Florence Welch in Julien MacDonald

Posted on June 28, 2012

Oh, we give up.


Florence Welch attends Britain Creates 2012: Fashion & Art Collusion at Old Selfridges Hotel in London in a Julien MacDonald gown from his Fall 2012 collection.

We’ve tried with this one; really we have. We begged, we pleaded, we cajoled, we threatened, but the poor dear just won’t listen to us and insists on wearing very serious dresses to go with her very serious face. We love her as an artist and we appreciate that she has such a passion for fashion, but she seems not to have the slightest clue how to dress to her best benefit. EVERY Flo post could be a “Girl, That’s Not Your Dress” one.

Although in this case, we flat out don’t like the dress. Long-time minions know how little we like sheer floor-length skirts over minis. In fact, we like it so little that we actively hate it in most cases. You’re young! You’re rich! You’ve got a great figure! If you want to show off the legs (and why shouldn’t you) then stop being so half-assed about it, girl. We don’t love the upper half of this dress (the neckline is too low and the sleeves are kind of ugly) but this would look so much better without the modesty panel wrapped around her legs.

And girl, you have GOT to learn to fake a smile when you’re posing for pictures. We think it’s safe to say we’ve looked at a couple thousand Flo pics by now and the number of them where she’s smiling could probably be counted on two hands. And yes, we realize it’s irritating to be a woman and be told all the time to smile as if it was your duty as a woman to make everyone around you comfortable, but we’re not talking about someone walking down the street. We’re talking about a celebrity whose image is (or should be) important to them, posing for pictures at a public event in a borrowed gown worth more than your mortgage payment or rent. A slight uptick at the corners of the mouth isn’t too much to ask for.

[Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images]

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  • AuntieAnonny


    • a “dying of consumption” pallor that i just cant abide...DemoforFrank.blogspot.com

    • From the Frumpt collection, we call this one “Drag in the Mourning...FoxGetPositionWork.blogspot.com

    • EveEve

      TLo didn’t mention it, but that illusion panel holding the v neck together really bothers me.  If a dress maker can’t figure out a way to make a V that deep work without illusion, then don’t do it.   I like the nail polish color though. 

  • alyce1213

    Incorrigible.  And a redhead.  Surrender Dorothy.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    i appreciate she is a pale girl, but her makeup always has a “dying of consumption” undertone that i just cant abide….

  • moppet

    ” And yes, we realize it’s irritating to be a woman and be told all the
    time to smile as if it was your duty as a woman to make everyone around
    you comfortable…”

    Thanks so much for acknowledging this reality for “regular” folks while explaining why on Flo’s case, the rules are a little bit different. As a person who has been told to “smile” by male strangers a few too many times, I appreciate the sensitivity.

    • Lady_Scaper

      This is why i love TLo!!! Intelligent funny commentary and sensitivity. From both TLo and the people who comment here.

    • A bit off topic but I’m going to share it anyway because it still annoys me all of these years later: 
      After being away from home for a week for my father’s funeral, we arrived home and discovered we really had nothing to eat.  I dropped my husband off at work and went to the grocery store. While I was wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out what I was up to eating (This was in my thin days and I’d already lost 5 pounds since my father’s death and knew I had to eat *something*) some man told me to “smile, nothing can be that terrible.”  I bared my teeth and hissed at him that burying one’s father is indeed terrible enough.  I hope he felt guilty for the rest of the day.

      All this to say that I, too, appreciate the acknowledgment that it is irritating to be told to smile all of the time as if someone else’s happiness depended upon it…

      • kimmeister

        I’ll bet that guy never said that to a stranger again.  Good for you.

      • j_anson

        Good on you.

        • Flooby

          Completely off the topic of Flo- I’ve been thinking a bit about the whole “wide smile” thing for women and how really really modern it is.  Like, completely ahistorical.  If you look at portrait paintings pre-photography the most you’ll ever get is a coy smize. And that’s not because painters couldn’t paint smiles- it’s just that people painted smiling wide enough to show teeth were always cartoonish buffoons.  Even in the 20th c photography era actresses and celebrities didn’t smile and show teeth until very recently (unless it was a candid shot.)  Look at posed shots of Grace Kelly- she’s actually quite serious.  I guess Audrey Hepburn is the only mid 20th c actress I can think of who was known for smiling and showing teeth.  Until we get to the 80s- then EVERYONE did it.  

          • mom2ajs5

             Wow. That’s a really good point. Never thought about it like that. There is a difference between not smiling and shooting daggers. The ladies in the early days of Hollywood looked sultry and sexy, not like they wanted to shove you off a cliff like many of the girls these days who have made not smiling their thing. These new girls need to make note of that.

