Nothing But Net: Fashion Gives Face Time to Veils, Trim, and Other Ornamentation

There’s something provocative and sexy about obscuring, ever-so-slightly, the details of a face with a touch of fine netting. Bridal veils, of course, have a long and storied history. Designers and stylists have been drawing inspiration from the trim on mid-century hats to add intrigue to some of the season’s high-fashion looks.

Raf Simons designing for Jil Sander is at the forefront of the trend, and the fashion press approves. Vogue featured this head-to-toe Jil Sander look, including a wool dress, bijoux brooches, a hat with veil, a bag, and pumps in the magazine’s January 2012 issue.

The February 2012 issue of Elle similarly features a look that is head-to-to Jil Sander, including a knit hat with veil trim and cluster-style crystal earrings from Jil Sander Bijoux.

Most of the stylings that include open-weave versions of netting do not include earrings. This may be a practical nod to the fact that care must be taken not to catch veiling on prongs or other findings, a possibility that increases with the size of the weave (a non-issue with the vast majority of bridal veils). However, netting is usually a hallmark of an elegant retro look that calls for jewels somewhere in an ensemble.

The March 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar promotes the new elegant skirt suit. The photo at center shows a model in a suit and hat with veil trim from the Jil Sander runway show. The classic style charm bracelet shown at lower right is from Fred Leighton.

Sarah Burton designing for Alexander McQueen has also tapped into the trend in an edgier variation. A gown and headpiece from Alexander McQueen are featured in the March 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

A fur felt fascinator with attached veil from Barbara Feinman Millinery is pictured as part of a spread on “Midcentury Mod” in the March 2012 issue of Lucky. The beaded necklace is from the resin chain-link bracelet is from Kenneth Cole New York.

The March 2012 issue of InStyle pictures actress Kat Graham in a Chanel dress and jacket with pearl detail and a hat with netting from Scala Collezione. Her bracelets are from Eddie Borgo. She also wears Gaspar Gloves by Dorothy Gaspar fingerless gloves and Attilio Giusti Leombruni oxfords.

Actress Rose Byrne is featured in a multi-page fashion spread in the March 2012 issue of InStyle wearing various hats, including a Jil Sander hat with veil, and the above-pictured fur felt hat with veil and feathers from Leah C. Couture Millinery. Byrne’s dress is from Proenza Schouler. She also wears XIV Karats Ltd. Beverly Hills diamond and 14k gold bracelets and a Lauren Craft diamond and 14k gold ring. Her clutch is from Lena Erziak.

Singer Christina Aguilera is pictured in the February 2012 issue of Marie Claire wearing netting over her face.


A profile of actress Drew Barrymore in the February 2012 issue of InStyle includes a retrospective of her various looks over the years. At the Grey Gardens premiere in 2009, she wore bobbed hair and a fine veil over her face. Barrymore is quoted: “Any day you can go out with a net over your face is kind of the bomb.”

Speaking of celebrities, here’s a photo of Miss Piggy from the November 2011 issue of InStyle picturing the fashionista wearing a Jason Wu ostrich-feather dress with lace and lace veil.  She wears the veil over her signature pearls, identified as “her own.”

At the 2012 Grammy Awards, it was fun to see Lady Gaga dial up the look with an ensemble featuring rhinestone-studded large-scale netting in an ensemble with a structured metallic gold bodice and matching scepter from Versace.

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