What the cool kids are wearing at the music festivals.
From festi-chic to glamping, get down on the farm
Last weekend, a crowd of one hundred thousand flocked to Worthy Farm, Somerset, to turn on, tune in… and dress up. Genuine music geeks must be rather cross now that Glastonbury, the definitive alternative music festival, has not only gone mainstream but has been hijacked by fashion.
Still, its peace-loving hippie founder, Michael Eavis, can console himself with the fact despite the impressive stream of acts over the three-day event, it remains the crowd that wields the power.
The mob decides who does well. Whoever cracks the Glasto crowd goes on to great things. The same can be said for trends arising, not from the stage, but the mosh pit. Wellies, of all things, being a case in point.
Forget Bono or Beyoncé - who were just two of this year's line-up: what's worn by the great unwashed has become a sort of litmus test of current fashion.
Forty years ago the crowd was made up of young people who saw themselves as anti-establishment, anarchistic and alternative. The hip and happening crowd of today's trendsetters are hardly intent on changing the world; more showing it what to wear.
Being staged in England, in June, in a field, rain and mud had always posed a major challenge in terms of the event ever becoming glamorous.
It wasn't so much state-of-the-art communal showers, flushing portaloos, en suite tents or even Winnebagos with built-in-spas that changed everything. It was Kate Moss who brought the celebrity and fashion touch in 2005.
Her mix of expensive, elitist, branded, countrified weekend wear (Hunter wellies/Barbours/James Lock Panamas) with the sort of skimpy catwalk gear and laid-back luxe grunge we've grown used to seeing the model wear on the cover of Vogue – Maison Margela haute couture yeti jackets, or APC boots – pricked up the antennae of the fashion crowd.
Never mind the practicality of gumboots: the idea of festivals such as Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight being an excuse to dress up - and shop - has set a new precedent. These days (organic) veggie burger stalls have to jostle for a place with pop-up fashion boutiques and nail bars selling the contemporary phenomenon that is "festi chic", which can be anything from maxi dresses to blow-up angel wings.
Not counting the cost of a ticket or a tent, the average Glasto-goer's wardrobe this year was estimated at a whopping £350.
For a key festi status symbol D&G bum bag, where you can stash your dry shampoo and baby wipes, you are looking at £550. An Alexander McQueen printed skull scarf will set you back £200.
Other must-have pieces include at least one wafting vintage maxi, several changes of Florence and the Machine-like headgear, designer jeans such as the £170 Paige brand Kate Moss recently gifted friends on her hen weekend at the Isle of Wight, and this summer's cult shoes: flat, stripy espadrilles (wellies are considered so 2008).
Eco jewellery is deemed vital. Something like Katie Rowland's upcycled chain necklaces or something urban by The Jacaranda Tree, which uses gold mined ethically from one of the oldest sites in South Africa with the local community producing the pieces as part of a funded training scheme.
Now, pay attention anyone who wouldn't dream of dirtying their Jimmy Choos by attending a mud-lined music bash. You are not excluded from the latest fashion "look" taking hold of everyday wear. You might never have seen festi-chic in context, but that doesn't mean you have to be left out when it comes to "glamping" - that's camping with the glam factor.
Glamping holidays are aimed at the super-rich sophisticate executive who spends half her working life in eight-star luxury hotels so wants her free time to be intrepid, yet equally mirror the high life. Her wardrobe requires fashionable, reassuringly expensive staples, the sort so gorgeous you can spend an entire night sitting out under the stars admiring them.
A million miles away from the gap year backpacker's grungy T-shirt, the online site Beach Tomato, which offers editorial style advice, describes this as "emerging from your tent looking fabulous". ("Not just avant-garde, but off-your-guard, slouchy, luxurious clothes" was how the Beach Tomato co-founder and former Vogue fashion editor, Kirsty Hathaway, explained it to me.)
None of this natural stuff: glamping requires full make-up from dusk till dawn. So your bug-eye designer sunglasses must not be dark enough to conceal the very latest panda eye make-up (Chanel's Le Vernis metallics from autumn/winter 2012 are perfect).
It's not all superficial stuff, either. Handily dovetailing with glamping is the Japanese "Yama girl" vibe, which takes its cue from summer Alpine hiking gear. Day-Glo wind cheaters, rucksacks and waterproof hats from brands such as Aigle and Berghaus have started to be worn as fashion statements, rather than the performance gear they were initially designed for. When trendy girls in Tokyo wear cute mountain skirts and Day-Glo laces in their boots, you take note.