Lately we've fielded invitations to all manner of fun summer activities--like all-girl weekend trips to Vegas and rooftop cocktail parties--and we've been in search of a suggestive-yet-soignee dress to wear to these outings. Thanks to an array of celebrities and tastemakers, such as Claire Danes and Hanneli Mustaparta, we think we've found the perfect solution: sheer-paneled frocks! These chic dresses strike a careful balance, exposing a flash of skin that's enticing without revealing too much. You'll surely feel the same after reading today's Trend Report and finding out how to nab this coquettish look on your own!On The Runway
Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci served up an array of sheer panels in the French fashion house's S/S 12 collection, ranging from tailored button-downs with transparent sleeves to skirts with see-through inserts. But we particularly loved the label's Tiered Chiffon Lace Top With Tails ($4145) in White paired with the Mini Skirt ($1330) in White and the Guerra Heels ($1150, available in Pink and Black & Nickel). The long-sleeved sweater allows you to stay covered up, but its sheer panels are slightly alluring, making this the ideal piece for a balmy summer evening.
On The Red Carpet
Recognizing how sheer panels are subtly seductive, yet sophisticated enough for formal occasions, a few fashionable femmes selected dresses with see-through inserts for their red carpet events. At the premiere of Safe in New York City in April, Sami Gayle sported Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti's Short Sleeve Illusion Neckline Knit Dress ($865, 310.652.9000) from the F/W 12 collection. The young actress (and our former Girl of the Month) put a monochromatic spin on her outfit with gray suede pumps and a clutch. While her shift dress is age-appropriate, its sheer neckline and feathery sleeves lend it a fashion-forward twist. Claire Danes also opted for a slightly sheer style in Narciso Rodriguez's Fuchsia/Black Silk Dress ($1895) at the Hysteria premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Her dress' past-the-knee hemline is conservative, but it becomes provocative with a peek-a-boo inset at the bust! We're also smitten with the dress Hanneli Mustaparta wore to the Met Gala last month: Calvin Klein Collection's Gardenia Silk Satin/Mesh Bib Front Dress ($5995, 212.292.9000) from the S/S 12 collection, which was custom tailored to her exact measurements. The gown's long-sleeved, floor-length silhouette is offset by its plunging sheer front, revealing Mustaparta's matching Calvin Klein Collection underpinnings (which are part of the dress) and resulting in a subtle yet sultry evening look!
Sheer panels are also perfect for after-hours soirees, as Bella Heathcote and Astrid Berges-Frisbey recently demonstrated. At an after party for Killing Them Softly last month in Cannes, Heathcote sported Look 49 from Chanel's F/W Haute Couture 09 collection--a black gown with crystal-embellished cap sleeves and a sheer yoke. She kept the focus on her dramatic dress by accessorizing simply with rosette heels and Chanel Fine Jewelry's Fil de Camelia earrings and Tweed ring. Berges-Frisbey opted for a more subdued sheer look at the Chanel boutique inauguration in Paris earlier this year. The Spanish model/actress donned the label's beaded dress from the S/S 12 collection and a cropped jacket from S/S 11. Both Heathcote and Berges-Frisbey flaunted just a hint of skin with sheer-paneled frocks, but still channeled a ladylike, elegant vibe we adore.
Whether you opt to expose a wide swath of skin in a dress with a sheer bodice or just a glimpse with a few well-placed inserts, this see-through style is quite easy to attain! If you're seeking a daytime-appropriate dress, we suggest Kain's Indira Embroidered Silk-Chiffon Dress ($325), Robert Rodriguez's Sheer Striped Shift Dress ($455), or Max C's Sheer Panel Dress ($61). These three colorful frocks have laid-back silhouettes and understated sheer panels, making them ideal for brunches or garden parties. For dresses worthy of cocktail hour, ASOS' Midi Dress With Sheer Panel ($113), which features a peek-a-boo hem, and Richard Nicoll's Silk-Georgette Dress ($950), a bright pink frock with a sheer neckline, should do the trick! If you have a dressier occasion coming up on your social calendar, go for a bolder look in a gown with tantalizing transparent inserts, like T by Alexander Wang's Mesh Combo Midi Tank Dress ($200) in Black or BCBGMAXAZRIA's Magdalena Gown ($348).
Want the sheer look, but don't want to commit to a dress? Channel today's trend in sheer-paneled shirts! Gucci's Sheer Panel Top ($991), worn with tapered trousers and ankle-strap heels, makes a great going-out ensemble, since its see-through neckline and sleeves are provocative without revealing too much. Depending on your workplace environment, you might be able to wear Kaelen's Sheer Tunic ($345), Modcloth's Cobalt and Pepper Top ($40), or Forever 21's Sheer Yoke Knit Top ($15) to the office, as long as it's paired with a cropped jacket and tailored pants. If you're seeking a relaxed sheer look for the weekend, try A.L.C.'s Faye Asymmetrical Contrast Sweater ($325) or BCBGeneration's Slouchy Dolman Sweater ($29). Simply team one of these knit sweaters with your favorite jeans and ankle boots for a stylish outfit that doesn't require much effort at all!--Tiffany Tse
Photos of Hanneli Mustaparta, Bella Heathcote, and Astrid Berges-Frisbey, courtesy of Getty Images; photos of Sami Gayle and Claire Danes, courtesy of Patrick McMullan; Givenchy runway photo, courtesy of Givenchy.