Real ones have been on their Phoebe Philo s**t since '04!
Danielle Haim comes through talkin' deep-cut L.A. merch, Y2K-era Chloé jawns + rocking mf crowds this fall
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Danielle Haim — she’s a MONSTER GOAT who makes MONSTER CHUNES with her GOATLY sisters Este and Alana, to the degree that their last album, Women In Music Pt. III, was Blackbird Spyplane’s No. 1 Album of 2020 (no. 2 was a tie between everything Westside Gunn put out.)
WIMPIII contained so many slappers that fellow L.A. native Paul Thomas Anderson directed videos for like ~12 of them and he shot Haim’s album cover, ‘cause greats recognize greats !!
More impressive than any of that, though? Danielle is swagged the f**k out & knows her way around a fire jawn. Case in point: I was backstage at a Haim show back in 2013, wearing an Usher Confessions Tour tee (it might ring a bell for readers cuz I’ve rocked it in pics here), and Danielle knew that a Mach 3+ shirt would elevate her stagecraft so she borrowed the tee, rocked it onstage, and crushed the show…
When someone makes a Haim documentary, will they credit Blackbird Spyplane with this early “make-or-break” assist? Probably! In the meantime, I hit up Danielle to see if she wanted to tell SpyNation about some rare & cherished possessions… Her reply (paraphrased) was, “O let’s do it king, I have mad s**t that fits the bill, including some SPICY archive Phoebe Philo, bang my line!”
Blackbird Spyplane: So you’ve been collecting early ‘00s Chloé pieces from the Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo eras. Erin just gave me a rundown on this s**t — how Karl Lagerfeld was at Chloé for ages, then Stella replaced him straight out of Central Saint Martins with Phoebe as her No. 2, and they reacted to ‘90s grunge & minimalism with this super glammy, bratty vibe, where they weren’t afraid to play around with looking ‘tacky’ or ‘vulgar’… What about their designs resonates with you?
Danielle Haim: “Dude, a low-rise bedazzled trouser? So good! I remember Madonna wearing Stella-era Chloé pants in the ‘Ray of Light’ video: it seemed so cool to me then, and it still feels fresh. Low-rise jeans are definitely coming back. But yeah, I’m a fan of menswear and suiting, so the idea that you could wear a trouser but it has sequins or rhinestones and is cut low-rise and tight — that’s something I can wear and not feel, I don’t know, out of place.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Phoebe Philo’s back in the headlines ‘cause she just announced her new line, post-Céline — how did you first get into her?
Danielle Haim: “I was trying to remember my gateway, and I think it traces back to this photo of M.I.A. wearing a banana-print Chloé dress (below left). It looks like the same rope bridge from the ‘Sunshowers’ video, I’m not sure, but I saw the picture in Teen Vogue. I used to beg my mom to drop me off at Book Star, which is a movie theater in the Valley that they made into a bookstore — it’s actually in the video for ‘Summer Girl.’ My mom wouldn’t let me buy any magazines, but I’d spend hours looking at i-D, Dazed, French Vogue, and Teen Vogue, just staring at the clothes…”
Blackbird Spyplane: I wonder how many young SpyFriends know about the deep pleasures of posting up in a bookstore for hours, flipping thru mags….
Danielle Haim: “It’s still my favorite thing. I’ll do it like once a year. But this was maybe 2004, so I was 14, and I saw M.I.A. in the dress and was just, like, What is that? I didn’t know how to search for it. I didn’t know you could see collections online. But after a lot of digging I somehow figured out it was this brand Chloé, and I read about the designer, Phoebe Philo — because she’d taken over from Stella by then — and all the reviews were saying, This is the coolest thing. So I followed her, and that was the only thing I knew about in fashion.”
Blackbird Spyplane: So did lil Danielle start popping tags at Chloé ??
Danielle Haim: “No! I couldn’t actually afford any of it. But they had some at Fred Segal, so I’d beg Este to drive me over the hill, ‘cause she had her license and I didn’t, and we’d window shop and I’d see the pieces close up.
