In the run-up to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which starts Friday, we've been anticipating not just the music and art but also the independent sense of style that will be on display. Here are some of the standouts who will hit the stages in Indio over the next two weekends. Their looks are bound to turn heads at the increasingly fashion-focused festival.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
For the last few years, Grace Potter, the leggy singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist fronting Waitsfield, Vt.'s Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, has been working a Tina Turner-Marianne Faithfull vibe, favoring sparkly, fringed mini-dresses inspired by the 1960s and '70s. But Potter says that her look — and the band's — evolves with each successive album. With a new album set for release June 12, Potter says she's finally lifted the "denim jihad" that's been in place since the band's 2010 self-titled album was released. (But that doesn't mean you'll see the band awash in head-to-toe blue jeans any time soon.)
Style icon: "My style icons growing up tended to be men, so it was Mick Jagger in the leotards, bell bottoms and suspenders and David Bowie — especially his outfits from the movie 'Labyrinth.' You can see influences of that in what I wear today. Some days I want to be Mick Jagger, some days I want to be Bianca Jagger, but either way there's definitely a lot of '70s influence running through what I like to wear."
Fashion influences: "As a kid, I was obsessed with fashion, and I basically worked with whatever was in the shed — my parents had all their old, crazy, '60s and '70s hippie clothes in trash bags in a shed by our house. Every couple of months, I'd dig into that and go through every article of clothing and invent crazy outfits."
Favorite brands: "Balenciaga is huge for me. I love Balmain, and Miu Miu has some fabulous shoes right now. Every once in a while I like to incorporate something a little more refined, like a piece from Prada or Lanvin. Lanvin moves really beautifully onstage and I love the textures they're using right now.
"I love Gucci, but a lot of times it doesn't fit me properly, so I have to get it specifically tailored. And Issa of London has some really amazing dresses, so when it does come time for me to wear a [full, floor-length] gown, there are a few things I'm impressed with. Isabel Marant makes some nice, nonfussy dresses and little chiffon floaty shirts, and ALC is killing it right now. I love their silk pieces because they're light enough for summer but they're this luscious, buttery silk."
Coachella wardrobe: "It's important to put some thought into our 'moments in the sun' — our TV moments, our big, onstage Coachella moments — so you know exactly how everything's going to look on camera. And right now my dream list for Coachella includes Stella McCartney, an [Alexander] McQueen piece and some Givenchy ... We'll see which of those three is going to wind up onstage.
"The guys [bandmates Matt Burr, Benny Yurco and Scott Tournet] will probably be dressed in All Saints, [which is] bringing some custom pieces for me to try on. I'm a huge fan, and they're like the gasoline that fuels our tour. If it weren't for them, I'm not sure we'd ever be in clean clothes.
"At festivals, especially when I'm bopping around doing press and not onstage, I like to keep it light and simple and fuss-free, so I find the beach approach is a good way to go. Sometimes I'll just wear a bathing suit and throw a bunch of stuff over it."
Favorite stores: "I'm bicoastal at this point because of work, and I find amazing pieces in Vermont. I'll go to some random store where there's a lady knitting scarves and get a beautiful beret or a gorgeous super-thin long scarf. Then I'll bring it out to L.A., and I'll build around it by zinging over to someplace like Sunset Plaza. H. Lorenzo is a great store that's got a lot of exciting, hard-to-find pieces, pieces that are pretty rare, pretty hard to find.
"I like to hang out at Barneys and in a pinch I'll go to Robertson, but I'm more of a Beverly Center kind of girl. I love Traffic — they're an amazing store; our drummer Matt has borrowed suits from them. For festival stuff, I find a lot of light pieces at Calypso and amazing basics atJ. Crew. Corey Lynn Calter is a designer I love, and she's got a lot of great festival stuff."
The Oakland-based world fusion-electronic music troika Beats Antique mashes up genres including hip-hop, Afro-beat, Middle Eastern belly dance and jazz. The group consists of David Satori, Tommy Cappel and Zoe Jakes, the latter of whom accompanies the music with a unique blend of tribal fusion belly dance during each performance.
Style icons: "Everything I learned I learned from trannies," Jakes said. "Because they're brilliant and I love them and they have the best styling and makeup advice — the best makeup artists are always trannies — so pretty much all of my secrets come from them. I'm usually performing on a stage with an incredible amount of light so everything has to be really extreme and exaggerated, the heavy eyeliner and the really long false eyelashes."
Fashion influences: "The people who have shaped me as an artist are other tribal fusion belly dancers Rachel Brice and Katarina Burda. I was also into the whole vaudeville scene, which has really affected my aesthetic."
Favorite stores: "I use EBay a lot. Sometimes I'll find something I really like at a fabric store and just buy it and hold onto it until I have a concept. The only other place I really shop is All Saints. They've got a great aesthetic, and I really love their clothes."
Drummer Tommy Cappel shared his sartorial sources as well: "David [Satori] and I both get our outfits from a vast community of seamstresses and clothing designers. I wear stuff by a group called Steam Trunk [in San Francisco] and S&G [boutique] in L.A., and we have a group of artist friends that own a store in San Francisco called Five & Diamond."
Coachella wardrobe: "I've had it planned for weeks," Jakes said. "The costumes are going to need to come off and go on very quickly because of all the costume changes — I usually change costumes six to eight times in a show — so I need to get them on and off within two or three minutes tops.
"For Coachella, we'll be having guest dancer Auberon Shull joining us, and we've got some mermaid tails. I think there's a flamenco skirt in there somewhere. There will be my heavily beaded antique costumes made from old, old, turn-of-the-century Egyptian fabrics, and I always wear a lot of old tribal silver jewelry. There will also be some antlers in there somewhere, as well as some feather fans and a few masks."