HAYLEY FRANCISE ON HER AESTHETIC DNA, YOUTH CULTURE AND COURTNEY LOVE
Seeing a stylist's work who just gets it may be one of the greatest feelings next to orgasm. The pleasure of being transported so totally into another world, especially that of someone who sees you, is something every person in fashion understands. It all comes together perfectly; the scene is set, the glamour is cast, and suddenly there's nowhere else we want to be but there.
So is true of the world of stylist Hayley Francise. Hailing from Atlanta, the Los Angeles based creative is known for her penchant at weaving the grime of subculture with the glamour of youth and femininity. Erotic touches are embedded into surreal landscapes that feature Hayley's love of punk, the underbelly of Atlanta and the ever evolving notion of "more is more."
Hayley's universe is full of bright and brash colors, unapologetic and loud mouthed characters, strong drinks and fabulously dressed people. Her styling brings us into this world, not just as a visitor or observer, but as a guest. FASHION IS DYING caught up with Hayley to talk her muses, the evolution of fashion, dream gigs and what's next.
FASHION IS DYING: You’re the first stylist I’ve interviewed for this site so I’m really excited to talk to you. You have a really diverse eye but all your work has your signature. How would you describe your creative style?
HAYLEY FRANCISE: As a teen I went through many wild phases, but looking back I can link each and every one to fashion. Influenced by my adolescence in underground Atlanta clubs, grimy bars, and punk, I now get to materialize the looks I wasn't always able to get just right. My work focuses on recreating those phases and the characters I tried to emulate in photos.
FID: What’s your process like when planning and conceptualizing shoots? Do you have any weird habits or rituals?
HF: Once I can put my finger on a concept I fully obsess over the idea. It will affect everything I do during that prep time; the way I think, what I wear, the music I listen to, everything. My process is like burning a candle at both ends - I get so hellbent over something I end up hating it as soon as it’s done, forcing me to move on to my next obsession. It’s all-consuming from the point of inception until I’ve fully realized it in real life but once I’m finished I can’t stand to look at it again. I always say I hate actors but I guess I’m the biggest one.
FID:What’s your favorite shoot that you’ve worked on or done?
HF: I always love to work with new people and collaborate with new talents but I really love to work with my best friend, Jaysen. When I first realized being a stylist was what I wanted to do I would constantly use him as my model to test. He let me try anything in those early shoots and I truly put his patience to the test with my antics. He put up with me cracking eggs on his head and nearly drowning him with orange soda in a public park. He allowed me to find my voice amidst all the chaos I put him through.
FID: What’s something no one told you about styling or the fashion industry that you wish you’d learned?
HF: School is not necessary to be a successful creative in the industry. If you can afford the luxury of going to school to hone in your craft that is great, but if you can’t, do not kill yourself or put yourself into debt for it. I learned, and continue to learn, things I would never have gotten to know in school by just testing my ideas by trial and error. Use your resources and get a group of friends together to experiment and find something that sticks. While you do that, find someone who’s work you really admire and be willing to work really really hard for them and make the most out of any opportunity you’re fortunate enough to be given.
FID: What’s your dream shoot?
HF: My dream is to shoot Courtney Love and Karen O for the cover of Love Magazine (Katie Grand, did you hear me?). Growing up, Hole and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs influenced a lot of who I am fundamentally. Seeing them both on stage not afraid to be aggressive but also keeping a sense of femininity was a game changer for my 12-year-old self. I love loud mouths and strong personalities so to dress these women in my image would be surreal especially for a magazine like, Love where they really foster that type of unapologetic attitude.
FID: Is fashion dying?
HF: Fashion is dying in the sense that it is ever evolving, changing, and fumbling its way through a brand new era where everyone, fashion included, is figuring out how to keep up. Fashion won’t mean the same thing it does to us now in ten years and that’s a good thing. If something doesn’t change and grow than that signifies a true death, not an evolution.
FID: What’s your favorite fashion house? Photographer? Stylist?
HF: Hands down, Hedi Slimane era Saint Laurent. I love his merging of youth culture, LA, and music’s subgenres in his designs because it’s obviously something I can heavily relate to in my own work. He didn’t care if he was “controversial," he took the house’s legacy of using the counterculture of the 60’s and added a more rock ‘n’ roll edge to it. He evolved the house without wiping away it’s rebellious DNA.
As for photographers, It's hard for me to be decisive on which one is my favorite so I’ll give you a list of four and will probably kick myself once I send this off for forgetting to list more;
- Alasdair McLellan
- Tyrone Lebon
- Tim Walker
- Miles Aldridge
I admire and respect so many stylists but Lori Goldstein is a legend in my eyes. Opening an Elle magazine in an eye doctor's waiting room and seeing her name in the credits was the first time I registered what a stylist truly was. In that instant, I became completely obsessed with her ‘more is more’ take on styling and had to call her office to ask for an internship immediately. Her and her team were the first to give me the opportunity to figure out that my dream job actually existed. I definitely think if I didn’t get that chance my life would be completely different than it is now.
FID: What’s next?
HF: Let’s get that Love Magazine conversation happening.