          • Flooby

            What made me think of all this is that I’m reading Samuel Pepys right now and for background I’m looking everyone (and their portraits) up on Wikipedia.  The mistresses of Charles II were all supposed to be these great beauties and it’s amazing how unattractive they look to modern eyes.  Even ‘witty pretty’ Nell Gwyn never so much as cracks a tight lipped smile.  But then Charles II looks very attractive to modern eyes because even though he also doesn’t smile in his portraits you can tell he’s a big time smiler because of all the smile lines on his very expressive face.  

            Maybe all the over smiling has to do with our very fast paced culture?  We don’t have time to stare at some one any more and suss out an expression by looking at them deeply. Also, we put so much more emphasis on people being fun and approachable.  

          • adnama79

            Another thing to consider is that pre-photography was also pre-dentistry, so you may not have teeth to show. 

            Early photography took so long to get an exposure that people had to assume more comfortable positions and sit very still for a good while.

            But it does seem that you have a really good point – without googling, when I picture the turning point on celebrities smiling everywhere, I picture Doris Day and the rest of the 50s and 60s actresses.  That was also the point when the strong leading lady disappeared and American culture (and probably British) shifted to get Rosie the Riveter out of the workforce to give jobs to returning GIs.  A main way that was accomplished was by fetishizing the smiling, happy housewife… 

            (TLo’s point still stands for me.  And if Florence doesn’t want to smile, then she DOES need to come up with a better expression for the cameras.  This *is* her job.)

            And ditto to the other women’s comments – men tell me to smile all the time.  Sometimes I think it’s a misguided attempt to make me feel better, but it’s shitty and disrespectful, none the less.

          • Monabel

            Also true for historical photographs.  Even when you no longer had to hold the pose for half an hour.

          • j_anson

            Although there’s a question of tradition and norms, there. It might well be the case that a norm of not smiling was established because it’s hard to hold a visually pleasing smile for hours (or even a half hour), but that people internalized it to the extent of seeing it as being more dignified or pleasing in an objective sense. The norm would then only slowly break down after technology developed that allowed instantaneous portraiture.

          • I would think it had a lot to do with advancements in cosmetic
            dentistry, which, if I’m not mistaken, took a big leap forward right
            around the ’80s.


          •  I think you’re absolutely right. I live in Appalachia (not known for great dental care), and the local ads for dentists and dentures always feature people who are very self-conscious about the state of their teeth. The testimonials will always include someone talking about how much more willing to smile they are now that they have new teeth. (I could go into a whole long thing about the economics of a smile but I won’t.)

          • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

            I’m with you.  I had braces and other cosmetic dentistry as an adult.  I always refused to smile for photos.  Since my braces came off and I whitened my teeth somewhat, I bare my teeth ALL the time.  I wonder if I do it so much that it’s unsettling!  Before I invested my cash in my mouth, I read quite a bit of research on the Social Smile.  I’m a psychologist and a nerd.  That research was the thing that convinced me the most. Glad I did it. 

      • Qitkat

        Good for you. How deeply painful. People think they mean well, but can be most inappropriate. Even asking *how are you today?* in an exceptionally cheery tone can be awful under some circumstances.

  • No Flo, NO!!!!

  • From the Frumpt collection, we call this one “Drag in the Mourning.” (But a diva who just lost her best wig isn’t reason enough for this.)

  • norseofcourse

    Ice dancing arms. 

  • why doesn’t audreybot have to smile then??? let flo be flo. 

    •  Whoever said she doesn’t have to smile, multiple question marks?

      • TLO, totally off topic, but I’m wondering if you know whether we’re going to be treated to more Joe Zee and Chris March shows this summer?

        • We haven’t heard anything about Chris’ show. Joe’s comes back at the end of the summer. And yes, we shot a second appearance on the show last month. That should air some time in September, we’re told.

          • Good news about Joe. Looking forward to seeing you with him again.

    • Frank_821

      I think the point is Florence smiles in photos like less than 1% of the time. She always seems so serious or maudlin. While hardly a perky gal like Kristin Chenowith, you can probably find a lot more pics of Audreybot showing a positive expression if not an outright smile

  • mjude

    i just dont know

  • Imasewsure

    Bad drag

    • AudreysMom

      very bad indeed

  • Wrenaria

    The best I ever saw her look was when she was in the background of an SNL skit wearing a casual raglan sleeved shirt and a genuine smile.

    •  I saw an “Unplugged” on Playdia the other day in which she looked absolutely beautiful – the right dress, right hair.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    That is a really ugly dress. You have to try hard to make something that ugly. Those sleeves look like there’s mildew or something growing on her arms.
    The sheer long skirt over a mini skirt must really really be a thing now. I just saw a girl with one this morning on the subway. It was just as ugly in person.  

    • NC_Meg

      I don’t know what’s actually going on with this dress but it looks like the sheer part is coming out from under the regular dress. Even if that’s not what’s happening, that’s what it looks like and it’s 10X worse than a sheer skirt over a dress.

