Whether you agree or not with Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress being named by Time magazine as the most “iconic" fashion statement of 2010, you have to give this pop diva your vote on one count: the absolute conviction with which she disregards every fashion diktat and twists all rules to make way for new ideas. From the custom-made Giorgio Armani Privé dress she wore to the Grammy Awards in January, to the Alexander McQueen dress paired with the Armadillo shoes and a Mohawk head piece for the MTV 2010 VMAs, and finally, the “iconic" meat dress—Lady Gaga is one fashionista who knows the importance of being unpredictable. And she has shown us that over and over again in 2010.

What’s next? Lady Gaga’s ‘iconic’ flank frock. Mark Ralston / AFP

But the big surprise she sprung on me this year was not that her fetish for fashion went past my comfort level, but that she has started taking baby steps towards unpredictability— well, the lehenga she chose was orange and not pink and yes, that is a huge experiment when you are a seven-year-old and your mother is not Katie Holmes.

And though she is (hopefully, fingers crossed) light years away from going the Lady Gaga way, her little experiments away from the norm (read that as pink, pink and more pink) bring to the fore that she is beginning to understand the oldest rule that every style diva swears by: There are really no ironclad conventions when it comes to fashion.

So we decided to end this year with some serious rule-flaunting too. Our cover story “Dress up, dress down" is all about doing away with the matchy-matchy heels, coordinated handbags, not-a-hair-out-of-place look. This is the time to pair a couture gown with a grungy jacket or a lehenga top with an LBD, work at mixing textures, mismatching fabrics, and creating what we call the “the tadka look". In our book, there is no better way to bid adieu to 2010 and usher in 2011 than by living up to the most important rule of a true fashionista: Break all rules.

As your social calendar fills up with invitations to New Year’s Eve parties, black tie dos and casual brunches, keep this little mantra in mind when you put your party look together: Irreverent is in. Juxtapose evening wear with everyday wear to introduce a little bit of the unexpected in your ensembles. And then watch how adding a dash of dishevelled to ultra glamour becomes intoxicating simply because it creates a look that is unpredictable.

And those of you who still want a style bible: Well, camel was big this year, and will not rule the racks any more. Replace it with honeysuckle or sherbety pink. Saris are everywhere. Guys, ditch checks and move to florals, invest in statement sandals, and forget toons—opt for the tees with a paint-splattered feel.

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