The “mad bitch traveller” look is not how its described in Vogue, but it should be. This season’s token ethnic vibe has gone totally freakin’ mental and we love it. Prints? Pile ’em on. Clunky ethno jewellery and accesories? The more the madder. In fact, go totally bi-polar and mix in the crazy tribal Afro shiz with colonial-esque khakis and deserty stuff as at Diane Von Furtstenburg and you’ve hit the nail on it’s barmy head. At Alexander McQueen, exotic snakeskin prints in fantastic vivid colours were blocked together – print blocking was also seen at Carolina Herrera (camoesque grassprint in desert-bleached shades) and Givenchy (jazzy geometrics cut and remixed in elegant monochome). More traditional African primary colour prints were the order of the day at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Louise Gray, which Dries van Noten had lots of fun mixing up. Maddest still was Louis Vuitton’s Chanl tweed uniform meets safari trail blaze; the afro wigs and candy colour makeup made this army goes wild look somewhere between a Seventies throwback and Harajuku girls take to the jungle.
Nathan Jeden’s interpretation is when the mad bitch traveller girl, tired of running around Cambodia discovering unchartered jungle territory, saving children, fighting deadly tigers and snakes (and chundering averywhare) gets back to the cityscape, her 5-star hotel, and wants to look fan-flipping-tastic. The cocktail hour with the hot ur guide, perhaps. Or maybe she’s that much of a mad bitch that she just fancies doing all of the above while looking her very polished best; no dirty nails, dreadlocks or rugged parkas if you please! And we love it.
This poolside glam ASOS jumpsuit has a similar, floaty feminine floral vibe, with just a touch more psychedelia. Maxi schmaxi, the real ethno chic way to go this summer, as anyone who saw Carrie take on Abu Dhabi knows, is the jumpsuit. Elegance sublime; swathes of material to hide all those times you skipped doing your pre-summe workout? Check. Only with jumpsuits, the whole two-leg-thing is like so much more practical and like flattering, yeah? And the delicate string work around the neckline on this one just slam dunks any of those crappy strapless bandeau maxi-dresses which fetch that price on the high street.
We love DvF’s take of mixing coloniser with colonised. Take straightforward 70s reinterpretaions of the empire days, shirtdresses and jackets insired by what the Brits wore in India and the like, and simply mismatch-match with funky foreign prints to get a general explorer-meets-Man-Friday-mashup. For our summer evenings, this sleeveless Topshop Waterfall Khaki Jacket should do. The colour is bang on military presence in Africa, while the flowing cut around a loosefitting jumpsuit keeps it hippy-cool.
Notice the Chinese print detail around the waist on Nathan Jenden’s look? Get a bit of that natch Oriental style with River Island‘s super-kawai parasol. Mismatching prints has never been easier! Just mix up your various ethno vibes – how much of a mad bitch would travel that much that she even forgets which ethno tribe she’s meant to be fitting in with and does all of them at once for the hell of it?
And while you’re there, check out these heels from River Island‘s shoe dept. Brave a girl is she who takes on the height of these bad things, but with ankle armour like those spikes you’d definitly fend off unwanted attention from snakes in the grass! We love also the bi-polar feel of these – halfway through they decided to go all Chanel and put chains on. Traveller luxe indeed.
Of course no travelling gal worth her weight in travel-sized Clinique would be complete without a slap of black see-through plastic; enter these stunning Linda Farrow shades. The retro frame is great for complementing this crazy-kooky-lady look, especially with that 70 jumpsuit and perhaps some long and flowing Lauren Conrad/Nicole Ritchie locks. Super-chic black is bang on for the slick evening vibe. Wearing indoors obligatory.
Finally – ethno jewellery to knock yer eyes out. Traidcraft‘s bib necklace is bona fide traveller shizzle. In one click on their online store, you can get a litle bit of fairly-paid India. Fairtrade or no, it’s a stunnng necklace anyhow and would bring a touch of the exotic to even the most simple black outfit, meaning in these tough times you can forgo the rest, save the world and bag the ethnic look. Bargin!