Tribal Punk

Tribal Punk
Tuesday, June, 16, 2009 Though the warm weather usually signals a reemergence of boho-hippie prints, we were delighted to see that this season, some of our fashion-forward favorites are taking a different path. Instead of your basic paisley (patchouli is optional), they're opting for aggressively bright and multicultural patterns. These directional dressers are pushing the proverbial patterned-envelope by reaching for batik, ikat, and other tribal-influenced garments in an off-putting, acid-tone palette. Though we are completely smitten with these fresh-feeling designs, the most exciting element of this trend is how our subjects incorporate these splashily colored and eye-catching motifs into their wardrobe: by styling them with tough and punky pieces adorned with studs, grommets, and zippers for a little edge. The look, which we have affectionately christened Tribal Punk, provides the perfect mix for spring and summer: think global bazaar by way of St. Mark's Place!

Before we spotlight the outfits, let us first take a little detour and provide a brief trend tutorial. We initially noticed this combination on the S/S 09 runways of Roberto Cavalli (who is a magician with wild-yet-wearable printed fabrics) and Matthew Williamson (who combined bold patterns with leather paneling, bead embroidery, geometric details, and fluorescent flourishes). The look was inspirational, exuberant, and a little over the top-in a good way! Though this trend will primarily speak to the sort of girl who isn't afraid to make a bold, sophisticated, and eclectic statement, a variation on this vibe can be achieved by just about anyone. Simply add a graphic scarf-like Alexander McQueen's Large Tribal Scarf ($205)-to your favorite biker jacket, or layer a tribal tunic over a pair of liquid leggings, and you're well on your way. After all, it's about achieving a personal and unique mix that is equal parts exotic, tough, and luxurious!

Our tiny lesson complete, it's time to move on to the next level: a master class, in which we dissect how the fashionable elite take these seemingly disparate elements and create an easy-to-wear and cohesive look. While sitting front row at London-designer Charles Anastase's F/W 09 show, Pixie Geldof paired a vintage reptile-print green dress with Religion's Leather Jacket ($421), and copious chain necklaces. Another attendee of Mr. Anastase's presentation was Daisy Lowe, who wore a Vivienne Westwood Red Label confection (Dame Viv is the virtual high priestess of the British punk aesthetic, so it makes sense that the trendsetter would pick this piece!). The in-your-face color and print of Lowe's long dress is the perfect embodiment of the tribal-meets-anarchy trend. Although her selection is from Westwood's F/W 09 collection (Lowe actually wore this exact piece down the catwalk) and is not yet available, we recommend American Apparel's Afrika Printed Long Sleeve Mini Dress ($42) or Nasty Gal Vintage's Galang Playsuit ($62) to get a little globalism going in your day-to-day dressing rotation.

If you aren't the frock type, fear not, because there are many other ways you can transition this trend into your wardrobe. Much like Rihanna (who wore the Keith Haring-print Leather Jacket ($2025) by Jeremy Scott) you can find pieces that feature these festive markings in tried-and-trusted shapes and silhouettes. Leigh Lezark did just that when she wore a busily printed black-and-white top with zipper embellishments to Jeremy Scott's F/W 09 show in Paris. Take a note from Lezark's book: if you aren't ready to make a full leap, just wear your bold print item with black basics.

On that note, we are particularly fond of tops and pants that highlight energetic and boisterous patterns, like Topshop's Freeze Frame Vest ($50). We're also wild about Just FM's Tribal Harem Pants ($91), which mimic the season's must-have carrot shape trousers, or try swapping out your monochromatic body-con bottoms for a pair of Charlotte Russe's Tribal Leggings ($13). Whatever you pick, you can always up the aggression-ante by accessorizing with "proper" punk pieces, like studded leather cuffs, combat boots, and lots of attitude. These rough-and-tumble accents will surely take you to your Tribal Punk destination of choice!-KM


While that's all the tribal punk information we've prepared for you today, we do have a quick announcement that's entirely unrelated to clothing, but fabulous nevertheless. We are very pleased to present a new sharing feature, which is located at the bottom right corner of this post (it's the cute little envelope). Now you have so many more ways to share the WhoWhatWear.com love: you can tweet about us, digg or buzz-up a story, add your favorite layouts to your Facebook or MySpace page, and much more! All we can say is that we appreciate your continued encouragement, and hope you enjoy this new feature and will continue to support us!

In addition to this sharing goodness, now there are even more ways to keep up with all things Who What Wear. You can hook up with us on Facebook (we've got some amazing fans) and follow us on Twitter (stay in the loop with WWW, Katherine Power, or both). That's right, dear readers, we're keeping up with not only the latest fashion trends, but with technology too! Plus, there are more developments to come-so stay tuned for updates...!


Runway Images, from firstVIEW; Photos of Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe, and Leigh Lezark, from Getty Images; Photos of Rihanna, from Splash.
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