women in liquid-silk dresses, wet hair, and “glass skin” probably aren’t smoking cigarettes—sorry, Kate!—they’re eating kale, using sheet masks, downloading meditation apps, and drinking two liters of water a day, preferably from an amethyst glass bottle. The fashion may have come first, but it’s when clothes intersect with bigger cultural shifts—in this case, our obsession with wellness—that a trend starts to feel like real news.


Written By: 

Share this