‘Festival fashion” is generally a dire label applied to a woeful assortment of tat which, were it not for Glastonbury, Coachella, Latitude et al, would never see the light of day. At least, not this side of the Channel. Festival fashion, generally, is like holiday fashion, both in style and substance, a niche filled with questionable and easily disposable fast fashion such as printed polyester sundresses, beaded and fringed jersey T-shirts and anything embellished with faux-ethnic embroideries and maybe a jangling hem of coins.
In one of fashion’s typically perverse shifts, those were precisely the references mined by a host of designers for spring/summer 2014 season. Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri at Valentino ran embroideries of vaguely North African origin over everything from sleek lace skirts (more gala than Glasto) to fringed capes and smocked peasant blouses. Jonathan Saunders’ collection was a trippy, hippy cavalcade of psychedelic embroideries and clashing satins, Miuccia Prada be-blinged the humble Birkenstock with humbug-sized crystals, and even Phoebe Philo loosened up her strict and starchy Céline woman, dressing her not in compact tailoring but printed and pleated layers. By the time crusty ravers took to the catwalk at Junya Watanabe, dressed in layers of jersey swathed and slashed into multiple bead-tipped fringes like millions of Goa souvenirs before them, festival chic was officially out of the fields and on to the streets.
In pictures: Festival fashion
It’s a simple look to emulate, especially considering its roots in the real dress of real people. Nevertheless, it’s also an easy look to get wrong. The models at Saunders, Céline and Watanabe didn’t actually resemble mugging, mud-caked ravers in precise detail – likewise, slip-streaming the look into everyday life isn’t license for dressing like you took a wrong turn on the way to Global Gathering.
In fact, festival fashion is tricky to sport for everyday: restrict to a single detail such as a fringe detail on a sturdy boot, a hit of embroidery or a graphic take on a hand-crafted print. In short, for day-to-day it isn’t a head-to-toe look.