"Botticelli babes rising from the sea" was how Welsh fashion designer Christopher Kane described his mentor Donatella Versace's spring 2012 ready-to-wear collection for Versace. During the runway show, models strode out with cascading waves for hair, resembling the goddess Venus in Botticelli's famous painting, The Birth of Venus.
Kane's description is also on point for the sea-inspired mood seen across a number of this season's collections.
Starfish, seahorse and scallop shell motifs appeared on signature Versace body-skimming cocktail dresses and gowns, while at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld added pearl trims to classic skirt suits in pale sea foam colours, and developed house tweeds with metallics that shimmered under the lights of the Grand Palais in Paris.
Close to home, designers and the high street have explored the underwater theme with brightly coloured sea prints and cool sea tones appropriate for the season. Simple shift shapes showcase these underwater prints to full effect, from Cooper's silk slip dress (#3) to the fun sleeveless shift dress at Max (#2), with its colourful display of exotic fish and brightly coloured coral.
For a subtle take on the trend, look to block colours or ombre tones such as cobalt blue, turquoise and navy (Blak Luxe's ombre maxi dress is a prime example, (#1) and add some metallic accessories for an iridescent ode to the sea.
1 Blak Luxe ombre dress ($429). Vanessa Bruno wedges ($559) from Workshop. Le Specs sunglasses ($69.95).
2 Max print shift dress ($199). Ruby heels ($369).
3 Cooper print slip dress ($429). Ruby heels ($369).
4 Glassons acid wash sleeveless shirt ($49.99). Topshop pleated shorts ($70) from The Department Store. Kate Sylvester belt ($195). Alexander Wang sandals ($698) from Workshop. House of Holland sunglasses with chain ($349).
5 Starfish jacket ($369). See by Chloe mesh top ($289) from Workshop. Max coral print trousers ($119). Veronique Branquinho heels ($559) from Workshop.By Dan Ahwa Email Dan