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April 1, 2012updated Feb 11, 2013

MESH EFFECT

By Chris Boyle

As temperatures start to rise, go ahead and show some skin: This season, mesh is the trend that’s linking the menswear collections together.

As a leader in the luxury menswear market, Dolce & Gabbana set the tone with myriad interpretations of the trend, taking the look from subtle, pointillist- inspired holes on shorts and overalls to sporty netting on a singlebreasted suit jacket.

At Bottega Veneta, usually sartorially reserved designer Tomas Maier also tried his hand at the trend. Although he never showed skin, he did come up with a clever alternative, incorporating a trompe l’oeil effect with complicated knitwear patterns to give the illusion of mesh.

Other more reserved interpretations of the style came from Z Zegna and Dirk Bikkembergs. Both labels showed slightly sheer knits and sweaters that gave just a shadowy glimpse of the body beneath the fabric. At Jil Sander and Versace the open weaves were even wider in textural tops, often topped with jackets for a touch of modesty. Ever the innovator, Donatella Versace even sent a transparent shirt, emblazoned with a mesh tattoo pattern, down the runway—although a look this bold might be best left to the red carpet. And of course there were the more traditional athletic-inspired mesh designs on a few of the catwalks. Moncler Gamme Bleu inserted mesh bands into nylon vests and hoodies for a sportif vibe, while the spring showing from Calvin Klein Collection delivered a classic mesh muscle shirt.

The trend’s difficulty is also part of what makes it so appealing. How do you make mesh work when your body isn’t in tip-top shape? The simplest answer is to layer the look. Use mesh as a way to bring a bit of texture to an otherwise reserved ensemble.

If nothing else, the wide variety of takes on the trend this season proves that mesh has found a legitimate place in fashion beyond the locker room.

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