Is Coachella the biggest gift to the fashion industry since Kate Middleton?
It certainly seems like it from the marketing blitz that has blown up around the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which begins this weekend in Indio.
We all know that brands have been flocking to the festival for years, hoping to make an impression on tastemakers who attend by hosting star-studded parties at nearby venues. This year, Old Navy, Lacoste, H&M, Teva, Adidas Originals, Guess and Opening Ceremony are just a few of the names on the Coachella branding bandwagon.
Among the magazines throwing bashes? Harper's Bazaar, Nylon, Filter, Flaunt and Details, so they can shoot photos of well-dressed guests and have Coachella content for their pages.
And in a truly funny twist, which really makes me question whether Coachella is a music festival or really just a giant fashion photo shoot, Sephora announced that it would set up nine beauty stations on the grounds where guests can, I don't know, get desert touch-ups?
It's appropriate when you think about it. All the style bloggers Instagramming photos of each other dressed in denim and fringe. Why shouldn't their hair and makeup be perfect under sweltering skies?
But the blitz is not limited to the festival itself. In fashion marketing speak, "Coachella" has become more than an event, it's a state of mind -- like so many other mythical SoCal locales, including Malibu and Abbot Kinney.
Coachella signifies to the world a carefree, boho lifestyle. Or, spring break for people with lots of disposable income.
Which is why online retailers and fashion magazines are e-blasting celebrity-curated "Coachella must-haves" and "Coachella packing lists," full of springy merch designed to appeal to people who aren't even attending the sold-out event.
Local boutiques are hoisting signs promoting themselves as "Coachella Headquarters" (Flower crowns! Maxi dresses! Crop tops!) There are even Coachella diets, naturally.
Old school bastions of luxury such as Neiman Marcus are getting in on the act too, believe it or not. The retailer is offering exclusive access to last-minute $1,500 VIP passes to members of its InCircle shopping loyalty program.
I wonder if I can put that on my Neiman Marcus card.