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In preparation for their first tour, kicking off Wednesday, the ladies of indie pop band Uh Huh Her, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey, are pulling out their party frocks. But not just any dress will do: these musicians have their eyes on modern, sexier-than-sweet looks.
With their jagged bangs and predilection for ink-colored drainpipes, the ladies of Uh Huh Her, who embark on their first tour with an opening show at Vancouver’s Media Club on Nov. 14, may appear to have the rock ‘n’ roll girl band aesthetic down pat. But fashion — from Marni’s jewel-toned shifts to James Perse’s supple, draped Ts — is very much on the minds of Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey, and they’re not shy about admitting it.
“I’ve come to realize that the most important thing besides the music, when you’re performing, is the clothes,” says Hailey, who approached Grey last fall after watching the singer perform with her former band Mellowdrone. Best known for her role as the spirited Alice Pieszecki on Showtime’s “The L Word,” Hailey, who plays guitar, had been eager to hit the strings again after the 2001 breakup of her alt-pop band The Murmurs. “I’d been looking for a partner for a while, and I realized Camila had exactly the right sound,” Hailey explains. Conveniently, Grey, fresh off collaborations with Melissa Auf der Maur, Dr. Dre and composer Hans Zimmer, was herself eager to break out of backup singing and session work. “We recorded the songs on [the EP] ‘I See Red’ [Plaid Records] in my bedroom,” says Grey, who cowrote each track with Hailey. “The sound actually came pretty naturally.”
That sound — one which manages to combine a lush orchestration reminiscent of The Eurythmics with the lyrical wit of Tegan and Sara — is already winning over the alt-rock set, which came out in droves for the pair’s preview concert at L.A.’s Knitting Factory on Oct. 26. Wearing a Marni dress (Hailey) and Givenchy skirt with a vintage top (Grey), the duo played the five songs from their debut EP — and got an initial taste of the challenges of dressing for crowds who expect a sartorial edge from their entertainment.
“Fashion is really important on ‘The L Word,’ and being on the show has definitely influenced my style. I’m trying to find a balance between my Victorian prim look and some sexier pieces,” says Hailey, who previously dated “The L Word” stylist and Freecity designer Nina Garduno. Hailey admits her on-screen alter ego’s affinity for romantic pieces — a pooled-silk shift here, a ruffled blouse there — is one she has adopted. “I want us to complement each other onstage. It helps that I’m a lot more girly and into dresses, while if there’s anyone who likes to wear black, head to toe, all day long, it’s Camila.” Hailey pauses. “I should probably strive to be a little edgier.”
As for Grey, “I definitely revert back to the Seventies — skinny jeans, a James Perse T-shirt and a great Gucci coat,” she says, noting that for the appropriate dash of rocker chic, a Stella McCartney suit is on her tour wish list. “Growing up in Texas, all I wore were Cole Haans and khakis,” she says ruefully. “I do like dark. I’m making up for lost time.”
— Sarah Haight; styled by Monica Schweiger
PHOTO BY ASHLEY BARRETT; HAIR BY AARON LIGHT AND MAKEUP BY ROBIN GLASER USING DERMALOGICA, BOTH AT CELESTINE TALENT; FASHION ASSISTANT: GEORGINA BORDEN; STYLED BY MONICA SCHWEIGER
This article was originally published as a page one story, titled, “Two for the Road.”