How Hayley Williams Gets Ready to Perform on a Paramore Tour — See Photos

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Focused on muses from the 1960s and early ’70s such as Rita Moreno and Jane Asher, Williams sought to embody their style during a time when things were just as political as they are now. “There’s a lot of political discourse around that time — the miniskirt itself was a political statement,” Williams tells Allure. “There’s a lot of parallels, politically. It’s uncool that, in some ways, there’s been no progress. There’s still inequity — whether it be racial issues, gender issues.” Williams explains that her look on stage is about subtly playing into the commonalities of the fight women have been enduring for the last 60+ years. “On the opposite side, Brian and I’ve been really inspired by these women throughout time. There’s ways to find throughlines through all of it.”

Williams is herself a muse for many in the emo generation. She’s been at the helm of Paramore since the band’s inception when she was 15: a vocal powerhouse and commanding frontwoman in a genre dominated by men. Her style has always been eye-catching, from her hair, which has ranged from amber to clinohumite to everything in the fiery in-between, to style juxtapositions of placing a pleather skirt with a tee or a frilly red frock with Birkenstocks. Over the years, she’s been able to soften structured looks with fairy-like makeup or make more dainty ensembles edgier with in-your-face hair colors. 

For Paramore’s latest tour, she’s leaning hard into the girlish, the delicate, and even the whimsical. “I think holding on to femininity and using that as a way to feel empowered has been really cool,” says Williams. “I’ve been very adamant about pulling away from femininity [in the past]. Not really seeing my own power in that way. And Brian’s always tried to help me understand that there’s power there.”

O’Connor is not just Williams’s one-person glam squad: he’s Good Dye Young’s co-founder, chief innovation officer, and Williams’s best friend. He takes her direction and executes it the Williams way. “How can we take [inspiration] and make it our own?” says O’Connor. “Maybe mess it up at the end? Like Hayley said, getting up on stage in a dress for just a regular show — most people wouldn’t realize that it’s a big deal for her, it’s not something she would consider her norm. It’s also making sure that the hair and the makeup complement that and not put it over the top to where she does not feel like herself. If the clothing and styling for stage are very structured, or maybe something that’s more outside of her comfort zone, it’s good to have hair and makeup be in her comfort zone.”

Williams has maintained her voice throughout her almost two-decade-long career — as recently as 2020, she seemingly called out a former bandmate for homophobia to (rightfully) put former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in his place for misogyny; at the Beacon Theater show, she passionately commented on how proud she is of Paramore’s diverse and inclusive fanbase; she wants to communicate that we can’t turn a blind eye to the state of the world and to send a message that we need to acknowledge current events, transgressions, and inequalities without letting them destroy us. 

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