These days it's rare to find an event whose attendees actually put forethought and effort into their wardrobe choices. Even weddings seem to have adopted an unspoken Friday casual dress code.
Which is what made the Coachella weekend so inspiring. Whether fringed, feathered (there must not be a feather left to pluck in the Southland), or just freakish, purposeful, put-together individual style statements were being made as loudly and forcefully as the music booming across the Coachella Valley from the gargantuan sound system.
The daylight hours of the three-day festival were awash with neon angel wings, Arctic-worthy Earth boots, brightly colored Prada stoles and enough hiked-up tube socks to fill a year's worth of American Apparel ads.
But some of the best specimens could be found after sunset -- long after sunset in the case of LA designer Jeremy Scott's party with Adidas which stretched into the wee hours of Sunday morning at Elvis' Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs. The only casually dressed attendees to be seen were the Teddy Bears in Adidas T-shirts that served as backdrop to the photographer's step-and-repeat line.
As Scott's pal Robyn DJ'd in the same living room where Elvis once sat in as a newly married man (a black-and-white photo hangs as evidence), a Johnny Depp-as-Jack Sparrow clone swashbuckled up the stairs while partygoers sporting Kid 'n Play flat-top haircuts, matador outfits, Flintstones-style bone-in shoes and Pan Am shoulder bags milled around the pool, nibbling on peanut butter and banana sandwiches (Elvis' favorite) and sipping Kanon organic vodka cocktails.
Scott was just one of several fashion designers we crossed paths with at the festival -- we spotted J. Lindeberg and William Rast's Johann Lindeberg from afar, and found Phillip Lim and Trina Turk soaking up the style. (And only Dita Von Teese would show up in a Dior tropical print sarong dress and white sailor's gob hat.)
Speaking of hats, Turk mused, "The new hat is the floppy hat, the Panama hat is definitely out. And I'm amazed at the lengths people go to."
To prove her point, Turk described an eye-catching outfit she'd seen earlier in the day -- a reveler garbed in a maroon velvet cape and matching thong, whom she dubbed "porno Renaissance man."
Fodder for the next Mr. Turk collection, perhaps?
-- Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn
Photos, from top: Dork Dozier (in bowtie) and other members of the Think A Bit Bigger fashion and music collective strike a pose at Jeremy Scott's party at Elvis' Honeymoon Hideaway house in Palm Springs; fashion designer Phillip Lim, left, and Theo Hutchcraft of the British synthpop duo Hurts soak up the style at Coachella; Dita Von Teese. Credits: Adam Tschorn; Christopher Polk / Getty Images