Thursday, May 19, 2016

Women We Love: Florence Welch

I'm usually pretty immune to the latest Flavor of the Month. That's why past subjects of Women We Love have all been seasoned players. Florence Welch (the Florence in Florence and the Machine), though only 29, hardly just fell off the turnip truck, but our paths crossed the other night when I saw her perform at an outdoor venue in Houston. I knew who she was, of course, but seeing her on television or in a magazine is way different from being part of a loving crowd on a beautiful late Spring evening.

Florence 5/17/16; photo by

What I saw that evening was a woman in complete command of the music, her musicians and the audience, but who nonetheless could have been that girl alone in her room dancing and singing as if no one were there. She performed barefoot in a beautiful long chiffon dress— more Valentino than Stevie Nicks. Her trademark red hair is worn long and loose— Alice in Wonderland with bangs. She wore very little makeup — probably a good thing because she worked up quite a sweat.

It had been many years since I'd been to a rock concert, and I'd forgotten about the crowd's anticipation, the burst of welcome and enthusiastic response to favorite songs. My companion thought Florence talked a little too much, but that's what made Florence no machine.

Florence Leontine Mary Welch is British (English father, American ex-pat mother). In 2009 her group Florence and the Machine released a first album, "Lungs", to wide critical acclaim. No real critic would make this comparison, but Florence is almost an English Taylor Swift— her songs are 100% personal and have broad appeal. Both are designer muses (Gucci and Chanel for Florence) but still have their own sense of style. It's easy to see how designers would respond to her pre-Raphaelite looks— strong and delicate at the same time.

Florence, upper right corner?
By Dante Gabriel Rosseti
Musing for Chanel
She describes her look as, "For the stage, it's The Lady of Shalott meets Ophelia...mixed with scary gothic bat lady. But in real life I'm kind of prim". Musical influences are Grace Slick and Francoise Hardy. It's easy to see that in her choice of stage attire as well.

Influenced by Francoise

Florence may be a style enigma (enigma Machine— get that?) as she obviously responds to her moods and can morph chameleon-like into what suits her. For two hours the other evening I was part of her world, and it was a lovely planet to visit.


  1. How cool! I'm familiar with her music, and would love to see her in concert. I admire her very personal style - she really seems to know who she is, as opposed to stars/starlets who let others dress them. I love these posts, thank you!

    1. My thoughts exactly vis a vis celebrities dressed by others. Florence makes it seem fun to get dressed. BTW there were no "costume changes" in her 2-hour set.