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Style file: Let denim rip

The only way to wear your denim this spring is shredded, spliced and love-worn, writes Natalie Rigg

Regardless of age, gender or size, denim is the universal thread that runs through all of our, well, threads. It has become a symbol of modernity, practicality and fuss-free style. This spring/summer season, however, the timeless twill gets roughed-up and the results pack a serious punch.

London-based duo Marques’Almeida can be credited with spearheading the trend on the catwalk: raw-edged denim has become the label’s leitmotif, netting them press and legions of fans at retail even though the label is barely three years old. Spring was no exception, as they turned out asymmetric jackets, tube tops and louche, flared jeans with fraying seams that seem to unravel across the body.

“Paola [Almeida] and I spent days going through old nineties editions of The Face magazine, and became obsessed with that whole period in street style of really worn, lived-in denim,” says Marta Marques. Isabel Marant, queen of Parisian insouciance, struck a similar chord, criss-crossing chambray shorts with distressed checks; while Junya Watanabe took the theme to new extremes, adorning cropped boyfriend cuts with glitzy beaded trims and clashing floral appliqués.


The latter are redolent of  our last fling with overworked designer denim – the feather and bead-embellished hippy styles Tom Ford offered for Gucci in 1999 – and Watanabe’s have garnered a similar cult status.

But, if all that patching, cross-hatching and beading feels a little overt, then look to JW Anderson, who teamed pleated indigo midi skirts with waist-honing twist tops that are sure to please classicists. Or try Theyskens’ Theory’s sharp white shift, complete with worn denim neckline.

Elsewhere, the Gap’s versatile true-blue skinnies with subtle patchwork details require minimal investment for maximum impact, while MiH’s bleach-wash jacket will top-off a printed sun dress with ease.

Needless to say, each artfully distressed piece only requires the simplest of additions. Just avoid matching your top with your bottom – unless you’re going for the B*Witched look. C’est la vie.