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Bismuth, seemingly fashion’s new inanimate muse, is a brittle metal with an iridescent oxide tarnish and crystalline structure, which displays a translucent rainbow of colors. From whimsical pastel palettes to political statements grounded in sheer fabrics, iridescence flows from piece to piece. . Bismuth crystals, reminiscent of icy pastels, may just be one of the biggest inspirations to a myriad of designers' Spring/Summer collections.

From ready-to-wear to haute couture collections, icy pastels, iridescence and gauzy sheer looks are trending. Building off Chanel and other fashion houses’ “pretty” themed lines from Fall of 2022, this aesthetic has been taking the fashion world by storm. All over the industry, suits, dresses, tops, and accessories have been seen on luxury runways upcoming lines for Spring and Summer. “...while these shades are on the more subdued side, they've already managed to capture shoppers' attention…purchases of baby blue skirts increased by 232%, pale pink dress purchases increased by 145%, and pastel tops increased by 50% overall” (Fox-Suliaman). Icy pastels seem quite hot according to recent shopping statistics.

Translucent sheers and icy pastels are a popular trend in everything from shoes, evening gowns, blazers and suits to chiffon shirts and baby doll sheer puff dresses. Victoria Beckham, Raf Simons, Valentino, and Cong Tri are just a few of many designers who embraced pastel and gauzy sheer for their Spring/Summer ready to wear lines. Valentino and Laurent showed translucent on their runways. Emporio Armani (the middle range of the three Armani lines - falling between Giorgio Armani and Armani Exchange) featured a gorgeous and whimsical, yet surprisingly practical iridescent vest on its runway. The sheer brilliance of the piece was its versatility; the piece could go from brunch to cocktail depending on its pairings. That’s the beauty of the iridescent; its translation is up to the wearer.

Sheers on their surface may seem playful but they come with a serious aesthetic. “A second reason sheer pieces have been trending, Richards says, is ‘a corollary reaction to this year's (2022) political climate; with challenges against women's rights on the forefront, hyper-feminine and body-baring trends defy a climate created by legislation that restricts women's autonomy of their bodies” (Marzovilla). The more-revealing sheer clothing, aside from being a hot trend, is a nod to hyper femininity and our strides towards women rights. The trend allows women and men both to be more comfortable in their skin, and show it a little more too.

Sheer dressing has certain empowerment to it. Depending on how far you take it, there is a sense of daring that comes with going sheer, which is one reason for its lasting power. Iridescent pastels were, in the past, largely associated with an ultra-feminine aesthetic, but now are beginning to include everyone. A mainstream debut in suits and blazers, the look lends itself to a range of styles. Sheer fabrics have moved from swim coverups and tops over tanks to black tie. From youthful nods to elegant and mature ensembles, pastel and sheers have lasted beyond the lines of last Fall.


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