Watching the news on television last Sunday night and witnessing from afar the worse riots Britain has seen in over thirty years, I was quite relieved I had chosen that particular weekend to escape to New York. Literally. I went to the Escape To New York festival on the Shinnecock Reservation on the east end of Long Island.
Organised by Freddie Fellowes (modeled on his Cambridgeshire Secret Garden Party) and entrepreneur Rocco Gardner, New Yorkers and British aliens alike, all travelled the ninety miles outside Manhattan for a weekend of frivolous festival fun.
When I think of festivals in the UK I envisage wellies, mud and fancy dress; It is practically a prerequisite of the Secret Garden Party to attend looking as weird and wonderful as possible and my disheveled friends returning from Glastonbury this year looked like they hadn’t slept or showered in 4 days (they hadn’t.)
E2NY was NOT this kind of festival.
Attracting a much more style savvy and well groomed crowd, with a chic ‘glamping’ area consisting of rows of crisp white teepees and safari style tents, hot showers in porter-bathrooms, and delicious catering by The Fat Radish, I stealthy buried my silver latex leggings and pink wig at the bottom of my bag – Thank God I had just had a pedicure…
Aside from the usual festival staples (multi-coloured wayfarers, floral hair accessories, denim shorts, pixi boots) there was a definite nod to our Native American hosts (feathers in girl’s hair, moccasins on their feet) and an elegant trend also appeared; short shorts with long sleeved tops and bikini tops with flowing maxi skirts – a more demure way of keeping/looking cool.
Various clothes and accessory stalls were scattered around the reservation but ultimately there were three that stood out as the most popular, unique and exciting;
1. The StyleLiner
The glamorous Joey Wolfer drives all over the world in her 20 foot refurbished potato-chip truck – a veritable treasure trove filled with limited edition clothing and extraordinary accessories available to the flocks of fashionistas at private parties, social events and festivals. Starting successful ventures is in her blood (her great-great grandfather started Marks and Spencer) and I foresee the StyleLiner becoming extremely successful... After all, this is not just any StyleLiner… This is Joey Wolfer’s StyleLiner… (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)
2. The Monocle Order
A new online member’s club for sunglasses founded by Alex Van Klaveren and Zoe Nightingale. Once you buy a pair of full priced sunglasses you will become a life-time member to the club, receive a steel membership card and be entitled to buy all subsequent pairs for half price (up to twelve per year.) The stylish sunglasses are selected from all over the world and include ranges from Karen Walker, Lotho, Cassius, Waiting For The Sun and May Fourteenth. Join up now whilst membership is still free.
Designer Mignonne Gavigan and former Bergdorf Goodman buyer, Laetitia Stanfield’s exquisite collection bib necklaces, headbands and bracelets are all stop and stare striking. Each piece created is hand beaded in India and crafted from sequins. beads and costume gems, with a chiffon backing. I adored the headbands, although their bib necklaces were sensational – serious statement pieces.
As for the festival’s music?
For me, the standout acts were Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (I wanna be in their gang!!) who’s song ‘Home’ was a serious crowd pleaser, and exciting newcomer Gary Clark Jr. - a twenty-seven year old blues guitarist reminiscent of the late Jimi Hendrix, he had the crowd blown away, worshipping him.
I look forward to escaping back to New York again next year.