A fashion bonanza at ‘Coachella fest’
From bondage to flowers
INDIO, United States, April 16, (AFP): Coachella became one of the world’s premier music festivals not only for the A-list performers. The two-weekend party in the California desert has become a major event in its own right for the fashion. While designers have heavily marketed their brands to Coachella, the fans who draw the most notice often do so by embracing their own sartorial flair, driven by a sense of innovation and, among revelers in the searing heat, of inhibition.
They dress in green from head to toe, or at least when they dress at all.
Tiana Tuttle and T.J. Sonnier covered their bodies with green nets over matching swimsuits, with caps to top it off. The pair from Los Angeles have been coordinating their festival outfits for several years. Tuttle, 23, said that this year, they wanted to explore the fashion possibilities of bondage.
“We wanted to be that sexy thing in the corner that you can look at when you’re bored at the show,” said Sonnier, 22.
Hillary Osgood, 31, has been heading to festivals, especially Coachella, for 12 years. One thing she never forgets and has never lost — her light purple umbrella that both shields her from the sun and highlights her signature style.
This year, she decked herself out in matching flowers draped like a turban on her head.
While the flowers are artificial, Osgood said she found inspiration as she lives in the flower district of Los Angeles and works at a bar.
“It’s a way to exemplify the Coachella lifestyle. It’s not every day that you find a safe place to project some of your style,” she said.
Aquiel Hayden has been on the festival circuit for the past two weeks and threw her clothes into a suitcase, choosing the day’s wardrobe at the last minute.
The purple-haired 21-year-old sported a floorlength, sparkling red dress that she found in a vintage store in her home of Santa Barbara, California, paired with thick maroon sunglasses and a golden belt.
Hayden however said she was disappointed in the changing musical direction of ever-expanding Coachella and may not come back.
“I thought I should go all out for my last one. It’s sort of like my graduation,” she said.
Chanel Twyman and Auzunay Watkins were looking for something different for Coachella and found it — short, and largely revealing, dresses made entirely from the tops of soft drink cans.
The pair from Philadelphia bought the unique outfits from the New York designer Gypsy Sport and matched them with equally shiny half-masks with rabbit ears.
Twyman, 23, said that she and Watkins, 25, considered themselves “very fashion-forward” — and found the cans to be comfortable.
For Genevieve Paish of Christchurch, New Zealand, who is attending Coachella for the first time, the initial accessory was a pair of orange-red, heartshaped sunglasses.
Paish, 21, said she picked the rest of her outfit to match, including her impromptu dress of drooping red strings.
She dyed her hair a similar color and used a key chain to make puffy red scrunchies with which to hold up her hair.
Also: LONDON, United Kingdom:
After a childhood building tree houses and robots, British designer Christopher Raeburn has made a career out of transforming unusual materials — including parachutes — into clothes ready for the catwalk.
More than a decade since graduating from London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, Raeburn has made a name for himself with streetwear fit for the style-conscious, environmentally-aware buyers.
“We only do three things. We either remake, we recycle or we reduce,” the 35-year-old told AFP.
Raeburn has picked the former premises of veteran fashion house Burberry for his own label, in a former industrial zone of east London.
The open-plan airy office is filled with sewing machines, ironing boards and rolls of fabric. When AFP visited, a group of seamstresses were busy creating animals made out of fabric — a quirky speciality of the designer.
Pieces from past collections are stored in large white wardrobes, including a military jacket.
“With (the collection) Remade, it’s about deconstructing and reworking,” said Raeburn of the piece, which in its original form was a guard’s uniform from Buckingham Palace.
“Ultimately I think as humans we cannot continue consuming in the way that we are, and not just clothing — everything from product design to food, are incredibly wasteful,” he added.
Such an attitude has been at the heart of Raeburn’s work throughout his career, including his first show at London Fashion Week.
“I bought one parachute on eBay, I think it cost me £30 ($42, 34 euros), and from that one parachute I made eight garments... And things have just grown step by step from there,” he said.
Raeburn has numerous sources for his materials, including foreign imports, hunting through military surplus, as well as other channels which are kept as closely-guarded secrets.
“I get asked a lot, you’re not worried that things are going to run out?” he said, commenting it is “scary” just how much excess material is available.
His most recent collection, presented at London Fashion Week in January, used protective immersion suits to create men’s and women’s coats.
“(There are) hundred of thousands of these items that have never been used,” said the designer, explaining the suits are often thrown away after a certain period of time to abide by health and safety rules.
Raeburn also bought a raft, cutting it up to make coats, jackets and bags.
“You pull on the rope and then the whole thing expands and inside it had everything you would need to survive on the open ocean for one month for 25 people,” he explained.
The designer’s ability to rework such an array of materials is attributed to his childhood “in the middle of nowhere” in south-east England, close to the wood which inspired the “Winnie-the-Pooh” books.