x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Try hard to make it all look easy for festival season

Looking good on the festival scene is all about making it look easy

LA QUINTA, CA - APRIL 13: Actress Diane Kruger attends the H&M Loves Music Coachella 2013 kick off event at Merv Griffin Estate on April 13, 2013 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for H&M)
LA QUINTA, CA - APRIL 13: Actress Diane Kruger attends the H&M Loves Music Coachella 2013 kick off event at Merv Griffin Estate on April 13, 2013 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for H&M)

It's that time again: Coachella, Indio, Burning Man, Glastonbury, or for us in the UAE, the last Sandance of the year with Florence and the Machine. Festival season - a time when your hot shower is a wet wipe and your bed a tent (about as close as you will come to living in a hot boot, in case you haven't tried).

Its always a slight puzzle, the whole dressing for a festival dilemma. Want to look glamourous, perfectly suited and booted? Want to look like you normally look if not just a bit cooler? Well, I suggest giving up right here and staying safely tucked up at home for the week, for that isn't going to happen. Ever.

Start with the old "when in Rome" rule - it is imperative to dress correctly for the occasion. After all, when broken down, it will simply be a slightly more glamourous camping trip, so practicality should be at the forefront. Forget your "signature" look, as unless it's festival chic all year round you are going to need to change it. Kate Moss always gets it right. Despite the hype, the ever-copied "boho chic" works, which is why she sticks with it. If you don't know where to start, create a character, and preferably one that doesn't look uncomfortable in her own skin.

Start with the shoes when it comes to the fine planning. To simplify things, there are only four pairs of footwear anyone should wear to a festival; Converse runners, ankle boots, sandals or Wellington boots, if it's wet. Anything else looks downright ridiculous in a field or on sand. The ground will inevitably get dirty, and you'll need a bit of protection so go for a thick sole, even if you brave the sandal.

Prepare as if you're going to a decadent garden party that has the potential to get really messy. Sunglasses and a hat are almost more important than water, so bring a spare of both (make sure they are ones you don't mind losing). A maxi skirt or dress may seem like the perfect idea but, trust me, once it is dragged along the ground and stamped on, it will lose appeal. Layering is the cleverest way to dress, due to the cooler temperatures that take us from day to night, so try adding a light cotton or chiffon shirt to your overall look, even if it means tying it around your waist for later.

Stick to dark colours for obvious reasons and make sure fabrics are light and breathable. There is nothing worse than too tight a sleeve mixed with soaring temperatures. Stay well away from the standard high street collections, such as the designer collections at Topshop or H&M, as you will only find a cluster of carbon copies on arrival with the same idea.

If you have the budget, Prada and Holly Fulton brought some huge decorative blooms to the season while, at Moschino, there was a much more obvious style reference to the 1960s.

If surface decoration or prints are not your thing, go for pastels - also a huge hit this season at Erdem, Christopher Kane, Mulberry and later Fendi, Sonia Rykiel and Valentino, which showed a kaleidoscopic mix of spearmint, violet, lemon and baby blues. In short, try not to get carried away by the whole thing and the anti-establishment vibe that goes with it.

Not to be a killjoy, but let's face it: nowadays it's more about deceptive dressing down than it is free spirit and expression.

Of course, all of this gear should appear like something you casually picked up from a market stall in Kerala. In short, it's a rather contrived, seemingly well-travelled wardrobe that gets festival respect.

 

ktrotter@thenational.ae

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