We can thank Demna Gvasalia for our obsession with artful, off-shoulder styling. His debut autumn/winter 2016 show for Balenciaga showcased an upscale anorak (look 8 to be precise), which was cut and styled to be worn peeled-down off the shoulders. The contrast of wearing ordinary outerwear as though it was an exotic opera coat was startlingly modern, and the trend for 'shrobing' (i.e. shoulder-robing) was born.London Fashion Week's Biggest Trends
London Fashion Week's Biggest Trends
"I think there’s always appeal in a look that appears nonchalant and ‘thrown on’ which is what this is (similar thing with the shirt half tucked in, half tucked out) although, of course, it takes a lot more prepping than if you just put your coat on properly," says Vogue's fashion features director, Sarah Harris. "I also like that it has a sort of Fifties couture element to it – if you’re applying it to something like a trench coat – the way those necklines were pushed back which in turn made the neck look longer."
Fast forward to 2017's February fashion month, and it seems the only way to wear that new-season pinstriped shirt, puffer, or track top, is yanked downwards - the neckline skimming the décolletage, and revealing the back of the neck. There are a few rules to note in order to pull off a successful shrobe. "It doesn’t work with every coat, the fabric has to be fairly fluid, you can’t take a tailored wool coat and shrobe it, it just looks wrong," advises Harris. Be prepared to go hands-free: There's no shoulder left to hang a handbag on, so it's about going it alone with an iPhone and credit card and making the most of utility pockets. Shrobing also demands an assortment of plush polo necks to drive away the cold - the tighter the better to keep the neck looking elongated rather than swaddled.
ADVERTISEMENT10 Best Trench Coats
10 Best Trench Coats
Our advice? Move quickly. There's the danger of the shrobing trend reaching saturation point - "in the same way that propping coats over shoulders became so ubiquitous a few seasons ago," warns Harris. "We might all have to actually start wearing a coat properly, with arms fed through sleeves and fitted on the shoulders. Actually, in NY I saw someone tie a coat around her neck using the sleeves, like a scarf. A scarf coat. A scoat. Maybe that will catch on."