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Mechanics Of The Heart
She’s a muse, a role model and a style icon all in one, but how much do we really know about indie’s favourite frontwoman? Florence Welch opens up to Hot Press about chilling with Karl Lagerfeld, wowing the crowds at the Grammys, and why the best day of her life is just around the corner.
Celina Murphy, 29 Nov 2011
“Yeah. You can still keep the fantasy.”
Has Florence considered that she herself might be a role model for other women?
“I do find it quite overwhelming if I meet girls and they seem to be really shaking and in tears. I’m like, ‘It’s just me! Don’t be scared, I’m just like you! I fall over and spill things on myself. I’m completely useless! Don’t cry!’ You do feel a certain sense of responsibility to them and it’s so sweet, but you’d never wake up in the morning and think, ‘Oh, I’m going to be a role model today.’ I can’t really think like that, it’d be too nerve-wracking, I wouldn’t be able to step outside the house for fear of letting people down.”
This is the difference between Welch and an artist like Lady Gaga, who appears to feed off her function as role model like a tick feeds off your pet Labrador.
“It must be so exhausting,” Welch agrees. “It’s very admirable for her to immerse herself completely in her own construction and stick to it with such conviction, but I think, for me, it’s a more subtle bleeding of reality and performance. I guess I do it in a way that is more livable for me. She does it in a way that she lives and breathes it and I do too, but I’m drawn to the more romantic side than the dramatic.”
Still, the two women have more in common than Florence may realise. To my eyes at least, their live shows carry the same ferocious energy and fearless sex appeal.
“I think I would be so loath to look intentionally sexy!” Florence giggles. “It kind of makes me feel weird. I’m just trying to frighten people! It’s just trying to own it and own your own body and own the song and just to be free, I think, but to just be overtly sexy that’s never been what I’m about.”
We’ll leave the heavy petting and phallic props to Rihanna, then.
“Yeah. God, she’s amazing!”
Still, even chart dominatrix Rihanna doesn’t have designers lining up to dress her. Other fashion accolades Welch has racked up in the last few weeks include a place on the British Fashion Council Style Icon List and a number two spot on Harper’s Bazaar Best Dressed List. And then there’s that enviable relationship with Chanel. A couture-draped Flo performed on the Chanel runway at Paris Fashion Week this year, and Karl Lagerfeld himself photographed her for the cover of Japanese Vogue, styling her in his own iconic likeness.