Britain’s beloved ethereal vixen, Florence Welch shakes it out under the spotlight closing Coachella Festival, head-to-toe in a custom design by London lovely, Hannah Marshall.
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A stellar set of clients, London-based designer Hannah Marshall has created one-of-a-kind outfits for music’s finest femmes; Beth Ditto, Lady Gaga, Alison Goldfrapp and Alison Mosshart to name just a few. It’s her fab fashion partnership with Florence Welch that’s set the Twittersphere aflame this week as she created a show-stopping outfit for Flo’s performance at sun-drenched Californian festival, Coachella.
Providing the grand finale to the festival on Sunday, Florence Welch looked quite the red-headed fox, stepping out on stage sporting Hannah Marshall’s masterpiece. A sharp silhouette in the form of a velvet indigo bodysuit. With her fabulous locks tied in pleated tresses, Florence looked every bit the Pre-Raphaelite vision of beauty with a modern twist. Renowned for her architectural-infused pieces and being partial to the colour black (and lots of it) Hannah crafted a fusion of her tastes and Florence’s style signatures.
Taking inspiration from the Machine’s evocative tune ‘No Light, No Light,’ Hannah dusted the sleeves and shoulders with Swarovski and of course, added a sheer cape. After all, would Florence really be Florence without a hint of chiffon to flutter like bird’s wings in America’s paradise? The mastermind behind it all, here Hannah Marshall answers a few questions for i-D online and gives us the scoop on her collaboration.
Can you tell us a bit about the background to your work with Florence? The collaboration between Florence and myself began when I was commissioned to design the outfits for Florence + The Machine’s ‘Drumming‘ music video. This included a sculpted leather body suit, which gave way to transparent wing like sleeves. Following on from this came a series of performances, appearances and special bespoke designs for Florence.
What is it about Florence that suits the Hannah Marshall aesthetic so well? The thing that’s very unique about Florence is that not only does she sound incredible, but also she really breathes life into the clothes, she’s not only a singer but a performer. She really understands the power of clothing coupled with music. It is so exciting to experience collaborating with someone like Florence. She has the rare ability to really make the clothes take on a life of their own.
How did your collaboration on the outfit for her Coachella performance come about? I was approached by Flo’s stylist, the amazing Aldene Johnson and commissioned to create an outfit for the world tour. I took inspiration from her dynamic performance style and lyrics to the song ‘No Light, No Light’. The idea was to create the perfect outfit for her nighttime performance, so the outfit worked with the backdrop of the night sky.
How does your work differ when you’re designing for a musician rather than an unknown consumer or model? Designing for a musician is about creating pieces that will work in parallel with their music, aesthetic and vision. It’s not just about the clothes. I take the song, the lyrics, the mood, the artist’s DNA, the blueprint of history and adjoin together with the future of things to come. When designing seasonal collections, it can be quite confined to have to stick to the structure of the fashion system. With performance there is always the thrill of something being in real-time, where there is no editing, no Photoshop, but a fully dimensional live experience.
Can you tell us a bit about the influence of Aldene Johnson on your design process? Working with Flo’s stylist Aldene Johnson is a real collaboration. I like to go away and do extensive research, build a narrative and create a story board of visuals before presenting to Aldene, we then bounce ideas back and forth from concept to creation as the journey unfolds.
How has not designing seasonal catwalk collections helped you establish your career and find your own identity in your work? Having pushed forward to be more of a ‘design architect’ than ‘design conformist’, I like to think further than just ‘fashion.’ I like to construct the marriage of creative disciplines in areas including clothing, music, film, installation and technology.
How do you want women to feel in your clothes? In control, assured, empowered.
Text: Rebecca Arts