The desert dust may have settled, but with UK festival season warming up nicely on the sidelines … I still have Coachella on my mind
Paying close attention to what the cool girls and boys are wearing at Coachella is the equivalent of an early fashion forecast - the heads up for what's on the style horizon, something to chew over for a few weeks and inspiration for your own custom-built festival wardrobe.
Jazz FM's Love Supreme Festival is first up on my summer festival programme. Described by The Guardian as 'the British jazz world’s Glastonbury', Love Supreme combines a class jazz, funk, soul, fusion and blues bill with a modern, green field boutique experience and top class DJs. This year's line up includes De La Soul, Gregory Porter, Soul II Soul and Incognito and if last year's inaugural festival is anything to go by then my confident prediction is that it will be epic. Cannot. Wait.
Festivals have many awesome components. Essentially, amazing live music you can dance to without abandon, singing in cheery unison with the crowd. Cold beer and cider in plastic cups that goes down just a little too easily. Quite good food, especially with veggie and street food options. Mates you know and love and new weekend mates you make.
For me, without question though, Festivals are about FASHION. A fantastic platform to express yourself and experiment with new looks - after all, it's a festival, not work, and you have sartorial free rein. For the past few years I have meticulously researched, planned and plotted my festival outfits, accessories and makeup weeks in advance. Sometimes, it's worked. Other times, I've looked like a plonker and I'll spare you the photos. But, it's intrinsic and I take influence from a variety of sources: Kate Moss, Stevie Nicks, Grace Potter, Kate Bosworth and Solange to name a few.
Here's what I learnt from Coachella this year...
1. Denim cut offs and white look good together, especially with a print belt. Probably best for the beginning of the day though, and take a stylish layer for warmth and spillage-cover up later on when the sun goes down. We do not live in the desert and we'll have a beer rather than a water, thanks.
2. Any type of scuffed boot - be it Cowboy or Chunky Lace Up - is great and guaranteed mud / water / stamped-on-foot proof. However, utilitarian practical flats, chunky 'fuglies' and sliders have emerged as a covetable alternative. If it's good enough for my other favourite Kate then I'm willing to give it a try.
3. Tartan is not going anywhere soon and Jared Leto wears it well, casually pared with ombre hair and clash-print trousers. Gingham is summer's alternative to tartan and looks particularly good in sugary shades of lilac and pink or vibrant red. A roughed up battered leather jacket and boots will help it avoid looking too saccharine or that you're off to see the wizard.
4. 90s-cool is showing no signs of abating which is music to my ears. Chokers and vintage T-shirts make interesting additions to your festival wardrobe. See Francis Bean looking effortlessly cool circa 1993.
5. Fringed leather whether in jacket or bag form looks great with shorts, dresses and bared legs. Reference: Poppy Delevingne at her envy-inducing hen do at Coachella (oh to be part of the #Popchella crew) or my favourite Kate in her Kate Moss x Topshop version.
6. Coordinated top and bottom sets provide a great alternative to the trusted festival dress or playsuit. It is a look I have coveted for months and is fun and stylish. What Would Beyonce Do? She'd wear a matching top and bottom set from Topshop Boutique, of course.
7. Let your inner tomboy loose in understated sports chic. Possibly my favourite look to emerge from this year's Coachella and channelled effortlessly by Zoe Kravitz. It looks chic, understated and insouciant. You: 'oh, this old thing?' Reality: spending hours deciding exactly which shade, length and fit of tank dress will work with those boots. They'll never know.
8. Kimono coats made an appearance. Floaty, fringed and printed they look great with denim or clashed with a print. Helpfully, they can be squished into a bag and popped on later when it gets a bit nippy. I'm still partial to a slogan sweatshirt but may just dabble on one of the festival nights to mix things up a bit.
9. White lace looks pretty lovely, and accessorised with simple jewellery is uncomplicated but still striking. Same rules apply, keep it interesting with sliders (see 2), leather (see 5.) and plenty of jewellery.
10. Never ever underestimate the power of a great dress. Especially one with an unusual print, that covers you up tastefully but still makes heads turn. Vintage is always a winner as there's less chance of outfit clash.
So, ladies, the fashion forecast is looking very fine indeed at this stage.
Coachella provides a great source of inspiration, a covetable look-book and a chance to see what the cool Californians are wearing. Now it's time to turn what you've seen on its head...English-style.
Good luck with your research.