I approached going to Coachella 2015 with earnest (and humorous) trepidation. Yet, since I found myself there both weekends, I figured, why not dig in and find some great examples of street fashion?! 

I love strange, random adventures. A good trip, filled with interest peaking visuals, always put me in a great state of mind to explore my own aesthetic. I wouldn’t say the status quo “style-wise” has ever appealed to me, but I found some great examples nevertheless.

LADYLIKE WITH AN EDGE

Charlotte Kemp Muhl personifies the "Ladylike with an Edge" look, (complete with green lipstick.)

Charlotte Kemp Muhl personifies the “Ladylike with an Edge” look, (complete with green lipstick.)

In my own suitcase, (perhaps subconsciously, in retaliation against the light blue denim and a “Marseille stripe, Jane Birkin/French Actress in LA” trend so heavily hyped prior via the fashion mags and blogs “festival fashio” picks) I packed several un-easy going,  ridiculously dramatic, long, floor/grass length 1800s, Edwardian and 1930s lingerie pieces to pair with high waisted swim separates and crop tops. Gowns were in silk and light cotton lawn, and were incredibly sheer to the point of pause, so I wore high waisted briefs and vintage style lingerie tops/bodysuits from Lonely and Noe Undergarments. (modesty be damned!) I paired these fairy frocks with fierce boots by Vivienne Westwood, Isabel Marant and Rick Owens.

I also packed a pair of fierce “vintage” early 00s Armani Collection thigh high boots. These puppies are best worn if you are backstage, side stage, or being carried. ( The second I reached the field to watch a concert, I peeled them off in defeat-uneven grass/sand made me wobbly, and there is nothing worse than a minx who can’t saunter.) I brought my trusty Yestadt Millinery “Peaks” hat from the lovely ladies at BONA DRAG. I bought it this fall, and it being wool, knew that wouldn’t work during the day, but I popped it on, the minute the sun went down, In the cool of the desert night- it was perfect. On my waist, like Kemp Muhl, I placed, “hardcore looking”, cinched and biker gang-esque belts, in thick calfskins and braided leather.

My favorite was a heavy duty, distressed, 1980s Ralph Lauren piece heavy on Conchos. It gave off the “villainous in black, doing western” vibe. This belt definitely played into to my current “Bridgette Bardot in Shalako obsession. (That has been going on for 4 years) I also threw in my custom made Zana Bayne body harness for good measure. Mine you can’t have, but Opening Ceremony has some great ones you can snap up. You never know when you need to look like a warrior, especially at a rock show…. These accessories also helped to cut some of the “precious” and “dainty vibe” of diaphanous lingerie. I saw upon scanning the field, many ladies also took this route, and kept their accessories tough-or Southwestern.

My psychic memo to the universe that this long, Zelda Fitzgerald/Anya Phillips look, was “it”- must have been received.I found several kindred spirits. The best example of “Ladylike with an Edge”, goes to my friend, the supernaturally gorgeous Charlotte Kemp Muhl. She effortless rocked this vibe- in addition to actually….Rocking. (playing the Outdoor Stage both Fridays with her band Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger (or GOASTT)

This trend was my favorite of the festival by far.  It didn’t show that much skin, (so you didn’t have to have a perfect body to turn heads-or could show a good one off without looking like you were trying too hard) It had a dreamy, gilded age, “fated tryst” feeling (that a festival NEEDS-at least in theory/fantasy) and most importantly, as the temperatures climbed during the day, these silent film star boudoir pieces breathed– allowing you to stay chic (not sweaty) in the hot desert sunI procured my pieces via Etsy/Ebay/Flea Markets/Private Dealers. On Etsy, Antique/Vintage Boutiques like SAVAGE THREAD and simplicityisbliss.

In retail, you can’t go wrong w/ Isabel Marant and her dreamy silks. You can also find great examples over at The Reformation. like this. Pair that dress with a pair of old, dusty army boots, and a studded cuff, and you’re set. My favorite belts will always be vintage Alaia, Ralph Lauren, or “unknown genius”- For that Vintage genius, I’ve found some great “hardcore” pieces from Cucarachaz

Another fine example of the diaphanous "Ladylike with an Edge" trend

Another fine example of the diaphanous “Ladylike with an Edge” look

Vintage Armani Collection thigh high boots compliment Michael Gira's (Swans) guitar case he has used for over 30 years.

Vintage Armani Collection thigh high boots compliment Michael Gira’s (Swans) guitar case he has used for over 30 years.

 

COUPLES:

I found a cute trend of teen and 20 something couples (many in the first few months of their relationship-definitely in the “honeymoon period”) dressing to flatter……..each other. Pairs of all shapes and sizes were spotted wearing color coordinated separates, complementary trends, and “matchy-matchy” aesthetic touches. Some pairs were incredibly chic- others, were well, just darn cute.

