Seascape: The Visual Harmonies of Aquatic Aesthetics and Artistry
Iris Van Herpen


At GLITCH we have been noticing the rise of Seascape. The visual theme is inspired by the element of love: the sea. As we cling onto the last days of summer, we can expect to see more shells, oysters, and scaly materials, with many designers testing out the water. 

Seascape is a product of the recent Mermaid Core trend, which rose following the Little Mermaid film, starring ​​Halle Bailey which was released in May. Seascape has carried on the legacy of Mermaid Core, relating to all things water, but has come to encompass a whole visual aesthetic, including accessories, fonts, and materials. Seascape is noticeable for the details, with the defining characteristics being an emphasis on aquatic colors (blue, green, and grey tones), water imagery,  flowing silhouettes, and atmospheric coastal backgrounds. 

Iris Van Herpen’s Fall/Winter 2023, “Architectonics” collection is the epitome of seascape. Van Herpen describes how the collection was inspired by “Aquatic Architecture and Bionic Innovations. Drawing inspiration from the future of floating cities and the concept of bionic design, this pioneering collection reflects a vision where humans inhabit both land and offshore environments.” Van Herpen looks into  “aquatic urbanism” which reimagines how humans live with water. Citing the first floating city Oceanix in South Korea, the collection looks into how fashion, architecture, and technology can overlap. Oceanix designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels is the first waterborne urbanism, which uses zero waste and circular systems, closed-loop water systems, net-zero energy, and coastal habitat regeneration, creating a new vision for how humans live in the future.

Each of Van Herpen’s designs was digitally modelled before starting the designs in the physical world. Using a “Biophilic technique,” she lazer cut architectural line works and modeled them with marble-textured silicone. Van Herpen describes how her “Oceanix’ technique is developed to paint bursting patterns in space. These graphic polygon patterns explode skillfully from order to chaos through the movement of the body, as the polygons are deconstructed in air by the models moving. Fine fiberglass rods are carefully balanced to distribute an exact amount of weight and vibration into the dissected geodesic bursts, creating an interplay of fluidity and fragmentation.” Van Herpen challenges the notion that humans are separate from nature and creates a new order where land and sea live in harmony.

Seascape is also influencing accessories, with many designers incorporating shells in their designs.  Love LiLiI’s “hidden treasures” collection creates a vision of feminine power, creating handmade jewelry from oyster shells, and seashells. With ribbons, pearls, and heart pendants, she mixes the organic and inorganic, creating harmony between the natural and artificial worlds.

Mʏ Dᴇᴀʀᴇsᴛ Wᴏʀʟᴅ by Hanna Lefcourt creates jewelry inspired by the sensitivity and beauty of nature. Hanna also creates jadeite pendants, deep sea pottery pendants, and classic small shell pendants. Her designs strike the perfect balance between nature and metallics, creating beautiful and innocent designs. 

3D designers have been using liquid-style designs. Liquid creates flow and allows designers to blur boundaries between the digital and physical worlds. Michelle Kuan’s “After the rain” illustration is “a crystalline orchid blossom wet with drops of dew. It is set against a background of unruly glass tendrils.” Michelle describes when you look closer you notice the “metallic materiality and texture of the flower’s labellum, anther cap, and column.”

Times and events are constantly evolving and moving. What started out as mermaidcore, has evolved into seascape infiltrating accessories, art, and design. We at GLITCH love to see how art continues to inspire new art. The visual of seascape is fascinating because it highlights a blending of the organic with the inorganic to produce harmony and equilibrium. Iris Van Herpen and Michelle Kuan are able to create a flowy, liquid aesthetic through the use of digital technology. Mʏ Dᴇᴀʀᴇsᴛ Wᴏʀʟᴅ and Love LiLiI’s jewelry are able to merge the natural and artificial. Seascape is more than just a trend, it’s a visual aesthetic that engages with the sea, showing a longer for humans to return to the natural world.

Written by Amber Weir from GLITCH Magazine


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