When I was a kid I had a thing for asymmetric fashion. It was a look championed by the two women I idolised: Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Blake’s 7’s Servalan. Watching them I was torn between wanting to be a singer or a sociopathic intergalactic despot. Either way, I was sure that I wanted a life full of sarcastic quips, adventure, dancing, and a wardrobe full of great, one-sleeved tops.
Well things didn’t quite work out. Instead of ruling the galaxy I’m here, writing for you. Wearing a cardigan. I mainly listen to music in the car on the way to the supermarket and, though I am good at sarcastic quips, unless you’re devastatingly beautiful or intimidatingly violent, most people find that pretty annoying.
So this season’s trend for asymmetry brought up some painful memories. The lop-sided, off-balance look was everywhere at the shows. There were tops and dresses at Ralph Lauren and Roksanda Ilincic; skirts at Marni, tunics at Marques’Almeida, shirts with hems that rose and fell at Stella McCartney and mismatched earrings at Nina Ricci. The whole season was brilliantly wonky.
The trend has been enthusiastically picked up by the high street, too. I think Ms Harry would love Whistles’s Copacabana top and Servalan would look great in this space-age skirt by young designer D’Albert. Look out for Julia D’Albert’s work even if you’re not a dictator wanting to make an entrance. She’s very good.
If you find the severity and flesh flashing of these designs off-putting, you can still dabble. There are many clothes that play with asymmetry. This HM shirt ticks so many trend boxes: it’s blue, its rolls of material give a sense of layering (also key in 2015) and you could wear it to an office. Stripes are another great cheat. Many dresses and tops switch the direction of stripes to give an illusion of a complicated interplay of shapes in a form that’s very easy to wear.
If you just want to nod to this trend, wear mismatched earrings. I’m sure you’ve got one stud, one long earring in your jewellery box, or buy this pair from Masterpeace. Evgenia Linovich reinterprets traditional Russian arts and crafts designs for the modern day. The results are ornate and bonkers.
The catwalk shot I’ve chosen here is from Jean Paul Gaultier’s final ready-to-wear collection, held last September. He quit because he says he’s fed up of the frenetic pace of the shows, that they don’t let him express his creativity. The collection was a joyous greatest hits among which were a section of Mexican wrestler-inspired clothes. Here’s one look: isn’t it lovely and ridiculous?
Looking at this and the many other asymmetric designs on Gaultier’s catwalk made me glad that Debbie and Servalan gave me such unrealistic ideas for my life and clothes. I’m never going to dance at Studio 54 nor annihilate a planet on a whim, but those aspirations have still shaped who I am. I get why Gaultier doesn’t want to put on shows that feel like a compromise. Sometimes dreams are meant to be just that.
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