Think of Florence Welch, the brooding, mysterious songstress of Florence and the Machine. Now think of her style. It’s bohemian, delightfully quirky and a little bit retro. How perfect that Welch is the face of Gucci’s fine jewellery and timepieces—she’s basically Alessandro Michele’s sartorial soul mate. Michele designed the wardrobe for Welch’s most recent tour and the musician admits she and the Gucci designer share “psychedelic granny influences.” We asked Welch what it’s like to be a fashion muse and a certified “Gucci girl.” Here’s what she had to say.
You’re the ambassador for Gucci jewellery and timepieces. What’s it like to work with a brand that’s so close to your personal style?
“It felt very natural because, before I met Alessandro, I heard that he had been designing a lot of his first collection while listening to ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ on repeat, which was incredibly flattering. Alessandro and I have quite similar influences, he is fascinated by the Renaissance and Greek mythology like me. He also has these psychedelic granny influences which is how I have been dressing for quite a long time!”
How did you first meet Michele?
“We’d been influencing each other for some time and when it came for us to meet, we both got the location completely wrong. He went to my hotel, I went to his hotel, and we actually passed each other on the street before we even met, admiring each other’s outfits. He had his Shakespearean beard and this beautiful necklace and a trench coat on, and I was wearing enormous red bell-bottoms and a pom-pom waistcoat. Then when we finally met, we were like, ‘Oh, it’s you!’”
Alessandro Michele and Florence Welch
Have you always had a clear sense of your personal style?
“Getting dressed is a form of creative expression and it is a way to use [my] imagination, so I like to put a lot of thought into it. I love thinking about clothes, they are a form of protection for me, a way to feel strong.”
What’s the first memorable piece of jewellery you’ve ever owned?
“I first started collecting vintage jewellery when I was on tour, picking things up here and there as a little memory of every place I had been to. What I love about Alessandro’s designs is that everything he makes feels like it has a story behind it. If it is pretty, it is never too pretty; there is always darkness or there is an edge to it. Even with the Gucci Flora jewellery, when you think of flowers you cannot help also but think of decay. With the bees in the Le Marche des Merveilles collection, I found out that bees were supposed to be messengers between the living and the dead. He never makes anything that doesn’t have an element of edge.”
How do you incorporate jewellery into your look?
“I am definitely drawn to vintage-inspired pieces, and I feel like attention to detail is important too. I love the G-Timeless watch, it has quite a vintage feeling strap and lots of little stars, hearts and bees on it. Jewellery has become a part of me, I feel naked if I don’t have rings on.”
The inspiration for Gucci’s pre-fall collection was “Catherine de’ Medici goes to Studio 54.” Which historical figures are you drawn to? Do you consider any of them a muse?
“It was interesting [that] Alessandro said a lot of his last collection was inspired by Catherine de’ Medici because my mother is a professor of Renaissance history, so I spent so much time as a child in these Florentine churches looking at frescoes, and that has definitely permeated a lot of my aesthetic ideas and what I am drawn to.”
Do your stage outfits tell a story in the same way your songs do?
“My second album was quite big, glacial and severe, and my look was beginning to emulate that. With the latest record, I wanted the person and the performer to be the same. For the tour, Alessandro designed the most beautiful dresses that I could still move in. I felt very free.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter