“Skin is the ultimate foundation garment…” says Susan Zelouf
All products featured on thegloss.ie are selected by our editors. If you buy something through affiliate links on our site we may earn a commission.
While I live by few hard and fast fashion rules, how, when and who should wear sheer gear is right there at the top of the list. Most of us stand to benefit from a play of conceal and reveal, not to mention subdued lighting – what fleshy Renaissance artist’s model didn’t appreciate flattering compositional chiaroscuro, nocturnal scenes lit by candlelight or a shaft of moonlight? From Caravaggio and Rembrandt through to modern masters of light and shade, visual artists including photographers, filmmakers and cinematographers have made it their business to choreograph how we see. The art of the fashion designer, meanwhile, lies somewhere between religion and magic, between prayer and spell, a shaman armed with needle and thread, measuring tape and scissors, transfiguring mere mortals into gods and goddesses, reimagining what is vital, beautiful, eternal.
Skin is the ultimate foundation garment, girdling lovely bones; fashion is the art of draping, folding, nipping and tucking, picking up where physiology left off. In 2024, Pantone declared Peach Fuzz colour of the year, but who among us will dare to bare theirs in a transparent number, playing with what InStyle called “the most oft-spotted trend for 2024 … sheer dressing”? The naked dress is not new: think early 20th-century dancer Isadora Duncan’s semi-transparent tunic over uncorseted bare skin. Still, when Yves Saint Laurent designed his first sheer look in 1966, revealing the breasts of his muse Danielle Luquet de Saint-Germain scantly veiled by cigaline, an almost transparent silk weave, it shocked the world. Saint Laurent’s response to censure was at once poetic, romantic and scandalous: “Nothing is more beautiful than a naked body”, followed by, “The most beautiful garment that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves.” And then, in 1968, he created a second diaphanous iteration, the Nude Dress, a transparent frock in black chiffon belted with a low-slung plume of ostrich feathers, one of the key pieces in the exhibition Yves Saint Laurent: Transparencies at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris, from February 9 to August 25, 2024.
“I may not be perfect, but parts of me are incredible” Ashleigh Brilliant, Author and Illustrator
To get a feel for who is baring what, scroll through the “Spring 2024 Trend: Sheer” slideshow at www.wwd.com, from Balenciaga’s Hollywood glam (transgender performance artist Amanda Lepore dressed in skintight black lace) to Brandon Maxwell’s dressy casual boob-wear in a moneyed sh-sh-shade of stealth wealth taupe. Dries Van Noten plays power dressing peek-a-boo with sheer vertical stripes over black bra and panties while Michael Kors dresses plussize model Ashley Graham in what I’ve been wearing since, well, high school: a floaty, strictly belted long black sheer skirt over a scoop-necked black leotard; the only thing missing from this picture are angsty love letters to lanky rockers. Oh wait, they’re stashed in the Kors sturdy woven black bucket bag!
If you’re wondering if you should throw caution (and bra) to the winds of February and embrace the transparency trend for the sheer hell of it, consider donning printed mesh. Score a Gaultier vintage piece from TheRealReal or a current Gaultier Tattoo Collection maxi dress from www.mytheresa.com. Pull on skintight sculpting shapewear and layer up a canny Kim “Skims” Kardashian sheer bold graphic. Or play around with the trend in the privacy of your own home: a pair of Paula Rowan Monserrat tulle opera gloves and heels sets the mood. No need to free the nipple in public, unless you’re Timothée Chalamet. @susanzelouf
1. I’M VEILING behind a delicious Philip Treacy confection, à la Rosamund Pike at the Golden Globes.
2. I’M TRIPPING the light fantastic in sheer Maureen mules by Malone Souliers. www.matchesfashion.com.
3. I’M ATTENDING opera in peach tulle Monserrat gloves from a selection at Paula Rowan, Dublin 2.
4. I’M DARING to bare my bra in a Styland frilled tulle blouse. www.farfetch.com.
5. I’M TOOLING around town in roses, pearls, lace and tulle by Simone Rocha SS24.
6. I’M SHOULDERING burdens in a recycled, ravishing Stella McCartney SS24 maxi dress.
7. I’M BARING clavicles in Nensi Dojaka’s sheer off-the-shoulder top. www.saksfifthavenue.com.
8. I’M EMBRACING body positivity inspired by Florence Pugh’s seethrough red carpet looks.
9. I’M PLANNING a Parisian sojourn to see the YSL Transparencies exhibition, airplane reading sorted!
10. I’M LEGGING it in sheer tulle Noir Kei Ninomiya wide-leg trousers. www.mytheresa.com.
11. I’M SATISFYING tattoo-curious urges in a Gaultier Tattoo Collection top, sans ink.
12. I’M CONCEALING and revealing in a draped Phillip Lim gown; colour me fearless in SS24.
13. I’M VARNISHING nails in barelythere Ballerina pink Chanel Le Vernis Longwear polish, at Brown Thomas.
14. I’M DREAMING of “cloud lips” in Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Lip Blur. Now kiss-off!