In July this year, thousands of fans — many dressed in cone-bra-corsets, oversized hair bows, and yes, even fingerless fishnet gloves — flocked to London’s Hyde Park to watch Madge work her magic. At 53, she still managed to shock 65,000 spectators. During a rendition of her ‘80s hit, Like a Virgin, the singer stripped out of pin-striped trousers and a white shirt to reveal a lacy bra and thongs, under a fishnet bodysuit that started just above the waist and stretched all the way down to her feet.
Typical Madonna, you may think. But young designer Tanya Sharma expects to see more celebrities sporting fishnet this year, and not just to earn scandal points either. In fact, the Mumbai-based designer who has boldly employed net and sheer even in Indian garments in her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, shares, “transparent fabrics, sheers and fishnet are all the rage overseas.”
Decoding the trend
Sharma doesn’t see why the idea of meshing these materials with Indian designs should be so shocking. “With our weather being what it is, especially in Mumbai, these fabrics not only allow us to lighten the silhouette, they offer some breathing space.”
Sharma has even used sheer in a bride’s sangeet outfit that’s heavy on georgette and gold embroidery, she tells us. “We’re not uncomfortable with our bodies in this city. Surely, we’d be comfortable with bridal attire that’s a tad bolder.” Though Sharma’s label’s called Gaga, she doesn’t recommend using the latticed fabric in the outrageous manner that her brand’s American namesake usually does, but rather along the lines of the elegant custom-made Chanel fishnet creation that Lady Gaga wore to the 2012 Grammys. The trick, says Sharma, is to fuse net in subtly. “In the sangeet lehenga for instance, you can see barely two inches of skin through the net, just enough to infuse understated, sexy sophistication in the design.”
If magazine covers offer any indication of what’s in vogue, then American model Jenny McCarthy’s ensemble — only fingerless fishnet gloves and black suede boots — on the cover of Playboy’s August 2012 issue, should say it all. Here, a more modest Kareena Kapoor sports a sheer striped corset and fishnet skirt on the cover of the September issue of the Indian edition of a popular international men’s magazine. But Kareena’s skirt appears to be a blend of fishnet, jersey and lace. This doesn’t surprise designer, Sakshee Pradhan who points out that fishnet has made several appearances on the fashion scene, and each time it’s reinvented. “It’s a very strong texture by itself,” she says.
The sequel to a classic
Pointing out that a garment’s lifeline would vary with the manner in which the fishnet is used in it, Pradhan says, “A fishnet jacket, for instance, would be very versatile and a lined fishnet LBD would definitely qualify as a classic.” The bolder and the more bizarre the usage of the lattice, the less likely the garment would be able to withstand the test of time. Pradhan also points out that the fishnet pattern is not alien to Indian embroidery. “It’s a classic pattern but that sort of crisscross embroidery had disappeared for a while. It’s good to see that it’s being reintroduced.”
In May this year, Versace’s Fall 2012 ad campaign was replete with fishnet and leather and Dutch fashion model Elza Luijendijk was given a gothic makeover to complement the rebel’s weave, but when Ana Sui presented her Spring 2013 collection last month, she lent the fabric a punk interpretation, with models made to pair it with bright blue, red and pink wigs. Aside from patches in jackets and tops, Sui used fishnet tights to balance flouncy dresses as well, and contrasted the elegance of stately gowns embellished with pearls and beads with torn fishnets and motorcycle jackets. Long-associated with rock ‘n’ roll, it probably comes as no surprise when fishnet’s sported by celebrities like Rihanna, who has been spotted in fishnet anklets recently, and who also performed in fishnet bicycle shorts at BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend in June.
Want to break free?
Fishnet prints make it easier to get with the sometimes-deemed risqué trend, and those of us who grew up being intermittently scandalised by Cyndi Lauper’s fashion sense may prefer to follow American actor Sarah Jessica Parker’s lead. Still as stylish as ever, so long after Carrie Bradshaw hung up her Manolo Blahniks, Parker, dressed in Current/Elliott fishnet-printed skinny jeans, was photographed twice by the New York paparazzi last month.
Kenzo’s Spring 2012 collection, now available at stores and on e-commerce sites includes fishnet prints but not exclusively in the monochromatic tones you may imagine. Though it still oozes Parisian stylishness, this collection is sporty and colourful. And if that’s not bright enough for you, log onto Californian company Arden B’s website for exceptional fishnet tops merged with vibrant tribal prints.
Get the fishnet look