Paul Galvin: Rock chic time
Return to your style birthplace this weekend, says Paul Galvin, as he gets festival fever
Published 09/07/2011 | 05:00
Every man has a weakness in life and rock chicks are definitely mine -- so much so that I've decided to honour them with their own day.
Today is rock-chick day. I'm understandably a little excited that the summer has arrived. Festival season. This weekend, flocks of rock chicks will have travelled for hours, sometimes days, over land and sea to return to the roost they left exactly 12 long months earlier.
Oxegen. Their birthplace.
They return in many different guises, their appearance often unrecognisable from last year. They shed their normal plumage and go right back to their roots.
Speaking of roots, dressing for rock festivals was not always such a glamorous affair. Remember Woodstock? Me neither, but we've all seen the pictures and heard the stories. That was more like undressing for festivals. BO was an accessory back then and bras were incendiary devices.
Magazines editors would have a summer of filling the blanks today if Woodstock was still in full swing. Outfit watch would read something like, "Sienna Miller in... her bare feet"; "We love the mole on Mary-Kate Olsen's lower back", or "Alexa in nude -- just nude, nothing else".
Woodstock chic-less makes sporadic comebacks. Banana Republic and Michael Kors have released tribute collections. Thankfully, things have progressed quite a lot since the days of Jimi Hendrix and the denim boycott! No self-respecting music festival would go ahead without denim today.
Denim cut-offs, skirts, shirts and jackets. Denim is a major part of the rock look. Kirsten Dunst wore a denim dungaree dress at Coachella recently. I couldn't see her bottom half, so I'm presuming it was a dungaree dress or shorts and not actual dungarees.
If I see a similar dungaree skirt, with gladiator sandals, a headband and bangles, finished off with some cat-eye shades, at Oxegen, I'll be very interested as to who's wearing it! That's a big 'if', considering I won't be there.
Magazines feed on the music festivals, particularly when accessories are so central to the look. Accessories are im-portant for gigging. Girls need their bandanas, beads, bangles and babywipes.
Tattoos are always welcome. If girls love a guy in uniform, then I love a girl in tattoos.
Guys need their shades, sweatbands, Swiss army knives and shazam.
All high-street stores are stocking more and more accessories, and the more elaborate the better for festivals.
What the celebs wear to them has become a driving force in magazine sales, as the look is so aspirational and young women want to know who, what, where and how much as soon as possible.
Eliza Doolittle wore a feathered headdress at Coachella that was very eye-catching. What's a rock chick without feathers? I'm loving feathers at the moment. Feathered necklaces and beading are great for festivals. And the headdress looks awesome.
So we got one for 'That Tattooed Chick', Melissa, who is equally eye-catching. Melissa, who did our shoot, has some amazing tattoos, including one on her leg of her dog, which is scarily life-like, and some really quirky pieces such as lipstick, pin-ups, dragons and flowers.
Really vibrant, interesting pieces.
While headdresses are possibly more suited to performers, I expect there will be lots of rockers wearing feathered pieces at Oxegen. Maybe even headdresses. Extravagant, perhaps, but hey, isn't that what festival fashion is all about? The more boundaries you knock out of the arena the better, I say.
The weather might be a factor, but Hunter wellies will be worn en masse regardless of rain. Versatile and trendy.
Gladiator sandals are my favourite footwear on girls. Team them with a playsuit and the right accessories and you've got a really simple but very trendy festival look. The cuffed gladiator sandals with the jewels from River Island are great and work with skinny jeans, dresses, playsuits or cut-offs.
I love how versatile playsuits are. They work so well, from music festivals to dinner dates, with minimum hassle for a girl.
Bershka is a great place to get the rock-chick look. Its print dresses, T-shirts and vests are all key pieces. I confess to owning and wearing girls' T-shirts from Bershka. I shopped there for my sister's birthday and was so impressed with the stock that I had to buy some of those tees for myself.
The question I would ask is: why are girls' T-shirts much cooler than guys' T-shirts? And, furthermore, why would a guy not want to wear a T-shirt with a beautiful woman on the front? Such as Rihanna, already a rock goddess, Madonna, Ladyhawke, who I love, Kate Moss and any of the Jagger girls.
Biker boots are another look I love -- with socks, leggings, oversized shirts or vests and a leather jacket.
Leather jackets are, of course, rock royalty. Laura Whitmore, the ultimate rock chick, loves hers. All Saints does them better than most. The buttery soft quality of the leather makes them so wearable.
Another rocker who knows her All Saints from her Twenty8Twelve is Sienna Miller, and her sister Savannah. Their leather jackets are festival friendly if you can afford them.
Jameela Jamil, the Geldofs, Jaime Winstone, Janelle Monáe, Shingai from the Noisettes and Fearne Cotton will all set the trend at the UK summer festivals.
Monáe has been a big favourite of mine for a few years now. Her set at Glastonbury was the best of the weekend and her stage outfit was anything but festival friendly. She wore a black cape over a crisp white fitted shirt with a black tie and slim leg, high-waisted black trousers and two-tone black- and-white brogues. And she delivered an iconic performance to go with the outfit. But, then again, she doesn't have to wade through mud so she was safe enough.
Vests are great for guys and girls. I'm wearing lots of vests this summer. They're great for layering under denim jackets or open shirts. River Island has a brilliant selection of vests for guys in their directional line this summer. I love the skull-motif ones.
Charcoal is a great colour for vests and T-shirts to get the look, and girls can wear them too.
Speaking of androgyny, Kanye West caused a big stir when he headlined at Coachella. It is the first big festival of the year and an oasis for young Hollywood. West once again kicked the boundaries out of his way by wearing a silk tribal-print Celine blouse! That was a bold move, but the consensus among fashion experts was that he pulled it off.
I didn't like it, though I'm all for wearing T shirts or shirts belonging to girls if it fits and I like the colour etc. I've done it before and I'll do it again.
Girls do it all the time, why not vice versa?
There's been a revival in androgynous dressing recently and I like it. Oxegen and Ibiza Rocks are top of my summer festival list. If I was to go, what would I wear? Friday, it's definitely a vest, probably under an open denim shirt with skinny jeans and Havaianas, some beads, a sweatband, shades and a big smile.
Saturday, I'd probably have sore feet, so I'd wear gladiator sandals. I never wear them, but recently I've decided to start wearing all the things I think I don't like. Surprisingly, they often work.
A gilet is a must, too -- over an open shirt and T-shirt. I had a look in Tom Tailor at Swords Pavilion recently and was very impressed with the shirts. They were shirts I wouldn't normally wear, but I tried them on and they worked.
I like checked shirts with great patterns and elbow patches and denim shirts that are made for festivals. Plus, I can close the top button, so I've been wearing them to death since. Well worth a look for festival fashion.
Sunday, I'd wear brogues without socks, some red skinny chinos and some layers under a denim jacket.
And Monday? Monday I'd just wear a rock chick.