Whether they evoke the sea or sports, netted pieces were all over the S/S 12 runways. At Alexander Wang, mesh was used to create athletic-meets-motocross ensembles, such as the two looks above (far left). A nylon Hexagon Mesh Laser-Cut Utility Vest ($725, 212.977.9683) and Hexagon Mesh Laser-Cut Bomber ($950, 212.977.9683) were styled over polyester Technical Short Sleeve Polo Shirts ($325, 212.977.9683) in Acqua and Tangerine and paired with equally sporty bottoms, like the Hexagon Mesh Laser-Cut Mini Skirt ($450, 212.977.9683). The resulting looks are futuristic utilitarian, and resemble the type of thing a fashionable female BMX pro might wear. Of course fishnet doesn't always have to be so aggressively street; it can also look quite polished, as demonstrated at Aquascutum's S/S 12 show. Designer Joanna Sykes showed a body-skimming black Halter Knit Top ($310) paired with an architectural, beige Double Wrap Skirt ($700) and feminine brogues, giving us a modern take on country club dressing. Admittedly, we doubt the Muffys out there will wear a see-through top, but the overall look is appealingly ladylike and a total contrast to Wang's designs.
As you can see from our runway examples, there's a fishnet for everyone, a point that is illustrated in greater depth by our celebrity examples. A mesh dress can be quite glamorous-just look at how Kate Moss wears it. The style icon was snapped late last month at a reception for the British Fashion Awards wearing a stunning vintage black fishnet dress with a vintage furry jacket, Christian Louboutin shoes, and a Chanel clutch. With its high neckline and nude slip, the floor-length frock makes a major impact despite its simplicity. Pixie Geldof also showed us that fishnet can look fabulously sleek at a party celebrating Perrier-Jouet's 200th anniversary in London earlier this fall. On this occasion, grunge-loving Geldof went for a more polished look with House of Holland's Leather One Shouldered Dress with Python Trim (price upon request) from the S/S 12 collection. The simple silhouette and waist-cinching belt make the netted fabric look more soignee and totally party appropriate.
In addition to these classic silhouettes, mesh can also look very modern: simply check out Vanessa Traina and Giovanna Battaglia for reference. Traina mixed fishnet with a traditionally feminine skirt at the Louis Vuitton show this past October when she paired an open-knit Balenciaga top from F/W 11 with a black mid-calf Marc Jacobs skirt and strappy Balenciaga shoes. The overall effect is futuristic femme fatale, a very fine look to have in one's repertoire! We spotted a flirtier version of fishnet on editor/stylist Giovanna Battaglia earlier this fall when she showed up at the Ohne Titel S/S 12 show wearing a Mesh Dress ($215) from the label's F/W 10 collection. The sleeveless dress has a simple shape and a utilitarian color palette (the khaki green and gray combo reminds us of military fatigues), but the mesh inserts at the neck and hem give the piece a little femininity and flare.
If you're interested in creating a transitional look with this must-have material, we've got some ideas for you! The easiest way to dive into this trend is with a top, as you can wear it over a tank top (for the modest) or as is (for the brave). Free People's Fishnet Long Sleeve Top ($58) is one great option, and we also really like Bailey44's Got Cove Top ($146) too. Patterson J. Kincaid's Elm Button Back Sweater ($106) is another fantastic piece; it has an asymmetrical hemline, so it's shorter in the front and longer in the back. If you'd like a little sheen with your mesh or are interested in a color, check out Express' Mesh-Stich Lightweight Tunic ($59.90), which is very reasonably priced and comes in four colors. See By Chloe's Open Knit Wool Cape ($409) is also on our radar due to its cozy, poncho-like silhouette. Looking for a dress with a little mesh detailing? Try Nightcap's Fishnet Silk Dress ($352), which is subtle, sleek, and sexy. If you'd rather limit this look to your accessories, that's cool too, just check out Giuseppe Zanotti's Mesh Open Toe Platform Pumps ($750), Jimmy Choo's Tesia Suede and Mesh Platform Pumps ($695), or Isola's Barrett Patent Leather/Black Mesh Heels ($92)-all are major mesh options!
Photos of Vanessa Traina, Kate Moss, and Pixie Geldof, courtesy of Getty.