The looks screamed, “We are in love,” but also expressed “We get dressed together, and we shop together.” This is another important note for the fashion designers and retailers. Lately, it seems everyone in couple-land wants to be “Kimye.” Painting the town, hand in hand, feeling fabulous together, after an hour (or three) conceptualizing their outfits. I saw great examples of Mara Hoffman bustier pieces worn with high waist maxi skirts, Bona Drag has some nice selections. Even Mara’s bikinis have enough “substance” to them fabric wise that they pair well with a structured skirt, cropped jean, or wide leg trousers. (below) great vintage fitted floral print shirts on the men (lots of old Ralph Lauren and Ocean Pacific) Boys, If you’re not quite ready to wear roses all over yourself, this Opening Ceremony shirt has the floral feel, with a futuristic camouflage blur to it.  I also saw (first time ever for my eyes!) of a tapered knit type jogging trouser actually working (it was made by Barneys-with a lace up dress boot by Frye on a slim fellow. (also below)

20 something couple coordinates together in their own style version of a John Hughes / 90s Madonna music video

20 something couple coordinating together in their own stylized versions echoing John Hughes films and epic 1990s Madonna music videos ala’ “Like a Prayer”

hip, "directional" couple in the VIP section, give off a "Comme Des Garcons on Tahitian vacation" vibe with whimsy, daring you to touch their fuzzy sweaters.

A hip, “directional” couple in the VIP section, give off a “Comme Des Garcons on Tahitian vacation” vibe with calculated whimsy, daring you to touch their fuzzy sweaters….

simplicity is key for this pair, opting for matching keds, and monochrome

Simplicity is key for this pair, opting for matching Keds and monochrome photo: Gira

 ETHNIC PREP/ MEETS FUTURE SUBURBAN VACATIONING CRAZY QUILTER

sharing a bite in tropical brights. photo:J.Gira

Electric youth sharing a bite in tropical brights.  photo:J.Gira

You know you want to hang out with the guy in the Christopher Lloyd mask and windowpane tie dye.....

You know you want to hang out with the guy in the Christopher Lloyd mask,  safari hat, and sporting windowpane tie dye….photo J. Gira

There is no pattern, or hair color hue, this group will not try.

There is no pattern, hair color hue, jam band, or flavored cigarette, this group will not sample. photo: J.Gira

These festive ladies do "sporty, tropical, rock'n'roll prep" justice.

These festive ladies do “sporty, tropical, rock’n’roll prep” justice. photo: J.Gira

Jubilant in thai prints and Macrame

Jubilant in thai prints and Macrame photo: Khlasa

The vacation begins to feel like one is being lampooned.

The vacation begins to feel like one is being lampooned.

On both sexes, I saw numerous playful nods to Hunter S. Thompson. (Odd Hawaiian shirts, safari hats, odd length Bermudas, colored Visors) as well as Chevy Chase in his 80s heyday. (Bad “Dad style” tropical/vacation shirts, pastel polos, velcro sneakers w/ day-glo stripes.) There was a strong element of a preppy, folkloric, with constant ethnic vibes shining bright- especially in the use of prints. I would say these references outweighed the classic “boho-hippe” looks 4 to 1.

The heat, and the overall “WTF” of the event, brought a certain craziness and bombastic quality to the fashion, which I think should definitely be enjoyed to the fullest in a festival environment, but worn with caution in other social situations. I enjoyed seeing fashion references to A Tribe Called Quest in the late 80s, mixed with Mid 00s Outkast, morphed together w/ MGMT, Empire of the Sun, “Clueless” Mall Rats and “Valley Girls,” and the ironic preppy hipster look of Vampire Weekend. When I asked what individuals were wearing, I got a slew of “vintage” responses, Also represented in the crowd were distressed designer denim-jeans by Current/Elliott, Rag & Bone, Tsubi, and J Brand, colorful tribal stretch cottons by Urban Outfitters, safely “directional” shots of style by See by Chloe gave even the wallflowers some “pizazz”, and graphic tees on men seemed to reign Supreme.

I saw a deft use of color, sound choices in the use of contrasting prints and patterns, and originality aplomb. This surprised me, and I took note professionally. It is more evident with each day, that fashion lovers of all ages, (and especially those in their teens and early 20s) seem to be developing their “eye” with much more precision and study than in previous generations– I felt this was just yet another indication of the rise (and cultural/economic  influence) of the amateur fashion blogger on our society and industry as a whole. I also saw 14 year olds and 65 year olds playing with color and prints like never before. From a fashion business perspective, this would be a concept (and demographic) that I would stress to explore further and expand in their retail offerings.- I would love to see “J. Crew get more into Fela Kuti

SHOWY ROCK/SUNSET STRIPPER

the classic black flat over the knee boot with high waisted hot pants, is adorned with studs, parasol, and fringy beaded shawl to match Coachella's heat

A motobabe in black flat over the knee boots with high waisted hot pants, adorns herself with studs and chains, a parasol, and fringy beaded shawl. A valiant, accouterment rich attempt, to match Coachella’s” heat”. photo: A. Khlasa

This femme fatale takes a nod to Miley, and her Wacky Aunt Courtney

This femme fatale’s ensemble gives both a nod to Miley, but also her wacky aunt Courtney. This “underwear as outwear /don’t care” finished her look off w/ futuristic accessories that reflect her own high speed social life…. photo: J.Gira


More, More, and…………. More. (Especially if you are a female and have a hot body) seemed to rule the festival. This was not a surprise by any means, as such “flesh baring with a bohemian twist,” has brought Coachella endless notoriety for years. However, unlike previous festivals, I felt this year the “babes” had a stronger sense of who they were, what they were trying to do, and express with their clothes, and were quite assertive in “owning” it. I saw as many nods to early 90s riotous Courtney Love, as I did to the 2014 tweaking in latex no longer underage/filled with rage Miley Cyrus.

