The first thing you will notice about Haleigh Walsworth is the way the entire café watches her sit at your table. Which is difficult to do for an American girl on rue du Rivoli at 10 o’clock in the morning. Her dress is beaded and fire-engine red, her hat is fur, her hair is enormous, blonde, and ropey, like she’s permanently ready to escape from a castle tower. None of this can help her get service from the waitstaff, however, so she sits for quite a few minutes without a cappuccino. ”I’ve almost walked out on my bill here more than a few times because the service was so bad,” she says, “But the styling and decor is so great I forgive them after about a week. Look at these chandeliers.”
As a fellow voyeur (Haleigh’s parents took her to open houses on the weekends for fun, and the possibilities of home have long been ingrained in her), Walsworth took no objection to the request to shoot her in her home. Her bright white, chic, and stream-lined Parisian flat has an unexpected simplicity and orderliness, but then, after the seventh or eighth move, Haleigh has learned what to keep and what to let go of. “After spending huge amounts of energy and time moving boxes and boxes of clothes I never wore, I realized that I had a hoarding problem.” She half jokes. Her efforts have evolved into finding one of a kind, unique items, from clothing, to furniture, to collections, and her eye for curation is on display both in her apartment as well as in her personal style blog.
After meeting Haleigh, it comes as no surprise that her blog, Making Magique, has always come across as more than just another fashion blog. ”I love style and I love clothes and I hate fashion.” Her blue eyes widen and turn steely. ”Fashion should be about creating style and clothes that fit into people’s lives, but too often it’s the other way around — fashion people propagating fashion for fashion’s sake.” While Making Magique does feature outfit posts, Haleigh has always been focused on creating a memory — a moment in time — setting the scene with music, scenery, food, and mood. ”Obviously, anyone with a personal style blog is vain to some extent; is promoting self. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be genuine. What I love about blogs is how it can be an aesthetically presented diary. I’ll have these photos when I’m old, and be able to show my grandchildren what I looked like, what I wore, what I did… so many people don’t have photos of themselves throughout their lives.”
Walsworth’s story has always been a negotiation with style — how much of her life should she dedicate to it? In addition to her blog, in 2012 she launched an online boutique offering European buyers the opportunity to get their hands on offshore brands previously unsold in the EU, and personally negotiated for wholesale rights with the likes of Evil Twin, Wild Fox, and Jeffrey Campbell. “Shipping to France from most American boutiques like Nasty Gal or Free People is so expensive, the French tend to avoid it. They’re missing out on these great brands Americans take for granted.” Haleigh single-handedly photographed each item of stock as it arrived, uploaded it to the site, wrote copy, cast, styled, and shot lookbooks, shipped the items, handled marketing and public relations, all while holding down several bill-paying jobs, and with only the help of one assistant one day a week. The venture was ultimately exhausting, and she’s been spending the winter taking a hiatus before beginning the next project.
“I used to have everything planned out to the letter, but now I’ve realized that nothing in life is permanent.” Haleigh concludes over a second capuchino the next day. This time we’re at a quieter (and prompter) establishment just up from the Seine, with a living wall, paint splatters on the tables, and tree leaves etched in our foam. “I’m recuperating my energies and optimism for the next chapter ahead, whatever it is.” At this point I shouldn’t be surprised at her seemingly effortless grasp of life lessons that some people don’t manage to learn in, well, a lifetime; after all, in the past five years, Haleigh has studied abroad in Turkey, Greece and France, completed her bachelor’s in global communications, learned a foreign language, started a sole-proprietor business in a foreign country, moved eight times, and worked multiple freelance jobs. Today she is considering a return to the states in the near future. “Just because you’re returning to a place you’ve been before, doesn’t meant that you’re moving backwards. You can hang out at different spots, with different people… reinvent yourself in a familiar place. You just have to accept who you are.”