By  on August 9, 2007

CHICAGO — Welcome to Lollapalooza 2007, a far cry from the alt-rock fest's gritty Nineties heyday. As the 167,000 who descended upon the Windy City's Grant Park last weekend for the three-day event can attest, the 130-plus acts — which included Daft Punk, Ben Harper, Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith, Iggy and the Stooges, Muse, My Morning Jacket and Interpol — were all about the music and, despite an air of stylistic insouciance, image, onstage and off.

And though former grunge-rock poster children Pearl Jam closed the show, make no mistake: Lollapalooza has grown up. Not only is the crowd — PYTs in summer dresses; hipster girls and guys in skinny jeans, tanks, porkpie hats and those ubiquitous Ray-Ban Wayfarers — more fashionable, but the festival now runs like a slick, well-oiled, high-tech machine. Extras include a wireless laptop lounge, a local-artist gallery and a big eco aspect. And since many of Lolla's original fans are now parents, there's also Kidzapalooza, a children's stage that features a punk-rock salon, break-dance floor and some of the biggest acts of the festival — Harper, Smith and Perry Farrell among them.

Despite upping its style quotient, Lollapalooza doesn't have the Hollywood contingent of other music festivals such as Coachella. In fact, seemingly the sole blonde starlet on hand, Ashlee Simpson, was there on the arm of her musician boyfriend, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, who, incidentally, was not on the scheduled lineup.

The festival owes a lot to Farrell, the former Jane's Addiction front man who founded Lollapalooza in 1991 and is still behind its organization. He estimates it cost $250,000 to make the festival green, outfitting it with an abundance of recycling bins (though regular garbage cans were in short supply) and biodegradable cups for beer and wine. But he considered it worth every penny. "I have no issues," said Farrell pre-show in his trailer — done up like home with a white picket fence and sandbox for his two young sons. "I'm proud."

Given Farrell's style history, it should come as no surprise that fashion still ranks right up there with his family and eco and tech concerns. He claims to love clothes "almost to a fault." On his fashion agenda that night: introducing a new color (turquoise!) into the silver-and-white scheme his latest band, Satellite Party, has been wearing on tour. "I've been trying on swag all morning," he admitted. The result: a Monarchy cotton dress, which he cut into a tank; white and silver tuxedo pants, and a sequined silver scarf. "It's a presentation," he says. "There's one comment I can make on young groups: They need to focus more on their presentation. We all come out and we want to see something special." As far as his own image is concerned, Farrell was clearly out to entertain, making innumerable costume changes throughout the weekend and even mocking paparazzi shots for this story.

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