Get ready to frock ’n’ roll: Festival fashion

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Can you wear a sequinned dress to a festival? Which style of sunglasses stand out in a crowd? Two of this summer’s hippest performers give Carola Long tips on looking fashionable in a field


Little Boots, singer


I am having some special pieces made this year. Henry Holland is designing me an outfit for Glastonbury, based on his new collection but covered in crystals. Then there are a lot of new designers who I am working with, such as this guy called Manjit Deu. He won MA Collection of the Year at the London College of Fashion and makes dresses with huge sequins that look like scales, and feathers.

When I’m not on stage, I might wear the same sort of theme but just a bit toned down, so maybe jeans and wellies with a graphic print top or a little dress. Last year I got heckled by passers-by for wearing heeled cowboy boots. It didn't put me off though, I hate not wearing heels because I'm only five foot. Last year was the only time I’ve really done the camping thing and it was a bit of a disaster, so I’m staying on the tour bus this year.

It always gets cold at night, so I would take a big chunky, woolly cardigan that you can tie round your waist if you don’t want to carry it. Cute dresses and cool accessories are a must – I like big statement necklaces because they really liven up casual clothes. I have some made out of crystal or feathers.

It’s hard to be practical and look hot.The technique is to go for a really practical bottom half and an interesting top or a sequinned dress with old wellies. Festivals are all about that kind of juxtaposition of the glamorous and the practical. I’m going to wear some new Ray-Bans that I really love – they are Fifties style with a pale yellow top. I’ve also got some great big Prada ones that are good for hiding from the world.

I don’t go for a full face of make-up but I was definitely outside my tent in the morning with a little mirror trying to get my mascara on. You gotta do it. I think make-up wise I would go for tinted moisturiser, mascara and some lip balm. Sometimes if you sleep in your make up it can look quite cool, or you might just look like a dirty stop-out. Many a morning I’ve still been a bit drunk, looked in the mirror and thought I looked really nice. Then I’ve seen photos and thought ‘hmmm’.

Avoid festival faux pas. I don’t like it when people treat them as an excuse to go all tribal: beads, tie dye, anything pagan. Fair enough if you are actually into the pagan vibe, but some people get a bit too boho-happy and it gets a bit friends of the earth. And why do people wear tutus, not even fairy outfits, just tutus? But then who am I to judge?

Little Boots’ new album ‘Hands’ is out today.

Shingai Shoniwa, vocalist and bassist for The Noisettes

I’m planning to compete with all the summer birds. I like colours that reflect the seasons, such as bright greens, oranges and yellows. Shorts and playsuits are good because you can run around in them, do cartwheels, sit down cross-legged, but still get quite a sexy look, especially if they are tight at the waist.

I like my clothes flamboyant and snug, but not restrictive. I have quite a few playsuits. I’ve got a good early Nineties Moschino one that was a dress but I had it converted. My friend Amechi, who is a really great designer, made me a good playsuit in the middle of the night. We got back from the Nicholas Kirkwood show at about two in the morning, opened a bottle of wine, then he got out a tape measure, we sketched a pic, and by half four he had made me the most beautiful, sexy, little playsuit. It was like the kind of thing the early, sexy Minnie Mouse might have worn before Disney tidied her up a bit.

I would definitely avoid combat shorts. They just aren’t necessary any more. I can just about handle a playsuit in khaki colours, but I think it’s in bad taste; unless you are a roadie that is.

Fashion is important but not to the extent of killing anybody. I like wearing lots of bangles and lots of ankle jewellery, but if I load too many bangles on my wrists they can fly off when I’m playing the bass. so I might choose beaded jewellery rather than something really chunky.

I will wear some jewellery on my ankles and in my hair. There was this amazing BBC archive programme about a YSL show where he was really inspired by African art and used a lot of African models, who wore jewellery that reminded me of the women I have seen in Africa. When I spent time there as a child I realised that a lot of women going to market wear jewellery on their head or on their ankles, because they need free hands. Spending time in Africa definitely influenced my style.

I like a Seventies, après ski Sophia Loren look when it comes to sunglasses. Or perhaps some vintage Eighties Fabris Lane glasses. Wayfarers are really cool they are a total classic, like a VW Beetle or a Mercedes 1977 SL, but they don’t suit me.

Hat-wise, the bigger the better. I’d go for something with a really wide brim. Too massive to fit through revolving doors.

I used to be in the girl guides so I will take a purse belt. I’m not talking a bum bag here – they are pure acid house – but a purse belt is a thin belt, with a World War Two vibe and a little leather purse attached to it. Bring some wellies in case it rains, and a pair of jelly sandals; you can’t run from gig to gig in flip-flops.

It’s not cool to look too ‘done’. Don’t bother with foundation and go straight for powder. Lipstick wise, opt for something bright and matte, such as Mac’s Ruby Woo, rather than slicking on the lip gloss. Otherwise, if it melts and drips you might look like you’ve been eating a big bucket of KFC.

The single ‘Never Forget You’ is out June 22nd. The Noisettes play Koko on June 23rd, and festivals throughout the summer.

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