A New “Fantasea“: How Seascape Aesthetic is taking over Visuals and Fashion

If you have been online in the last few weeks, you will have come across this visual trend: as seen in trending beauty looks such as oil-slicked hair and siren eyes, or this spring-summer 2023 runways and online fashion content, as well as emerging graphic design elements such as liquid chrome fonts and deep-sea-inspired home accessories: Seascape is the visual trend for Summer 2023.

Opening up various possibilities for a new visual “fantasea” seascape is about to reach its peak. While the trends and usage have been growing steadily since 2020, media releases such as the new adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” are about to make it explode.

Seascape has been the talk of the internet for a few weeks now, but here it is under the name of Mermaid Core. Mermaidcore has swum against the TikTok core-ification tide with a recent 736% increase in Google searches for ‘mermaid style’, and Pinterest search data shows a 614% increase in searches for ‘mermaidcore’. There must be something in the water. 

Mermaidcore has a number of elements that capture the oceanic vibe of the moment. Colours range from sea foam green to ultraviolet, the shorter wavelengths of the colour spectrum that penetrate the depths of the ocean’s dysphotic zone. Iridescence and metallic sheen are also part of the Mermaidcore colour palette, obviously inspired by the mother-of-pearl lining of the inside of a shell. Underwater symbolism also runs deep in the Mermaidcore aesthetic. Just as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid describes the landscape of marine life, the Sea King’s palace is made of coral, surrounded by shells that open and close with glistening pearls inside. Crustaceans, starfish and other sea creatures are prevalent figures in the Mermaidcore aesthetic.

The Spring/Summer 2021 collections featured all kinds of mermaidcore. Versace’s spring 2021 campaign stands out, with Kendall Jenner, Precious Lee, and Hailey Bieber modeling the Atlantis-inspired collection alongside a sea of jellyfish. Or Iris Van Herpen, who teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to create a “tentacle” dress from recycled plastic. Using a 3D printer, ocean waste was upgraded to haute couture creations. The quintessential mermaid silhouette is thought to be created by French couturier Marcel Rochas in the 1930s and cemented in fashionable circles by Jean Patou, whose aquatic-inspired gown appeared in a 1933 issue of Vogue. Since then, the siren style has taken many forms but re-entered the mainstream with Versace and Burberry making waves with their nautical novelty. Cut to Spring 2023, and Blumarine, Erdem, Victoria Beckham, and many others have also decided to take the plunge.