09 April 2013

As Coachella Approaches, Celebrity Stylist Cher Coulter Reveals Her Festival Fashion Tips

It’s not every day you get megawatt stylists revealing their sartorial swagger but Grazia Daily has managed to pin down Brit-via-L.A. Cher Coulter – the genius behind the red carpet looks of Kate Bosworth, Elizabeth Olsen, Nicole Richie and Sienna Miller to talk all things festival fashion. With Coachella kicking off this weekend, who better to dish some wardrobe advice? Read on for Cher's top tips and festival inspirations...

Bryan Smith <bryan@starworksartists.com>

My childhood was filled with music. From Supertramp to U2, my father always played records in the house while singing along at the top of his lungs. When I was 13 years old, I attended my first live concert - Simple Minds at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes. The people! The music! The concert tshirts (that I lived in and collected throughout my youth)! Almost immediately, I was hooked – the atmosphere was electric. Fast-forward to present day and my love affair with live music and festivals continues.

Last year at Coachella in California, I went with a big group of friends, mostly from the UK. One afternoon we were relaxing on the grass watching Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and for his encore, he returned to the stage and performed Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger". Collectively, my whole group and I jumped to our feet and sang along as loud as we could. We didn’t care who was watching or what we looked like. It was such a freeing, special moment… especially for us Brits who are so far from home.

In my opinion, freedom and being yourself is what experiencing live music is about, and to me nothing represents this sentiment better than the fashion I’ve observed in the many years I’ve been attending live concerts – what’s been dubbed 'Festival Style'.

1. Take inspiration from models off duty...

When talking festival style we must first mention Kate Moss. Who else could ever, or has since, made wellies look so chic, cool and sexy? Models-off-duty are always good inspirations for fearless festival dressing. Hanne Odiele and Abby Lee Kershaw, running from show to show during fashion week, are always mixing fashion with wearability. 

Kate Bosworth Stylist Cher Coulter Festival Fashion Tips

2. Mix tomboy tough with girly prettiness...

Festivals are all about loosening up and enjoying life. If you look a little scruffy as you sit on the grass and deal with the elements that’s fine: anything uptight would look ridiculous. Personally I’ve twice worn the same green Isabel Marant dress and Chloe studded boots (four years apart of course). I like the mixture of tomboy tough and pretty, airy summer dress - comfortable but still girly.

3. Go cool and effortless...

For the last couple years I’ve gone to various music festivals with my clients and part of the fun is planning the outfits beforehand. One of my favourite client festival looks was Kate [Bosworth]’s outfit at Coachella in 2011. We paired an American flag tank from Topshop with white cutoff denim and Jewelmint jewellery. Her outfit represented Kate’s sense of style - cool and effortless.

EXCLUSIVE: Kate Bosworth's Stylist Cher Coulter Gives Us Her Festival Fashion Tips

4. Channel 90s Kurt Cobain...

This year I predict 90s-style grunge will be a big theme, a la Spring 2013 Dries Van Noten. We’ll see plenty of plaids, slip dresses, old sweatshirts, denim and super-bright Kurt Cobain-inspired sunglasses and sneakers.

5. Floppy hats, maxi-dresses and oversized shades are OUT!

1960s-inspired monochromatic prints (Louis Vuitton Spring 2013) and crop tops with short shorts or skirts will also be noticeable trends this year. Also, keep it modest. No one wants to see you in your bikini or less.

Channel '90s Kurt Cobain...

6.  Join the trainer mania...

Speaking of sneakers, a girl that goes to a festival needs to be practical about footwear. Heels aren’t going to get you from one side of a field to the other, but a New Balance trainer or Balenciaga bovver boots will!

Festival fashoon trainers Kristen Stewart Emma Roberts

7. Think prints...

Another trend to watch out for, which I will be wearing myself, is leopard and other animal prints. Animal print is the new neutral when done right (Stella McCartney, Alaia, Isabel Marant). Also, sunglasses are a must! I will be rocking my brand new shades from Chanel’s Bijoux eyewear collection.

EXCLUSIVE: Kate Bosworth's Stylist Cher Coulter Gives Us Her Festival Fashion Tips

8. It's not a fashion show...

All that said and trends aside, feel free to wear what makes you feel good and start your own trends. Music festivals are places to really let go of your everyday life and get into the music. Don’t view it as a competitive fashion show, and see it as a place with no rules or uniform. Don’t let fashion affect your festival fun.


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Antm Ukeleghe (Wed Apr 10 12:51:27 BST 2013): Pfffft I find point 8 quite HILERIOUS as we all know music festivals these days are less about the 'music' and more about what the hipster plebs are trying so hard to be seen in what they are wearing.