Getting a jump start on spring’s biggest trend


Some seasons it seems like the best designers have secret meetings to decide what the next big trend will be.  For spring 2012, the trend is underwater-inspired clothes, and the designers to emulate are Chanel and Alexander McQueen. While the trend will really show up next spring, you can get ahead of the game by incorporating underwater themes into your wardrobe this winter. The November issue of American Vogue showed three different nautical or water inspired photo shoots, all you have to do is take that idea one step further.

The two collections were shown on the same day, Chanel in the morning and McQueen that evening. Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel created a stark white underwater fantasy world as a backdrop for the clothes that seemed to radiate light. One of the main motifs at Chanel was the pearl; pearls were everywhere, in the models’ hair, around their waists, and sewn onto a dress or two. Lagerfeld used the typical Chanel colours of Black and White, but he added sea greens, blues, corals, and shimmering nudes to the mix. The colour scheme evoked a sun-bleached coral reef with brightly coloured tropical fish darting to and fro.

Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen created a more dramatic vision of the underwater world. Burton described one of the dresses as moving ‘like a jellyfish moves in the sea.’ The colour palette was light, mostly nudes, golds, light purples, and corals with a few jet black pieces thrown in to evoke the dangerous depths of the ocean. Ruffles were the main motif of the show, and there can be no doubt that ruffles will make a return to the high street in force come spring.

Incorporating an underwater theme into your look is going to be easier than you think. First decide what kind of look you want to incorporate this trend into: formal, going out, or everyday. For a formal outfit look for a dress that has ruffles, a mermaid silhouette, or uses the colours seen at Chanel and McQueen. For the accessories you can go to opposite extremes depending on your personality. If you prefer the Chanel look then loop a rope of pearls around your waist as a belt, wear them as a necklace, or use them to dress up a simple bun. If you would rather emulate the McQueen woman then go for black accessories, bonus points if you can use black lace. Make sure the shoes are sky high platforms, and that they match the colour of your dress.

For a going out look you can follow the trend by using the colours, shape, and accessories used in both of the collections. Floaty dresses are always in the shops, get one in a shimmery white or blue and pair it with a structured jacket and either black or pearl accessories and you have a look that is way ahead of the game. For everyday wear choose two of the elements of the trend to use in your look so that you avoid going over the top. For example if you have a light blue dress pair it with either a cardigan with ruffle trim, or pearl accessories.

Don’t be afraid to deviate from these suggestions and make the trend work for you. I know that I will add a bit of underwater flair to my outfits by wearing an octopus shaped ring along with my pearl hairpins and necklaces. The great thing about this trend is that it can be worked into your existing wardrobe and can be manipulated to fit your personality.


Hannah Anderson 


Image – Hannah Anderson