The New Styles Cooking At Coachella

The California festival sets fashion trends for the entire season

We look at the latest trends in style, dress, and accessories seen at Coachella; the season’s most glamorous festival, which started last weekend and will continue until next Sunday.

Like every year, Coachella fires the starting pistol on the official music festival season. And like every year, the Californian festival (which prides itself on being the most glamorous and, of course, the one with the greatest number of famous people per square metre) becomes the showcase for the season’s trend-setters. Or not. The eternal dilemma arises when it comes to dressing for this marathon of music, grass, and hedonism open to any possibility: glamorous or casual?


Having seen what we saw at Coachella (we’re not talking about the VIP areas or exclusive parties attended by famous people showing up for their photo call), the third way (that is, well-dressed, but without seeming to make an effort, casual but sophisticated) is the road most travelled. Nobody wears their best clothes to a festival (I’m here for the groups, yeah?), but they don’t come dressed for their Pilates class either.


Protection is important. And no, we aren’t talking about condoms (although they are also a good idea) - we’re talking about the cold and bad weather, which can still catch one off-guard this time of year. Maybe your Hunter boots are a bit over the top, except in the field of mud that is Glastonbury, but a hat is always a good choice for protecting sensitive skin. Parkas (without their winter lining) and leather jackets were also seen frequently in Palm Springs this year.


After a couple of seasons of asceticism, flowers in the hair and other riskier stylistic touches like that are back; although they might seem a bit like a costume, they are fair game for festivals. We’re talking feathers, fringe, folk accessories, and tribal make-up. All signs show that the much-insulted (and seemingly outdated, but apparently not) boho look strikes again. Watch out for the very 90s peace symbol, seen on more than one vintage t-shirt.


Accessories. On the feet: many people have dusted off the gladiator sandals that were so hot last summer. The much-touted return of doc martens was also visible. No trace of ballerina flats, but plenty of short boots (and hiking boots). Glasses: the over-exploited Rayban shades have lost their throne this year to the round John Lennon glasses, with frames in every colour.


Prints: the Navajo trend has still not come to an end. At Coachella they provided the necessary dose of colour, along with stars & stripes t-shirts and animal prints. More pop, naïve looks (there are always some people who look like they thought they were coming to a picnic instead of a festival for dancing and sweating) gave way to an apparently more relaxed style, sort of a deluxe hippy look.


Shorts (the shorter, the better) and their exact opposite - long, floaty skirts that guarantee free movement - were some of the most oft-seen articles of clothing at Coachella. Jean-shorts are torn and frayed, showing plenty of thigh (the return of a sexier version of grunge), while the skirts are totally maxi (at the risk of picking up all sorts of stains from a day at the festival).


Showing belly buttons. Tops are shortening distances, but showing midriff, not cleavage. Sleeveless shirts knotted at the waist, midriff-baring bustiers and cropped tops have come to stay. It’s time to lose that extra weight round the middle and boast of a flat belly that has never tasted a beer.

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