In fragrance and fashion, the past several seasons have seen a gradient transition from black (definite and dramatic) to white (clean and luxuriously wholesome) to the latest trend of translucence. “See-through” carries with it distinctive values, and the influence filters through haute couture runways to living rooms and into perfume bottles.
First and foremost, translucence is about simplicity. It’s about a clear vision unencumbered by layers that conceal what’s really there. Rather than transforming your home, your body, or your identity with complicated, distracting design, this trend puts function and essence on full display, opting for a celebration of life’s inner workings.
Transparent and translucent fashion exposes bodies, taking pride in the strategic baring of skin. Clear Converse Chuck Taylor All Star tennis shoes can expose either hand knitted socks or bare toes, but they’re a funky, forward-looking reflection of this intimate trend.
Likewise, Etat Libre d’Orange’s You or Someone Like You perfume is a celebration of identity, along with the foibles and flaws that define our humanity. In a field of ornate, over-designed fragrance packages, Etat Libre d’Orange conspicuously spends no time, money, or energy on its perfume bottles, preferring a transparency requiring each fragrance to speak for itself. The perfume is a delicate veil of grass, rose, mint, and a hint of musk.
Runways are replete with clear or super-sheer materials, ranging from full nudity on display to tantalizing glimpses of sections of skin. Sheer materials in gauzy whites, pastels, and even barely-there black span a range of looks – demure, professional, sexy, and outrageous.
Even the foods we eat can be a reflection of larger trends, and no offering could possibly capture this spirit better than Darren Wong’s Raindrop Cake. Originally created in his kitchen and sold at New York City’s Smorgasburg food market, the Raindrop Cake is a take on the Japanese dessert mizu shingen mocha. It’s a perfectly clear, shimmering, jiggling confection made of mineral water and agar.
The Raindrop Cake is refreshing, but nearly flavorless on its own, so it’s served with sides of brown sugar syrup and roasted soybean flour. Completely free of animal products, Wong’s viral food creation is the edible version of the transparent trend.
We’re accustomed to color being a statement, one of the most critical choices in décor. What, then, do we make of clear furniture and transparent dishes? These remain design choices, of course, but they’re choices that foreground function rather than fashion. What else is a clear chair than simply a piece of furniture made to sit upon?
In addition to packaging trends like stripped-down labels and simple, clear bottles, one of the most interesting aspects of the clear, transparent trend in fragrances is found in the ingredients that comprise these perfumes, or rather the ingredients that don’t comprise these products. Marketing of many new fragrances tout their status as gluten-free, cruelty-free, or paraben-free. These new labeling trends highlight a sense of transparency and a look at the insides of fragrances in general.
The entire Clean fragrance brand is the perfect example of the intimate, see-through fragrance trend. Their tagline is “Our Name is Our Promise,” expressing a what-you-see-is-what-you-get mindset. The Clean Skin line was ahead of the curve on nearly-nude fragrance, and even their newest Clean Lovegrass fragrance weaves together a sheer veil of light botanicals with natural musk, resulting in a light scent that doesn’t obscure who we really are.
Transparency is equally about what is there and what isn’t there. It’s being unashamed of identity, appearance, and character, free from the instinct to cover up the functional aspects of our bodies, lives, homes, and fragrances.