A Singer-Songwriter on Her Biggest Yé-Yé Influence

By
Sophie Auster. Photo: Adrian Mesko

There's a new theme every day on It's Vintage. Read more articles on today's topic: Yé-Yé Girls.

Sophie Auster, the singer-songwriter whose new album, Dogs and Men, comes out this June, has been known to perform in everything from a Françoise Hardy–esque white suit (worn with a Humphrey Bogart novelty T-shirt) to a lacy white dress, à la Claudine Longet. Here, she breaks down her biggest music and style influence, the yé-yé singer France Gall.

"The first album I ever owned was by '60s French pop star France Gall: a secondhand record given to me by my uncle Jon when I was 7. I think it was her image on the cover that struck me first. She had an adorable and inviting blonde bob and red turtleneck and I was instantly in girl-crush heaven. I played that record over and over again, learning all the songs in garbled French and dancing around my room. Over the years, however, when I came to understand the meaning of her songs, I realized that the beautiful girl smiling out at me from the record cover was not just singing cozy little love songs. The 'Laisse Tomber les Filles' lyrics read: 'Chance forsakes/The one who knows nothing else/But leaving wounded hearts/You'll have no one/To comfort you/You'll deserve it!'

"Today, I not only have covered songs by France Gall, but her sweet '60s look has also helped shape my own personal style on- and offstage. I find myself gravitating toward cat eyes, cropped pants, and button-down shirts with ties and bows. I also wonder if the dark side of her seemingly bright songs hasn’t rubbed off on me and influenced my work."