The Next Wave Of Mermaid Dresses Has Arrived

Photo: Matthias Nareyek/ Getty Images.
The mermaid dress silhouette is quite distinctive, and it's synonymous with a very specific type of party dressing: glamorous, elegant, and a little constricting. (Let's not forget Kendall Jenner's formfitting mermaid gown from Topshop for the 2014 Met Gala, which was so snug, she opted to lay horizontally across the backseat of her ride to the big event.) The shape has been around for decades, and it hasn't really been innovated or modernized much. But designers like Jonathan Simkhai and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci have made a few key adjustments that turn the fanciness factor down slightly, while keeping things ultra-elegant.

These iterations of the mermaid dress, first and foremost, are not as tightly fitted down the skirt. The mixed lace and silky materials put them closer to the "slips" category. They're softer and looser, but retain the structural elements to create that signature flared skirt. Plus, these new-wave mermaid numbers are cropped. Instead of a long, flowing train, the hemlines cut right above the ankle to allow for a little more leg movement (all the better to show off one's shoes). These dresses are primed for parties of all sorts — not just those you have to roll out a red carpet for. Ahead, see four takes on the updated silhouette.
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Photo: Jennifer Lourie/ Getty Images.
Rachel McAdams' bonded midi Little White Dress by Jonathan Simkhai features some nice white-on-white patterning that creates a slight see-through effect. The trumpet silhouette opens up the formfitting skirt, the cropped length giving the flounce hem even more volume.
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Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX Shutterstock.
Simkhai for the win! Diane Guerrero's dress by the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-winning designer features a statement flute skirt, made from black grid lace, which contrasts the smooth blue skirt.
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Photo: Andrew Toth/ Getty Images.
Amanda Seyfried combines two of the stand-out dress trends we've been eyeing lately: the cropped mermaid and the slip. What separates this particular Givenchy style from the simple, bedroom-apropos fare is elegant lace-like detailing along the neckline and the skirt, right before it opens up into a sort of high-low cascade.
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Photo: Matthias Nareyek/ Getty Images.
Similar to Guerrero's grid-lace number, Gigi Hadid's Sally LaPointe dress boasts an eye-catching flounce hem.The feathery detailing draws the eye to the skirt, where the mermaid silhouette takes shape.
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