Ah, festival season. The heady, glitter-sprinkled summer merry-go-round of beats, boy bands, boho fringing, mosh pits, mojitos and flower crowns. Thousands descend on all corners of the globe, wristbands up to their elbows, red cups in hand and in the words of Matthew Healy, ‘everyone`s having a really good time’.
For me, the best thing about festival season is the fashion, or rather, lack of. When else can you pair a fringed waistcoat with metallic drainpipe jeans, or a holographic rain coat and dungarees? Or wear a holographic rain coat in general? This is the glory of festivals. In the mud-spattered mosh pits, more is more and anything goes. At Parklife a couple of weeks ago, I happened to come across an avid festival-goer dressed head to toe in orange crochet teamed with a papier-mache sculpture of a genie lamp on their head. Why? Not a clue. But it reinstated my belief that festivals are arenas for sartorial statements. If you want to bop to Anderson Paak and Frank Ocean wearing a genie lamp headdress then go for it. You do you.
Festivals were born out of the Swinging Sixties, with the notorious Woodstock festival occurring in 1969. Long before that however came the US`s first ever rock festival- Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain. A trippier name is hard to imagine but it was a success, comprising of 30 of America`s groovy acts- The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and a group of Hells Angels included an acid doctor and several helicopters to drop LSD into the crowd. Just two weeks later came the legendary Monterey Pop Festival which gave stage to icons such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin, The Who and Ravi Shaker, and of course, two years later, Woodstock happened and it rocked the music world and set a pace for festivals forever. Attended by 400,000 people, it was a 4 day-long gathering of groovers from across the US and was included in the Rolling Stone`s list of 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll. No surprise. The festival fever epidemic was about to spread, and with it came a whole new approach to dress.
The concept of ‘festival style’ probably first derived from the wave of 70s looks from flares, fringe and feathers. The girls and groupies at these festivals set the tone for festival looks, and like the rock songs celebrating them, their styles were timeless hits too. Sable Starr and her peroxide curls, Bebe Buell enveloped in fox fur, Pamela des Barres’ thick smudgy lashes peeking out from under a daisy crown, Bianca Jagger rocking a white Le Smoking, and Anita Pallenberg winning over not one but two rock legends (Keith Richards and Brian Jones) with a choppy fringe, a floppy hat and bohemian patchwork fabrics. My personal favourite was Lori Maddox who wooed in crisp and creamy furs paired with dark curls and classic Daisy Dukes. Iconic. These women broke the rules of appearance, style and sexuality.
These 70s sexpots still inspire festival-goers today. Bebe Buell is to thank for Coachella favourite flower crown trend. But since looks have become more daring and more decadent. The ‘fest-dressed’ list for this year’s Coachella, for example, includes VS model Dilone clad in a Moschino jelly-bean print bodysuit, Martha Hunt looking bronzed and willowy in micro metallic hot pants, Jourdan Dunn glowing in an amber-coloured co-ord and Jasmine Tookes enchants in a bohemian white linen dress, lace bralet and fedora.
Street-style was equally awe-inspiring with festival-goers sporting everything from denim bandeaus to statement headwear to thigh high boots. Sports luxe was a perennial favourite, with some ravers dressed head to toe in a mix of mesh, cut-outs and trainers, in either an Adidas or Nike camp. Others went old school and were logo-loaded in vintage Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
Glastonbury’s done and brought Corbyn, glittery bikinis and re-vamped denim dungarees. We`re not even halfway through the summer and already my appetite for festival jaunts, in all their sequined, flower-crowned glory is only growing. Bring. It. On.