The all girl French band dress up

Without a doubt Paris-based foursome Plastiscines have style, but do they have substance? Armed with an album of well-produced punk-tinged pop songs, they are here to prove that they are much more than just model cheekbones and perfectly tousled hair.

After success at home and growing popularity in the US - which is set to escalate this month as they appear on hit television series Gossip Girl - Katty, Marine, Anais and Louise are ready to take on the UK with their lovable looks and appealing sound. The band is the first-ever signing to New York’s Nylon Records, the new record label off shoot of trend bible Nylon Magazine, and they personify everything that that Nylon is about and are exactly the kind of girls that the magazine’s readers aspire to be. They are cool, confident and have good taste and talent.

New single, ‘Barcelona’, has been receiving great acclaim in both France and the US. With a self-described ‘Candy-Pop’ sound, produced by hit-maker Butch Walker, who fine-tuned other favourite female pop pin-ups including Pink and Katy Perry, their album is heading for success too. Aside from Walker’s pop crusade, he has also worked with major rock artists like the legendary man of mischief Tommy Lee, so his experience is perfect for the Plasticine girls, who like a mix of polished pop and rock ‘n’ roll.

Drummer Anais explains, “Anyone who knows Butch will agree, he’s awesome. He kept pushing us further while we were recording - we didn’t know we could go that far. He’s smart and has been listening to us a lot to make this record as good as it can be.” This working relationship started when he saw the girls in LA doing their own punkstyle take on Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, causing Walker to instantly fall in love with the band.

It’s with ease that you can see that the girls are inspired by the refined sound of singers like Nancy Sinatra, just as you can see that they are inspired by the edgy riffs, energy and style of bands like The Ramones. What’s impressive is how they make it all work together and to their credit they have done this very well - both in the music and visual package.

In a true French way, it seems that conflict and differences work for them and create passion. Nancy Sinatra is topic of discussion: Marine thinks Nancy is a great singer, Anais isn’t into her, whereas Katty openly declares her love for the ’60s icon: “I’m a huge fan, I love the songs she made with Lee Hazelwood, particularly ‘Some Velvet Morning’, it’s amazing! I’m inspired by everything Nancy did - I copy her hairstyle and I love her go-go style.”

They may well still be young - average age twenty-one - but Plastiscines know their own identities as individuals as well as a band, and this is another reason why they are loved by their peers and shame other pop-rock outfits, who don’t have such selfawareness and obviously rely on others to create their image.

Reminiscing about when they formed back in 2004, the band recalls how a strong style has been always been intrinsic to their music, and just what they are about. Back then they were listening mainly to David Bowie and The Ramones - artists who were also famed for their looks as well as their music. Guitarist Marine says that for her, fashion just comes naturally hand in hand with music. She would wear her mum’s old clothes, clothes that were the fashion when the artists she liked were around, or at their height. Katty confirms that her style represents her musical likes: “I was obsessed with ’60s music, so I was buying and wearing everything relating to it.”

Another commendable and interesting element to this band is the lengths the girls go to avoid French clichés about love and romance. They never write any of their lyrics in their native tongue: “It must be quite weird to English people but we actually write everything in English then we translate it to French if we feel like it,” says Marine.

The band fear that if they were to write about the obvious topics such as love and all it entails; failures, illusion, deception, happiness, uprisings and misunderstandings in their famously romantic first language, it would be full of stereotypes and loss all sincerity and edge. As Anais puts it, “I find it really hard to express my feelings in French and not sound cheesy! I just feel more comfortable writing songs in English.”

Thousands of English and American boys are certainly not complaining about the mix of purring French accents and understandable lyrics that they find on their records.

The girl’s final word as we depart from our photo-shoot in the decedent offices of Because Music (their French label), is their adoration for their home city of Paris but also their love of London, LA and NYC. They also name-check their current heroes: Dave Grohl, Eagles Of Death Metal and Debbie Harry.

It is evident that Plastiscines are a lot more than just a trend, they may look fashion, but they live music. They have kick-ass record collections and are refreshingly comfortable with their looks. These girls are here to enforce glamour on rock n roll and are ballsy enough to fight if they need to. It’s a whole new French revolution but this time the uniforms are way cooler.

Words Kelly Murray
Photographer Bella Howard
Stylist and fashion direction Rose Forde
Stylist’s assistants Sonia Shahid and Vicki Carr
With thanks to Because Music, Paris.

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