Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim.
Photo: via Haim
Although Haim first crossed our radar in March when we caught wind of the breakout band at SXSW, this L.A. trio goes back WAY further than that. Like, playing music pretty much all their lives way back. Sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim grew up rocking out with their parents, but now they’ve traded their childhood living room for massive arenas, overseas tours with Florence and the Machine, and just this weekend, a sold-out show in New York. Not too bad, right? But with even a slew of singles and the profound ability to permanently cement their unique soulful pop sound into your brain, the best part is that these girls can still totally hang. They’re so hilarious and fun, you almost forget these talented musicians can also shred your face off in about 2 seconds, which is exactly what happened on Saturday night. But just before they tore it up onstage, we chatted with Haim about their go-to performance outfits, dream designers, and why Napoleon Dynamite should never be a fashion icon.
MTV STYLE: You guys just wrapped a U.K. tour! How’d it go?
ESTE: It was amazing! At first people were warning us that the audience might react differently over there than they do here, like, it might be tougher to get people into the songs. But then we went and people were on each others’ shoulders, singing along, it was awesome. We loved touring the U.K., but when you’re an opening band you can’t expect anything. Especially since we were opening for Florence and the Machine, who are the best. The tour was only about a week and a half, but we wish we could do it all over again.
Along with your music, people have been picking up on the band’s onstage style. Is it different than how you’d dress in normal life?
ESTE: Mine is basically the same, but I do amp it up a little bit onstage. In my everyday life, I’ll throw on jeans or my cashmere sweatpants [gesturing to her super soft-looking cashmere sweats], but I’ll wear red lipstick or dresses because it’s nice to feel pretty onstage.
ALANA: Mine’s basically the same. Lots of shorts, since they’re comfortable and easy to move around in.
DANIELLE: Same here. I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt, and boots. Nothing too fancy.
How has your style evolved since your music career has taken off?
ALANA: Mine has evolved a LOT…it used to be awkward, especially in middle school. There were some missteps.
Do have an example?
ALANA: Well, I was in 7th grade when the movie Napoleon Dynamite first came out. You know how he has Moon Boots and wears them basically the entire time? Well, I had a pair of shoes that looked slightly like Moon Boots- except they were really just snow boots- and I wore them EVERY SINGLE DAY. With skirts, pants, in the heat..and this was L.A. And then on top of that, the ’80s made a slight comeback that year as well, so I would wear my fake Moon Boots, an acid wash skirt, and a dangly earring. And I had braces.
ESTE: Um…I had a bleach blonde mullet. It was 2004, right when ScarJo had her mullet. I went into the hair salon like an idiot and was like, “I just want a mullet.” And the guy was like, “Sure!” I had swoopy bangs, straight hair in the back that was a little bit longer, and then I would braid the pieces into two braids. It was a lot of look. I had it for a year and thought it was really cool, and then when I look back on it I’m like, “Wow, I didn’t get asked out a lot back then…” [laughing].
DANIELLE: I had really intense swoopy bangs. Those ones that would cover one eye, you know? Those were so cool back in the day.
I hear you guys are into nail art….
ALANA: Yeah, except we went and got our nails done today, and they weren’t that good! I take nail art really seriously, so when I got this done [half-moons], I was like, “Pshh! I can do this in my sleep, girl!” Who knows, maybe I’ll do some MTV Style nail art for you guys….
ESTE: Alana is a nail ninja.
[Editor’s note: Alana later emailed us a photo of her galaxy nail art, and we can honestly say it’s awesome.]
We’re gonna hold you to that! Who are your musical style icons?
DANIELLE: I really love Jane Birkin; I’ve always loved her style. I think my style now, actually, is a little bit of Jane Birkin mixed with Serge Gainsbourg. Mick Jagger is also a huge fashion influence as well.
ESTE: I had a weird obsession with Aaliyah in middle school.
ALANA: Same. I wanted to do that baggy sweat pants with the underwear thing, but I don’t think that I can pull it off like she did.
ESTE: Um, no. That would take you back to the awkward 7th grade days. Also, I’ll always love Courtney Love, Drew Barrymore in the ’90s was amazing…pretty much all strong female and male badass artists.
Which designers are you all obsessed with?
DANIELLE: How much time do you have? [laughing] The list is so long. But Isabel Marant for sure.
ALANA: And Topshop is slooowly getting in stuff that looks like the Isabel Marant, but it’s slow. We went to Topshop a lot in Europe.
DANIELLE: Balmain, Balenciaga…it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes with Alexander Wang as the new designer. But I like Alexander Wang for Alexander Wang as well.
ESTE: I would kill for an Alexander Wang bag. I think we all would…