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 julianbajsel.com|
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.
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.