These days, our TikTok, and Instagram feeds seem to be full of nothing but various subcultures and aesthetics all dubbed something-core. Cottagecore has had its heyday and fairycore has come and gone. With the upcoming release of the live-action The Little Mermaid, it seems only fitting that mermaidcore is the next iteration of fantasy-themed dressing. It makes sense that these internet aesthetics have grown in popularity over the past few years––they act as an idealized way to escape the realities of pandemics and other real-world stressors. Social media is already a form of escapism, and decorating your house to look like the English countryside is now a symptom of such distraction. As Halle Bailey and the rest of the cast hit the press circuit for the film, GLITCH thinks that mermaidcore is going to quickly overtake the Barbiecore trend and hot pink will be replaced by shimmery aqua tones.
Bailey is just the latest example of “method dressing,” which is when an actor dresses like their character for press events. This marketing tactic is certainly growing in popularity and is an easy way for a film to go viral. Social media has been drooling over Jenna Ortega’s role as Wednesday and its influence over her outfits over the past few months, including her Met Gala look. As the Barbie press tour begins, people have been fantasizing over the Pepto-Bismal pink looks that Margo Robbie is sure to churn out this summer. Bailey’s red carpet looks for The Little Mermaid have been no different and social media has been eating it up.
Bailey first embraced her mermaid role at the Oscars in a seafoam blue Dolce & Gabanna gown, looking like a picture-perfect princess in the gauzy strapless dress. While lovely, this look was a tame start compared to her following gowns, which only got bolder and sparklier. Wearing dresses by Valdrin Sahiti, Georges Chakra, and Miss Sohee, Bailey really hit her stride while embodying the glittery pearls and cool tones of a mermaid.
Bailey and her stylist, Nichole Goodman, have certainly had a lot of choices when it comes to designer pieces that fit the mermaidcore vibe, as there have been a lot more sea references than one might think when it comes to designer pieces. In the recent FW23 runway shows there are a surprising number of mermaid references that only further the upcoming impact of The Little Mermaid. Loewe sent a silky and strapless baby blue gown down the runway that would pair perfectly with flowing red hair and a green fishtail. Practically anything with sparkles from the Paco Robanne collection fits the scaly-chic vibe, as does this flirty Valentino mini dress. Fendi’s couture show also does a brilliant job of combining lace, glitter, and texture to create a subtle under-the-sea feel. Who knew mermaidcore could be so high fashion?
Mermaidcore has also been popping up off the runway and onto the backs of influencers and actors alike. Clara Perlmutter, aka @tinyjewishgirl, stepped out in a glittery and sheer Stella McCartney dress while attending a pre-Met Gala event. We’ve also seen hints of mermaidcore on the Cannes red-carpet, with stars like Natalie Portman and Aja Naomi King subtly referencing the Ariel aesthetic. Our fingers are crossed that Dua Lipa will be the next celebrity to partake in mermaidcore, as her upcoming role as a mermaid in the Barbie movie involves a seashell bra and a (questionable) blue wig. Lipa and stylist Lorenzo Posocco are sure to come up with some creative and tasteful archival pieces that’ll evoke the ocean without being tacky.
As for us fashion enthusiasts, who are neither sea creatures nor Hollywood stars, this aesthetic will likely manifest in much subtler ways. There’s a fine line between a clever mer-reference and looking like you’re dressed for a Halloween party. While we’re not certain that this trend has as much longevity as cottagecore, it’s certainly a fun one to embrace for the summer. Whether you’re a celebrity embracing your character on the red carpet or someone dreaming of a more magical world, mermaidcore is sure to make a splash.
Written by Kathryn Sohm
Edited by GLITCH Team