Brands that seemed to be the choice picks of these sexually empowered festival babes were: Asos, Vagabond shoes, Agent Provocateur lingerie/swim (as RTW), Mara Hoffman bustier tops (like this one here @ Revolve Clothing), We are Handsome (swimwear) worn like a bodysuit, accented by denim. (I did not see We are Handsome’s fantastic “the shaman one piece, but I plan to purchase it. It reminds me a bit of The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown’s “native headdress t-shirt” he wore in the “I wanna be Adored” music video Also name checked were: Alexander WangIsabel Marant & Saint Laurent (in the VIP areas-lots of shoes and bags from these stars), and Esty -for Vintage.

I was pleased to see a gal wearing a spiderweb like knit piece by Maude Nibelungen, -an independent designer that I had been meaning to order a dress from myself. Nibelungen’s knits are featherlight, expertly made, and have a punk edge to them. Power, or at least the use of sexuality as power, seemed to be the biggest “trend bandwagon” jumped on. No longer were the women of Coachella dressing like nubile, Swedish Bikini Team members, but instead, in vast majority, they seemed to emulate a raver version of Daenerys from “Game of Thrones”, or a tropical Tina Turner in “Mad Max.”  This to me was a huge improvement-both as a woman, and as a lover of fashion. Fashion has no point, (in my opinion) if the clothing wears the wearer. It doesn’t matter if your being “worn” by the trend that doesn’t work on you, or by the expectation of who you’re trying to express with the look-It never works. Bravo to those who chose to dress loud and proud-for themselves.

There was definitely at least one sexually empowered lady on the Coachella stage, and this one's name was FKA TWIGS

FKA TWIGS shows the world that she is no long needs watering. photo: Khlasa

FKA Twigs conjures "angel" and "alien priest goddess" at the same time.

FKA Twigs conjures “angel” and “alien priest goddess” at the same time photo: Khlasa

This Sexual Power trip, brings us to the “star” of the festival fashion-wise- (at least in “trend land)- was Ms. FKA Twigs.

She showcased nearly *all* the trends I’ve mentioned, and did so, (like the star she is), in only one performance ( but via two outfits, with one change/reveal in the middle of set) Twigs emerged on stage, at first, in a rather Avant-Garde, over the top, floaty, ethnic futurist tunic piece w/ gilded crystals that you might expect to see on Anthony of the Anthony and the Johnsons, or a glam rock version of The Polyphonic Spree.

Then, while getting into the groove of a song, writhing on the floor, she dramatically revealed beneath this monastic alien-esque glow, a “Showgirls”-esque glitzy, holographic raver crop top affair with coordinating, slashed at the sides, balloon trousers! Twigs  finished off this epic outfit, with the apex of the “Sunset Stripper” look: holographic platform heels, (looked to be at least a 2 inch platform at the front and 6 inch heel) fashioned in the same space-age material as her top and tourers. Shining in the moonlight, with every step, she glowed just like the gloved one. Her perfect choice of performance stage attire (for this event completely), reinforced the general feeling in the air, I could decipher- FKA Twigs, love her, hate her, or simply don’t get her (sound/or otherwise) is both a musical and fashion force to be reckoned with.….. Now-and definitely in the future. If you want to invoke this look, whether for a wild night at home, relive your 90s acid house junior phase, or fancy making some extra cash in vegas. You can invoke some of this magic in pieces from UNIF’s new “Melt” Collection, teeter around seductively in Miista’s holographic platform heels from Pixie Market, and cement your statement, with a tasteful cyber-bondage swim/bodysuit from Chromat- She’s not doing holographic this season, so you can save the gasoline colored glitter- for your eye makeup. My favorite piece in Twig’s fashion coup d’tat was in fact, the tunic. It reminded me of a few beautiful pieces I had seen at Rodarte S/S15 in its use of sheer mesh and abstractly assembled glitz. It was a shame she did not keep this groovy, celestial smock on too long. I guess the “genie stripper” was dying to come out of the bottle.

FKA Twigs out of this world, monastic gliz tunic

FKA Twigs; out of this world, monastic glia tunic photo: Khlasa

In closing, a shame in regards to my precious “Couples” trend, FKA Twig’s fiancée, (and biggest fan), “Twilight” Vamp heartthrob, Robert Pattison’s fashion was less “out of this world”-  and more “Wayne’s World”– He wore a nondescript, boxy dark denim jean jacket, a “meh” but appearing rather soft vintage-wash t-shirt, a sleepy grey knit Carhart cap, and relaxed denim trousers (in a slightly different wash – lighter hue than his jacket. Pattison must have gotten the email memo he was supposed to dress like Jane Birkin

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