Occasionally there comes an item that unites the fashion industry in its ubiquity – the furry Gucci loafers that at least five staffers regularly sport, say, or the Marques’Almeida T-shirt dress that five more (plus Justin Bieber) are smitten with.
Biker jackets were ubiquitous on the spring/summer 2016 catwalks, too. At Saint Laurent they were white and scuffed and worn with lace mini dresses; at Burberry they were more polished: black, cropped and with gold hardware trimmings. Coach debuted chiffon, printed and floral styles, while Vetements set the front row raving over a multicoloured motocross style worn open and with matching leather trousers. At Courreges they were cropped and in crinkly patent or punctuated with bright cut-outs of leather; meanwhile Louis Vuitton was a biker bonanza – the first look was a bubblegum pink iteration, and it was followed by spray-prainted, studded and belted versions, some sporting striped or monogrammed sleeves.
“Biker jackets are one of our best performing categories and comprise 25 per cent of our jacket buy every season,” says Linda Ayepe, a buyer at Net-A-Porter. “They’re a great transitional piece and are key for layering with comfy knits. Saint Laurent’s classic leather biker is one of the most sought after and they remain the go-to brand for different styles – we love their fabulous fringed and striped versions currently on site.”
What’s their secret? Lucy Bower, Vogue’s fashion assistant, says it’s simple: they add an essential urban edge to an otherwise staid outfit. “Everyone should own one,” says Bower, who favours a vintage motorcycle jacket found after a morning of rummaging at Portobello Road. “This season we’re calling them bikers with a twist – they’re oversized, with printed or embroidered leather, or other detailing that makes them less traditional.”
How to wear them now? “Don’t put it with a dress – that’s passé. We’re wearing ours with leather trousers. Vetements’ spring show was the ultimate example – this is a look you’ve got to commit to,” says Bower. Still, if leather on leather sounds a little daunting, stick to wearing them oversized, paired with wide-legged trousers and gold hoop earrings for a look that’s more Scandi than Brando.
Festival season comes round quick – and with it the default wardrobe staples of denim shorts, floral wreath headbands, beads and the like. But we’ve been there, done them – and for far too long. It’s time to change the dress code and approach festival season with fresh eyes and a new look (and we don’t deny that might be hard to do considering fashion’s affection for the Seventies and hippy bohemia right now – but it can be done).
If you want to keep the focus on your hair, then leave the blooms behind and replace them with braids – the hairstyle of choice right now, and one that comes with far more than just the option of a simple plait trailing down the neck. They can, in fact, be done to mimic a flower garland in their elaborate construction. Or try out some millennium Bjork knots in your hair – it won’t be long before everyone will be doing them.
A skinny scarf says you are definitely with the band and when at a festival, it’s a very legitimate look – and one that can easily take its nods from Saint Laurent, both Spring/Summer 2015 and forthcoming Autumn/Winter 2015. If you’re doing a scarf, don’t do a hat. You want to look like you’re with the band, not desperately following them around.
Depending on the weather, your cover-up options range from something kaftan-like (though choose carefully) to a biker jacket number or some suede fringe. The latter will work best with a retro motif T-shirt and jeans. If channelling the Seventies, it’s about little nods, not over-enthusiastic ones. A biker jacket will deflect away all traditional festival stereotype looks, more rock ‘n’ roll and suited to being at a gig in its approach.
The rule of thumb, really, is: if you’ve worn the look before; if these are the same denim shorts, the same floral accessory, shades et al from last year, and the one before, and one before; don’t wear it.