WTF is ... Dégradé

Degrade
Photo: Getty Images

'Tis the season of dégradé. And no, I don't mean "degrade"—like "disrespect." I would never suggest to disrespect fashion.

I mean the dégradé of Sies Marjan. Of Altuzarra. Of this Oscar de la Renta strapless tulle gown that would (side note) be a fantastic wedding dress option.

Let's start with the pronunciation. Because of all the accents, it's important to clarify. Duh-Grah-Day. Voilà!

Dégradé is the term used to describe a fabric with colors that are gradually shaded or faded. Similar to tie-dye, the colors appear to blend into each other, like a sunset, but unlike tie-dye, the effect is less overt. What you get is the appearance of all colors of the spectrum, from deep to light, just like your BFF's recent ombré hair color job. You see all gradations of a color rather than splotches here and there.

For Spring 2018, Oscar de la Renta's creative directors, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, celebrated the brand's storied love of art. This translated into paint splattered tops and beaucoup de dégradé. Joseph Altuzarra has been including a dégradé print in his collection for a few seasons now, proving the trend has commercial value. And now, we're seeing the style that was once reserved mostly for couture gowns, trickle down to fast-fashion retailers, like Zara.

So the next time you spill some water on your pastel pink blazer, don't fret. Just blend and say it's dégradé, mon amour.

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