With a voice that fills sta­di­ums and a beauty that re­calls an­other era, Florence Welch takes on a new role: the face of Gucci jew­ellery and watches. By Ju­lia Llewellyn Smith.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Jewels -

Pho­tographed by Si­mon Proc­ter. “What is this—in­ter­view by Pow­erPoint?” Florence Welch ex­claims as she ges­tures to­ward the large drop-down pro­jec­tor screen that dom­i­nates the tiny of­fice where we are meet­ing, in the back of Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum. The room it­self couldn’t be more of a con­trast to the sur­round­ing Aladdin’s Cave of spa­ces filled with jew­ellery, cos­tumes, and dec­o­ra­tive items from ev­ery con­ti­nent and era, which the Florence and the Ma­chine singer has spent the past half hour bliss­fully brows­ing. “I spent so much time here as a kid,” she says, sink­ing care­fully into an of­fice chair as if it were one of the price­less an­tiques on dis­play. “My mum is a pro­fes­sor of Re­nais­sance stud­ies and a trustee, so I’d hear her lec­ture on things like a pair of gloves—why they were scented, why they meant so much to Floren­tines at the time. It’s funny, mum stud­ies clothes and she’s very chic, but she doesn’t un­der­stand my wild pas­sion for fash­ion at all. She’d rather write about stuff than buy it.” She pauses, then: “I won­der if I have a daugh­ter if I’ll be like, ‘Look at this dress!’ And she’d be like, ‘No, Mum, not in­ter­ested.’”

It’s a typ­i­cal Welch mono­logue: free-form and un­guarded. Her par­ents split when she was 13, with Welch and her younger brother and sis­ter ac­quir­ing a to­tal of four new stepsi­b­lings. “There’s a lot of cre­ativ­ity on both sides. Both par­ents are amaz­ing, in­ter­est­ing peo­ple,” she says.

Welch’s fa­ther is a for­mer ad­man who now runs an eco-friendly camp­site. “He used to man­age my band and drive our camper van, but he’s not ex­actly authoritarian,” she says. Her mother is the wor­rier—in­sist­ing when Welch was mov­ing out of the fam­ily home in South Lon­don a cou­ple of years ago that her new place be only a five-minute cy­cle ride away. “My mum still wishes I’d gone to uni­ver­sity; she’s very pro­tec­tive of me.” Welch says, adding, “The mu­sic in­dus­try fright­ens her.”

Welch her­self is a study in con­tra­dic­tions. She is un­de­ni­ably a free spirit, who is not above en­joy­ing the rock ’n’ roll ram­bunc­tious­ness of the road. (She once ac­ci­den­tally set her ho­tel room on fire.) But she makes no at­tempt to hide her up­per-mid­dle-class back­ground, speak­ing in clear Queen’s English tones, her speech dot­ted with “please” and “thank you”. Then, there’s to­day’s en­sem­ble: vel­vet J Brand flares and a bur­gundy Gucci scarf shirt, loafers, and belt con­trast­ing with her make-up-free face, shaggy ti­tian bangs, and vintage hip­pie-trail linen coat. “Peo­ple tease me about this belt on In­sta­gram, I wear it so much,” she says. “But you know when some­thing holds ev­ery­thing to­gether?”

Ring, Gucci Fine Jew­ellery

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