The Biker Jacket

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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.

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 “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.

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Festival Style

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.

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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.

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