“Even though the Valley’s not geographically far from Hollywood, it was only when Este got her license that we’d explore other parts of L.A. Like, I remember reading about the Young Hollywood party in Teen Vogue, and I didn’t know where it was, but they’d plaster it all over the magazine the month after it happened — all these kids my age, 15, 16, going to the Roosevelt and wearing really, really nice clothes.
“It was happening right over the hill, but it was so not a part of my world. So when it came to prom I actually made my own dress, inspired by Phoebe — hang on, I’m gonna text you a photo…”
Blackbird Spyplane: Oh h*ll yeah, that’s amazing …
Danielle Haim: “I went to LACHSA, this public arts high school, and I took a fashion elective ‘cause I wanted to make my prom dress. It was about drawing what you wanted and making it, and I couldn’t draw for shit, but I wanted it to be like something from Chloé FW04 or, like, SS05. It’s a horrendous dress. But the black trim, and the sequins — that was all inspired by Phoebe.”
“As far as me collecting Chloé now, it’s because I could never afford it when it was coming out — it’s fun to try and track down pieces I used to obsess over. I look at the usual resale places, and there’s this spot called Wasteland where Este used to work, and they have good stuff — that’s my favorite resale spot.”
Blackbird Spyplane: The other thing U picked to talk about today is yr trove of Valley restaurant merch. I know there’s a slight underdog dynamic between the Valley and the other side of the hills — it’s “less glamorous,” it’s a place where people who work “behind the scenes” traditionally live... I remember Este once telling me a dude in L.A. asked for her number, but when he heard her say 818, he was like, “Actually, no thanks.”
Danielle Haim: “He said, ‘I don’t date 818!’ Growing up, Hollywood felt like a different universe. But we had everything we needed in the Valley, and years ago I started collecting merch from these local places I love. So, Henry’s is the O.G. Valley taco spot — the tacos are the crispy-shell ones, with ground beef and iceberg lettuce, cheese and tomato. We took some of our first Haim promo shots there with our friend Keeley, and it’s the first place I ever bought merch from: I got a tee there in high school (below right) and it was this thing where they didn’t even advertise that they had merch. You had to ask for it.”
Blackbird Spyplane: IYKYK!
Danielle Haim: “You get so many props walking around L.A. in a Henry’s Tacos shirt. Then Casa Vega is this place around the corner from our elementary school — it’s classic American Mexican food, margaritas, just a great vibe. Barone’s (above left) is the classic Valley pizza place — square pizzas, red-leather booths. Bob’s Big Boy is a 24-hour ‘50s diner in Burbank, we went there a lot growing up. And Iroha is a sushi spot that’s open super late, so we’d go there tons in high school...”
Blackbird Spyplane: Wow, you’re like the 818 version of Fantasy Explosion! I’ve never been to Art’s Delicatessen but their cap (above left) is great…
Danielle Haim: “Yeah, the logo is so fire. It’s hard, though, because Canter’s Delicatessen is my true love — but it’s in Hollywood, not the Valley. Paul shot the WIMPIII cover in Canter’s, and that’s where we played our first show, as Rockinhaim, when I was in fifth grade.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Speaking of which, Haim’s playing a bunch of shows this fall. It must be bizarre not to have played WIMPIII live in front of other people yet…
Danielle Haim: “Yeah, we did a Glastonbury stream but there was no actual audience for that, so we’re in this strange zone where it feels like there’s been no closure on the album. Playing live is our favorite part, so we’re getting the show together. It’s weird to not even know what songs people are gonna sing along to — I have no idea. But it’s gonna be fun.”
Haim are online here and on IG here.
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Our “Master Jawn Index” — a running guide to earth’s greatest under-the-radar pieces and designers — is here.
I read about how she wears vintage Prada loafers, which I also coveted as a teenager. I found a pair in my size on The Real Real, but when they arrived, they were a men's pair several sizes too big. They were in great condition, though. I returned them.
So many iconic valley haunts represented in that collection…love to see it! Highly recommend Henry’s Tacos to anyone who finds themselves anywhere near that part of the Valley. The photo shown is of the OG corner location, which is now Cactus Taqueria #3. But don’t worry, they just moved a tiny bit south down Tujunga. ✌️