Fashion: It's time to take sides

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The Independent Online

Nothing is sacred in fashion – not even the mathematical formula for aesthetic perfection. Though symmetry has long been held key to the visual appeal of everything from the Taj Mahal to our faces, all things chic seemed a little unbalanced on the summer catwalks, as designers went asymmetric-crazy with single-strap dresses, tops and swimsuits.

At luxe French label Lanvin, this resulted in softly draped one-shoulder gowns that looked like perfect Greek goddess attire and have proved a hit among red-carpet deities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Katie Holmes.

At Gucci and Danielle Scutt, swimming costumes cut diagonally across the shoulder looked more Glamazon than Grecian, but beware the fatal flaw of this summer trend: the asymmetric tan line.

Neither have accessories escaped the wonky rework: Italian brand Sugarkane has scored an unlikely hit with its quirky lopsided aviator specs, while fine jewellers H Stern has spent three years producing a unique, asymmetrically cut diamond.

However, some forms of the trend are less convincing than others. Clearly torn between conventionally pretty flowing locks and a punky shaved style, model/ socialite Alice Dellal, for example, has opted for both at once with a do being touted, rather dubiously, as the new Aggy.

Clearly Ms Dellal hasn't read the recent book on symmetry by Oxford University's Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Finding Moonshine, in which he states: "The maths says all that asymmetry just adds up to a fashion disaster." But fear not: fancy equations shouldn't be necessary to avoid similar mishaps; a mirror should suffice.