Festivals have long divided fashion-savvy women. Rain, mud, Portaloos and no electricity to iron your Cavalli frock posed a challenge to any event – be it in Ibiza or Glastonbury – ever being considered truly glamorous. But with it being so cool to love the great outdoors and wear Jimmy Choo Hunters to rock the “festi-chic” look, Carrie Bradshaw types have had no option but to tap into their inner Girl Guide.
The result, glamping, or camping with the glam factor, certainly applied to the luxurious Camp Kerala at Glastonbury recently. It offered a five-star hotel take on the usual slumming-it experience, whereby guests enjoyed state-of-the-art pristine white tents with fluffy sheepskin rugs, vases filled with sweet-smelling lillies and chilled champagne in the fridge.
The fashionistas’ latest me-time pastime has (of course) developed its very own wardrobe: one that is reassuringly expensive (the average Glasto-goer’s wardrobe this year was estimated to be £350) and packed with “in-the-know” brands to drool over.
“You definitely wouldn’t show up at a glamping site in a hoodie and old trainers,” says Ashleigh Burnside, operations director of Style-passport.com, an online company that is considered the glampers’ go-to website.
“Although there’s a laid-back hippy vibe to it, the overall look is luxuriously chic. You can still take Converse or Havaianas but you’d wear them with Current Elliott boyfriend shorts, a Petit Bâteau Breton top or a snuggly cashmere jumper,” she says.
The glampers’ jacket of choice is a Barbour. Alternatives include the Burberry Pac a Mac cape, or anything Dayglo-ish by Aigle, which gives a nod to the trendy Tokyo “Yama Girl” vibe, inspired by summer Alpine hiking.
Sarah Walter, founder of Style-passport.com and former Vogue and Marie Claire fashion editor, suggests taking pieces such as LaLaRage clip-on hair feathers. “These are being worn by celebrities such as Jessica Biel and Drew Barrymore to LA festivals, along with chakra bracelets by Daisy Jewellery,” she says.
Specialist glamping destinations such as the Dome Garden in Gloucestershire (www.domegarden.co.uk), which features 24ft domed tents with hot running water, and travel firms such as Alastair Sawday’s Bristol-based Canopy and Stars (www.canopyandstars.co.uk), continue to spring up across the UK, and the phenomenon is growing globally, too.
“The definition of luxury is changing,” explains Tom Marchant, co-founder of the New York- and London-based travel firm Black Tomato, which specialises in bespoke niche holidays to far-flung, crucially hip places. Black Tomato operates glamping in regions as diverse as the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, the Croatian island of Korcula and the archipelago of islands off the city of Turku in Finland.
Marchant is working with the Secret Garden Party, a British company, to prepare for the Escape to New York music festival (August 5-7) in the Hamptons, where he will offer luxury teepees to highbrow dudes.
“Upwardly mobile people who live fast lives want to experience something special,” says Marchant. “To get out of a city or office and be in the great outdoors has become the ultimate luxury. Experiential travel is very 21st-century. People are spending the same money sleeping in yurts in the Gobi desert of Mongolia with no human being in the vicinity for 4,000 miles, as they would on a five-star private-island luxury hotel vacation.”
Marchant’s co-founder and partner is another former fashion editor, Kirsty Hathaway (GQ, Vogue, Company), who recently launched www.beachtomato.com, an editorial website offering beach culture advice, including what to wear. It will be possible to shop online here from this autumn.
“Glamping is all about emerging from your tent looking fabulous,” she advises. “Festivals definitely influenced the ‘get the look’ idea. There’s an outdoors feel but with a high fashion luxury twist; a ‘what a celebrity might wear to camp’ sort of thing. Everything very shiny and new.”
Her suggestions for key glamping brands include Something Else (www.something-else.com.au), designed by Australian artist Natalie Wood; APC (www.apc.fr) for boots (“sturdy with a heel”) and Splendid (www.splendid.com) for tops.
Eco jewellery is vital so long as it’s got the “wow” factor (ie, is both ethical and blingy). Katie Rowland’s Lilith Pop collection, for example, features enamel colours that create a kaleidoscope of colour in firelight (www.katie-rowland.com), while her collaboration with The Jacaranda Tree, which uses gold mined ethically from South Africa, with the jewellery made by a local community as part of a funded training scheme.
One final tip. Don’t look like a tourist. Although picking up souvenirs is crucial to the look – signalling to fellow glampers where you have visited – you should blend in.
“Obviously in the Maldives, you don’t wear wellies,” says Hathaway. “But parkas are massive. Parkas are perfect for anywhere.”
Glamping fashion essentials
Ecua Andino panama hat, (£55, www.style-passport.com)
Petit Bateau Breton top ,(£45, www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk)
Barbour, (from £169.95, www.barbourbymail.co.uk)
Aigle windcheater (from £200, www.aigle.com)
Hunter wellies, (£145, www.hunterboot.com)
Havaianas, £20; or Converse, from £39 (both www.style-passport.com)
LaLa Rage hair feather, (£25, www.style-passport.com)
Daisy Jewellery chakra charm bracelet, (£86, www.style-passport.com)
Citizens of Humanity parka (£350, www.citizensofhumanity.com)
Sequin headbands, (£15, www.pretaportobello.com)
Hawick cashmere sweater, (from £160, +44 (0)207 259 9995)
Anita Pallenberg on dressing for the Port Eliot Festival
‘Keith Richards used to wear my clothes’
I never went to Woodstock, but I have been to Glastonbury, although I can’t remember when exactly. Chronological orders are a bit difficult for me. I slept under the stars but then when it got all hamburger joints and Nespresso, it wasn’t so good. I was never one of those people who walked around in flimsy tops and jean shorts, I covered up. I suffer a lot from the cold and I didn’t want to be eaten by mosquitoes.
I’ve been going to Port Eliot [in Cornwall] since the first one; it’s by far my favourite festival because it’s so chilled out and such a pleasant place to wander around. Last year my friend Anna Sui and I had a children’s dress-up tent, where Stephen Jones made paper hats, Anna made sequinned butterflies which you pin to your jumper and Luella [Bartley] made paper skirts. It was packed, and loads of adults let their hair down there as well. We’re doing something similar this year as part of the fashion area, the Wardrobe Department.
I think everyone dresses up for Port Eliot. They’re all very creative, very nicely dressed people. You see people in sailor suits, dandy outfits, girls running round in veils. I drag along a massive suitcase full of clothes that I don’t usually wear and take them there to show off in – weather permitting. It’s mix and match: furs, little sequinned jackets, hats, fake gold jewellery, scarves, medals … and we change say, six times a day.Generally [in the 1960s and 1970s], I dressed in a mix of clothes from antique markets and Granny Takes a Trip; loads of velvet, satin, bias cuts, flowers and stripes, sequins, silver and all of that. I had a Rudi Gernreich knit which I loved. It was like a long bathing suit, and I put a belt on it.
Other people say that I influenced [former lover] Keith Richards’ wardrobe – I can’t really say that. He used to wear my clothes, basically. We used to cross-dress a lot. Clothes-nicking was a big thing back then. The only thing I didn’t like was bell-bottom trousers and I never liked platforms either. I’m pretty pissed off they’re still around every year. I always hope they disappear but they don’t.
Anita Pallenberg will join Barbara Hulanicki and Anna Sui to create new accessories and outfits for visitors to the Port Eliot Festival this weekend, www.porteliotfestival.com