Forget mermaidcore — Halle Bailey is dressing like she's queen of the sea
Halle Bailey has fully embraced her role as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid."
Look no further than her recent red-carpet looks: from sea-colored gowns to shell-shaped tops.
While her style touches on the mermaidcore fashion trend, it also takes it to another level.
If her fashion is any indication, Halle Bailey might not actually be part of our world.
The 23-year-old actor will make her debut as Ariel in Disney's "The Little Mermaid" when it's released on May 26. But already, she's embraced the role in a very specific way: through her fashion.
Since the Oscars in March, Bailey has floated down red carpets in outfits that look like they were pulled from a mythical, underwater realm (and a glamorous one, at that).
Her sea-inspired fashion is so strong that it threatens to throw the mermaidcore fashion trend out the window. Bailey, it seems, aims to be queen of the sea.
While the Dolce & Gabbana gown she wore to the Oscars matched the ocean — it was made from aqua-colored tulle and flowed around her like water — her Met Gala gown, designed by Gucci, was a visual representation of mermaidcore.
Its halter neckline evoked summer style, and its see-through, column shape had the sleek, sultry vibe of a sea siren. And that's not to mention the coral-esque cape she wore draped around her arms.
"I really felt like this gown captured the magic and joy, especially of the mermaid vibes kicking off for me," Bailey told Extra on the night, adding that it also had "Chanel vibes to honor Karl" — a reference to Karl Lagerfeld, the late German designer honored at this year's fashion event.
But she didn't stop there. Styled by Nichole Goodman, Bailey walked the blue carpet on Monday at "The Little Mermaid" premiere in her most mermaid-esque outfit yet.
Her Valdrin Sahiti gown was crafted from a silver fabric that looked like liquid on her body with a wave-shaped neckline, as though Bailey herself is emerging from the sea. It's quite literally a scene from "The Little Mermaid."
So why is Bailey dressing in mermaidcore? Is it clever PR for Disney, does she connect that strongly with her character, or does she just love the aesthetic?
Most likely, it's probably a mix of the three.
The actor is also embracing a role that many people did not want her to have.
Bailey was cast as Ariel in 2019 and became the target of racism from people who argued that Ariel shouldn't be Black. When the first "Little Mermaid" trailer dropped in 2022, it sparked racist comments about her hair, which was Ariel's signature red shade but styled in locs.
So every time Bailey steps on a red carpet dressed in mermaidcore — like the tan, see-through gown from Georges Chakra that resembles fishing net, which she wore on Thursday— she's making a statement: She is Ariel, and young Black girls deserve to see her as such.
Bailey is not the first actor to mirror the style of a character they've played on red carpets, but looking at her recent wardrobe, it's clear she's made a splash that goes beyond a simple fashion trend.
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