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Sheer looks from Meadham Kirchhoff, Sass & Bide, Christopher Shannon, and 3.1 Phillip Lim

Sheers were regulars on the trend circuit long before Beyoncé appeared at the 2012 Met Gala wearing a diaphanous Givenchy gown. The look’s staying power comes from its versatility. “Unlike other fabrics,” explained fashion consultant Yasmin Sewell, “a single layer allows a designer to explore possibilities in depth and illusion.”

A quiet translucence has taken effect on the womenswear front. Sass & Bide (above, center) showed a Resort ’14 collection with long, sheer panels over simple skirts. Vera Wang traded minimalism for romance by piling on the sheer layers. In one instance, a delicate dot-pattern shift appeared underneath another shift embroidered with matte paillettes. Known for his cool and straightforward aesthetic, Phillip Lim (above, right) produced sheer shorts in white and blue for his latest play-while-you-work collection.

When it came to sheers in menswear, London-based designers were among the first to experiment. The various incarnations were far more structured, referencing traditional tailoring. Meadham Kirchhoff (above, left) offered a lineup of translucent jackets crafted from yellow-tinged and cloudy green rubber. Benjamin Kirchhoff denied any sort of deeper meaning in its use, but he did confess to being moved by the fabric’s texture. Christopher Shannon (above, center) went so far as to wet sheer nylon in an effort to capture an out-all-night-clubbing vibe. “I’d never want it to look too soft, so we used some really fine nylons as layers this season,” Shannon told Style.com. “It’s something that felt modern and sporty but had fluidity.”

Photos: Courtesy of Meadham Kirchhoff; Courtesy of Sass & Bide; Filippo Fior/ InDigital/ GoRunway (Christopher Shannon); Courtesy of 3.1 Phillip LimĀ 

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