Veiled Influence

gossamer runway and the return of sheers

Carolina Herrara

Gone are the days of de rigueur voile curtains behind interlined panels, and most of us are glad of it.  The truth is curtains as we know them have changed radically in the last quarter century – due in part to mass marketed hard treatments, the popularity of roman shades, and window films that control UV.   I also have a theory that the way we live in the Google age of the 21st century, with the world ever more transparent, is changing the way we dress (women more than men) and decorate. Doesn’t it make sense that fashions fascination with over-exposure rages on?

During my days as a curtain workroom owner, I had occasion to work with many interior design creatives who culled inspiration from the boutiques of Madison Ave.   Last night while joyously clicking through the Fashion Week collections on I began to think about how the many peek-a-boo frocks might be re-envisioned as window decoration.

Carolina Herrara‘s white skirt (pictured above), layered with ribbon edged voile and stylized treble clef – could be envisioned as unlined ivory linen with an overlay of a Great Plains scrim that’s been bordered with grosgrain ribbon.  I’d make the curtains with tiny button holes, sliding ‘key rings’ over a minimal metal pole, and no pleats.


Alexander Wang

While technically not sheer, Alexander Wang chose to interject horizontal open spaces with metered thread ‘struts’.  The idea is perfect for a room that could benefit from some privacy screening or where the view is less than stellar – while still allowing for ambient light.  I’m imagining alternating bands of dove grey and barely-there-beige connected by a strand of crocheted tatting yarn.


Catherine Malandrino

This jacket by Catherine Malandrino clearly has her channeling David Hicks.  I immediately think of Rosen & Chadick in New York’s garment center where I’ve seen this fabric before.  I’d buy it in the palest shade of blue (or have it dyed at Isquierdo Studio) and hang it over a soft shade of sage curtains.  Done the same way it would make a great roman.



As one of Anna Wintour’s omnipresent ‘rat-pack’ design houses, Thakoon continues to show what are for me some of the best a la minute clothes.  This is the outfit that inspired this post.  Can’t you imagine the combination of solid, sheer and sheer print easily translated into curtains?  My husband David thinks the idea would inevitably read as feminine, to which I counter a masculine balance could be achieved with a slightly textured solid and neutral palate.


3.1 Phillip Lim

This dress from the 3.1 Phillip Lim collection is less an exercise in envisioning fashion as window treatment as it is in knowing about resources.  I have to admit I’m not sure where Yves Gonnet fabrics are rep’d these days.., last time I thought about them they were in a D&D showroom on the 2nd floor.  Leave a comment below if you’ve got the answer.  In any case there are any number dressmaker fabric stores that carry burnout fabrics that would make  an amazing over lay.  ‘Topaz’ from Fabricut (an incredible polyester taffeta which comes in nearly 90 iridescent colors) would make a great under layer.


Well, it’s been a long day, and it seems I’ve made my point.  Here are some of the other runway looks that inspired my thoughts about modern sheers.  What I think is really interesting is that in fashion the ‘slip’ (does anyone still wear them?) was under, now they’re over.  Will the trend reach interior design?

BCBG Max Azria

Brandon Sun

Carlos Miele

Jeremy Laing