Water Is Essential to Life. How Could It Ever Go Out of Style?


In preparation for her stunning appearance at the 2019 Met Gala, Kim Kardashian met with fashion designer Thierry Mugler to conceptualize her look. “Who are you really?” According to Mr. Mugler’s manager at the time, the designer asked him. “How would you describe yourself?”

When she replied, “I’m just a girl from California,” Mr. Mugler decided he was going to make her exactly that, recalled manager Jean-Baptiste Rougeot.

“He said: ‘Yeah, that’s it! She’s going to be on the red carpet in New York, straight out of the ocean, straight out of Malibu,'” Mr. Rougeot said.

Inspired by Sophia Loren’s role as the Greek sponge diver in the 1957 film “boy on dolphin,” which features a scene in which the actress emerges from the waters of the Aegean, a sopping-soaked shirt dress clinging to her chest like a second skin, Mr. Mugler, who died in 2022, used “wetness” to celebrate. Wanted to use Ms. Kardashian’s curvaceous figure.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that water—the only constant of life as we know it—has been an enduring favorite of fashion designers. By studying drops of water, he developed different techniques to create the illusion that his clothes had been soaked, sprayed, or simply affected by water. There’s no shortage of fans of the influence, which draws attention to luxury as well as more affordable fashion. After all, water can never go completely bad.

For Ms. Kardashian, the drenching effect was achieved in several stages. First, to make the body of the costume appear wet, silk organza—a fabric that wrinkles naturally—was layered over liquid silicone. Then approximately 100,000 translucent sequins were embroidered in three nude colors to evoke the shadows that would actually exist in a wet dress.

Eventually, Mr. Rougeot went to an old shop in Paris in search of the crystal, to create the illusion of it coming out of the water.

“Some of them are glass beads; Some of them are crystals,” he said. “They were sewn with fishing thread to make them completely transparent.”

Of course, mimicking the visual effect of a water drop is easier said than done. Graham Cooks, professor of analytical chemistry at Purdue University, pointed to the distinct strengths of using crystals for that purpose.

“Crystals have certain aspects: it gives you this light effect, it gives you this multiple reflection effect,” Professor Kux said. “So it also breaks up the light and gives you some rainbow patterns.”

Drool Jewelry founder Olina Bak began creating her brand’s signature water-droplet jewelry out of homesickness for her native Greece when she was abroad in London and it was raining.

Ms. Bach said, “It came to me when I was watching the raindrops falling on my windows.” “I was like, well, I’d like to try and emulate that somehow.”

To mimic the shape of water droplets, which vary in size by nature, Ms. Bach makes all of her necklaces by hand, drip by drip, using UV resin, a sticky substance that only cures under ultraviolet light. It happens.

At the London premiere of “Barbie” last month, Irish actress Nicola Coughlan might not have looked like she came straight out of the water, but the crystals in her custom look by Wiederhoft made an impression that wasn’t too far off. ,

The brand’s founder, Jackson Wiederhooft, stated that the effect was achieved by using a combination of the two styles of beading.

“One that’s become kind of a signature for us is what we do with these glass, faceted beads, where it almost has a liquid metal effect,” the designer said. “Then we’re also really getting into this chandelier crystal embroidery, where we’re using actual chandelier crystals to create these larger-than-life effects of light.”

influential Isabelle Allen (her followers are known as easypuppy), who has garnered a substantial number of followers on TikTok largely because of her styling prowess, recently showcased what she calls her creation. “Dry Wet Dress” to his 1.3 million followers on the platform.

“On TikTok, I find quirky pieces interesting,” Ms. Allen said during a video call while holding pieces from her small collection to the camera. Her favorites are usually wet-look dresses, she added, because they “have so much texture, so much illusion, and it can be done so many different ways.”


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