Monday 20 November 2017

The new romance - festivals are a chance to dress OTT


Dress, €980, Isabel Marant, Brown Thomas. Photo: Kip Carroll
Dress, €980, Isabel Marant, Brown Thomas. Photo: Kip Carroll
Playsuit, €52, Topshop
Waistcoat, €90, Monsoon. Skirt, €230, Isabel Marant, Brown Thomas

There's something about festivals that brings out in us the need for a uniform. For quite a while, it was Kate Moss and then Sienna and Alexa doing various combinations of denim hot pants, a khaki jacket and Hunter wellies, until this look spawned a million imitations and became almost ridiculously cliched.

Things have moved on now, but not necessarily for the better. Thanks to Kendall Jenner's appearances at Coachella a few summers back - where she sported a variety of dreadful 1970s-inspired looks - pastiches of that era are big, heavily featuring cheesecloth and crochet. And then, of course, there's the fact that things have taken an unfortunate turn for the trashy. Much festival wear is currently overly sexed-up versions of popular-culture icons: sexy cowboy, sexy mermaid. Thousands of bad Victoria's Secret imitations. It's time for a rethink.

This is not to suggest that we should all adopt a uniformed look akin to the days of thousands of Kate-bots. In fact, a festival wardrobe should be the absolute opposite of a uniform. Festivals are to summer what Christmas parties are to winter: the chance to go a little sartorially OTT; to wear things that are not suitable for the daily grind.

Festivals are the place to try out this season's most outrageous, over-the-top trends. If you want to wear a gingham playsuit; Bardot top; crop top; lame pleated skirt; dresses with sizeable cutaway panels; or this season's frills and ruffles, this is the place for it.

Playsuit, €52, Topshop
Playsuit, €52, Topshop

Trends such as military, which always risk looking a little bit fancy dress in real life, are ideal for a summer festival. But think romantic rather than raunchy when you're styling yourself.

Among all the passing trends, the occasional everyday-luxury piece makes a great addition. Isabel Marant's laid-back boho summer aesthetic, as in this dress, right, makes the label ideal festival wear. This season's trench trend has, for high-summer, resulted in numerous beautiful takes on the parka; throwing a longer layer over your crop-top and shorts adds an elegant dimension to your look.

Actually, we do festival wear well here - think Laura Whitmore in khaki and denim or 1960s-style shift dresses; Ruth O'Neill doing laid-back California-girl style; Vogue Williams in trainers and a summer dress. It's about having fun with your fashion.

Photography by Kip Carroll

Styling by Liadan Hynes

Words by Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

Sunday Independent

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