If there’s anything the past two years have taught us about music, it’s that few things can compare to the sensory experience of a live performance. For artists and fans, the slow return to in-person concerts has been a hesitant but welcome culture shift, bringing back the unique experience of seeing a complete musical vision come to life. Sibling and singing duo Alyson and Amanda Michalka, better known as Aly & AJ, hope to bring their vision to life for fans on their first tour in three years this spring.
In early 2022, the duo released A touch of rhythm gets you on your feet, gets you out then into the sunan extended 16-track album that is a touching ode to their home state of California. rolling stone aptly describes pop-rock songs as “sunny”, and that’s exactly how you feel when you listen to them.
Suits featured interchangeable separates, including wide-leg pants, waistcoats, and jackets; Photo: Stephen Ringer
For their tour, which kicked off in early April, the sisters wanted every element of their show to reflect those same warm, ambient vibes the album elicits. To pair with a backdrop of rocky Southern California beaches, Aly & AJ selected a strategic and simple set of custom-made costumes by Giuliva Heritage. “[The brand has] that kind of classic 60s/70s tone that resonated with us. We were inspired by the style of artists from that era like Mick and Bianca Jagger,” Aly told Coveteur over a video call. (She and AJ slipped away for a few minutes during their rehearsals to talk about the clothes. ) “That’s been a lot,” AJ laughs before noting that she can’t wait for fans to see what they’ve cooked up.
Although the duo have been performing since they were children, they have taken full creative control of this tour. As for the fashion element, the sisters – with Aly as fashion lead – worked directly with the designers to put together eight complete costumes that could be worn and styled in many different ways depending on the mood and location. .
Each sister has a set of eight custom looks; Photo: Stephen Ringer
“It was comfortable, it was powerful, we felt strong. We felt like we were showing up for a day of work. It’s like, OK, get on stage and let’s kick ass,” AJ recalled of the first time they wore the brand’s costumes when they performed on stage at Lollapalooza in 2021. From there, the sisters realized that they shared a common philosophy less is more. with Margherita Cardelli Cavaliere and Gerardo Cavaliere, the husband and wife designers of Giuliva Heritage. The designers are based in Italy and have built their business on garments made to last a lifetime.
“Fortunately, our visions merge and as friends we have a lot of values in common,” Margherita told Coveteur via email. She explained that they also shared their love of music through the prism of creativity. “Our life is filled with music from wake up time to bedtime. We dance and sing a lot. We couldn’t live without [it].” Naturally, their baby loves dancing to Aly and AJ’s new album.
Giuliva Heritage has tailored each item to the sisters’ specifications; Photo: Stephen Ringer
Aly’s personalized vest; Photo: Stephen Ringer
AJ’s custom pants; Photo: Stephen Ringer
Most touring costumes include a vest, blouse, jacket, and wide leg pants that can be mixed and matched. There are brown boots, also from the brand, which give costumes an aesthetic ranch feel without sacrificing comfort. “We’ve always had a crazy respect for women who wear high heels on stage. I think to myself, I have no idea how you dobut we just want to be as comfortable as possible,” says Aly. The costume colors, which include browns, yellows, muted blues and beiges, fit perfectly into this Southern California moment the singers were hoping to achieve.
“The yellow is totally a reference to ‘Don’t Need Nothing,'” Aly explains, referring to the song whose lyrics refer to the album’s title. “AJ happens to be in a bit more vibrant colors, which I think looks really great with his blonde hair. And I’m a bit more like muted jewel tones.”
Along with making sure everything down to their guitar straps matches the vibe, the rest of the band (who are usually doing their own thing) are also dressed to the theme. “We’re usually not very involved in what guys wear, but I think because this record is so specific in tone, I thought it would be OK,” Aly explains. “Denim jeans, canvas denim, vintage button-ups, worn-in items that feel loved, and boots. No sneakers, no black jeans,” Read: California Rock of the 70s.
“These are pieces that I feel like a future child would turn around and say, ‘That’s so cool, mom,’ you know?” Aly said; Photo: Stephen Ringer
“We felt like we were showing up for a day’s work. It’s like, OK, get on stage and kick some ass,” AJ says; Photo: Stephen Ringer
The fashion links don’t stop at the stage or even at the tour. Aly and AJ see style as such an integral part of their artistic output that they have gone beyond traditional merchandising. They worked with Southern California-based milliner Cody Wellema to create a small series of custom hats, the Aly fit and the AJ fit, which fans can purchase on their website.
While musicians first, the sisters have a clear understanding of how fashion can shape a narrative. They wanted a stage uniform to help tell the story of who they are as artists now. It was important to them that their clothes, like their songs, were something you could sit with, absorb, interpret and eventually pass on. As Aly said, “These are pieces that I feel like a future child would turn around and say, ‘That’s so cool, mom,’ you know?”
Find the full list of Aly & AJ “A Touch of the Beat” tour dates here.