After shuffling awkwardly down the catwalk at London Fashion Week, one model struck up a hot new trend that’s going to define 2022: a severe limp. Jerome Vacuous was modelling an outfit from the Prétentieux Collection when he caught the attention of the Parisien fashion elite. It just wasn’t anything to do with the clothes he was wearing.
“The disability’s pretty recent, but instead of telling my employers, I thought I’d just go for it. Figured it was my last appearance to be honest,” Jerome told us. “I’m chuffed I sparked a trend, because otherwise I’d be fired on the spot.”
Jerome’s awkward gait has sparked a flurry of imitators desperate to chase the trend. In the months following his wonky debut, fashion houses Smucci and Yves Salivaté began hiring models with a similarly chic limp, with Versaucey reportedly building curved catwalks to better accommodate the new asymmetrical walk. Even teens on social media sites FlipFlop and Instaglam have taken up the trend, stumbling awkwardly through dance routines that critics have described as “not as dangerous as the Birdbox Challenge, but just as stupid.”
But this is nothing new; the limp has a long history as a fashion trend. It was popularised by 19th century poet Lord Byron on his long asymmetrical hikes around Europe. The disabled icon was an originator of our modern concept of celebrity. His club foot made it difficult for him to ramble — although he succeeded in his poetry, which rambled on quite a bit. He inspired a manic Beatlemania-level fandom in his audience, who turned his fashion choices into an iconic style. And his noticeable limp came along for the ride.
Disabled painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec reignited the trend so fiercely in the latter half of the century that stumbling around and barely remaining upright became synonymous with the Bohemian lifestyle (although that may have just been the absinthe).
Jerome Vacuous is delighted to see the trend return to the height of fashion once again. On where he’s heading next, Jerome told us, “I’m just glad I haven’t mentioned the chronic diarrhoea I get when my pain meds wear off. Wait. No. Stop writing. No one wants to see that become a trend. Please. I’m begging you.”