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Dressing Up in Bestival Style
BESTIVAL is branching out – into books.
Pioneers in the renaissance of “dressing up to get down”, the festival, on the Isle of Wight each September, has become synonymous not only with fancy dress but also with adventurous style.
From its inception, Bestival’s all encompassing themes have fuelled the imagination of the thousands of festival-goers who have crossed the Solent to the Isle of Wight to enjoy one of the most creative events in the festival calendar.
Celebrating that unique creativity, from artists and Bestivalites alike, Bestival Presents… The Art of Dressing Up, is a 364-page coffee table book.
Curator Rob da Bank said: “I don’t know what it is about the British. Fancy dress and getting dressed up in eccentric, ridiculous and just plain stylish regalia seem to go hand in hand with our seldom-seen show-off nature ...
“And nowhere is that more evident than at our beloved Bestival.
From the medieval fool to morris dancers and pantomime – the Great British people love any excuse to don some crazy outfits and let their hair down. Maybe we’re shy, retiring creatures in our everyday guise and we need to become someone else to truly kick our heels up?
“For the last decade Bestival has embraced fancy dress like no other festival and has also pioneered the theming of festivals. From pirates to outer space, wildlife to fantasy and cowboys & indians (and the ill fated underwater theme that made the heavens open and nearly resulted in us cancelling the show!), it’s been a multicoloured psychedelic trip as tens of thousands of revellers parade through the festival.
“This book is all about that celebration of dressing up and fancy dress taken to the extreme.”
Lily Allen, who features in the book, added: “We’re show offs really – that’s why we like dressing up in the UK. At Bestival, I’m always astonished by how much luggage people bring with them, especially the girls – dresses and glitter and make-up. It’s insane that’s it supposed to be going back to basics, staying in a tent and living more simply, but you’re bringing all this stuff with you! Its so different everywhere else – it would never happen in America and in Japan everyone just wears the same uniform – kagoules and ashtrays hanging round their necks.
“The second time I played at Bestival was the year of the space theme and I planned my outfit months in advance. I was in the gym non-stop so I could squeeze into my silver Barbarella outfit and the whole weekend was just amazing.”
With selected high-end on-site studio portraits by Kent Matthews and Dan Smith shot during Bestival 2009’s outer space & 2010’s fantasy themes, alongside atmospheric images of the event itself taken by Jamie Baker, it’s an engrossing glimpse into the countless hours of imagination and ingenuity that Bestival-goers and a huge number of the acts put into their costumes.
The book is launched with an exhibition at Selfridges and will be available at bestival.net, Selfridges and selected Urban Outfitters from Monday September 16, priced £15.99.
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