      • TheOriginalLulu

        OMG I think you’re right. I didn’t want to look too hard for fear I might turn to stone, but I think you’re right.
        It’s simply horrifying.

  • The fact that I saw a similar dress in the window of Dress Barn should clue you in to how bad this really is. 

    • adnama79

      The fact that my first thought was, “Most of the stuff in Dress Barn is more attractive than this photo” when I saw your comment is another clue re: Flo’s dress.  :/

  • claudemtl777

    Julian McDonald is kinda known to be borderline tacky, in a “designer-to-the-biggest-stars-in-England-like-Elisabeth-Hurley-and-Minnie-Driver” kind of way, no?
     Flo is usually more cutting edge… 

  • nannypoo

    Her face tends to look very severe, not helped at all by that terrible hair and her uninteresting makeup, so absolutely yes she should smile. She needs to soften up and relax.

  • crash1212

    Boy howdy, that is one butt-ugly dress. I detest every single element of that monstrosity as it imposes itself on my delicate sensibilities. Not only is it horribly ugly, it manages to make a sylphlike creature like Flo look thick…how is that even possible? It’s the devil dress. I hate that home ec project of a clutch, too. Now I’m irritated…..and might need some ice cream to make me feel better.

    • Celandine1

      Devil dress yes! This dress makes her look awkward, I did a double take because that first picture looked like it was a cardboard Flo set up on the RC. It does really weird unflattering things to her shape.

  • Saucysusan

    This dress. Oy. Plunging neckline-check! Sheer over mini-check! Arm disease design element-check! Severe face-check! Unflattering-check, check, check!

  • Illusion netting over tats is just plain weird.

  • You guys have tried valiantly.  She’s 25 and dresses and styles like she’s 55, and her style is actually to my eye not just old these days, but kinda creepy.  Plus, I know you love her as an artist, but IMHO she’s chronically out of tune, and she is a “yell singer” as my husband calls it.  Seriously, she needs to see a vocal coach, or she’s going to end up with polyps on her vocal cords within 2 years.

  • MilaXX

    This dress is truly fug, but I would give this look a pass if the sheer skirt wasn’t there and if she could get a hairstyle that wasn’t from the 70’s.

  • Judy_J

    Oh, Flo….why do you insist on looking like a sad, middle aged woman? I’m middle aged, and your picture is making me sad.

  • RebeccaKW

    Tinsel on the arms and the cross in armpit makes me itchy just looking at it.  This thing is hiddy head top to bottom.  And orange-y lipstick isn’t your color, girl.

    • kimmeister

      Amen on the lipstick color!  She should probably stay away from reds in general . . .

  • She looks like a rectangle in that dress. I also refuse to believe she is the same age as me.

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    It is really hard to smile and suck in your cheeks at the same time.  Your cheekbones are fine the way they are, Flo.  Don’t try so hard.

  • Trisha26

    I’m mystified as to why we can’t actually see lady-bits. This is frighteningly short. Agree, TLo, it would make a cute mini minus the sheer panel – just add a couple inches of length.

    • ccinnc

       What IS happening with her pubis? It’s freaking me out. It looks like a Barbie. Or Ken.

  • formerlyAnon

    Those sleeves really ARE ugly.

    And I know people are always saying “she looks a little like a guy in drag” because of the angularity of her face (combined, I think, with the way she uses her hair to semi-cover her face), but here I am very tempted to agree. Despite the deep neckline, that dress manages to be both over-the-top AND almost shapeless, a neat trick but not desirable.

  • If she got rid if the sheer over-skirt, this look could be salvaged. But for f’s sake, would it kill her to crack a smile? She looks so much harsher and older with the non-smile. 

  • marilyn

    This dress has the trends for the season, and it is ugly.  The black lace lingeree look on top and the granny pants with the sheer skirt on the bottom, with a neckline cut almost to the waist.  And it is ugly.  Not only that, it is not her style.  Marion Colillard from the last entry might have a shot at making this mess work.  But sweet, pasty little Florence does not.  I think her insides don’t match her outsides.  She wants to be Mick Jagger, and she sees Little Red Riding Hood every time she looks in the mirror.  Her hair is all country.  Why isn’t she wearing a rodeo outfit?   She either needs to cut off the curls and stop coloring them red, and get on with her inner persona (David Bowie/Mick Jagger/Tattoo Girl), or work with what she has been given.  Maybe she needs a stylist.  Maybe she needs to fire her stylist.  Whatever it takes.

    • Qitkat

      I think her insides don’t match her outsides.  She wants to be Mick
      Jagger, and she sees Little Red Riding Hood every time she looks in the

      Great point. Of course I’m only judging as a Bitter Kitten, never having heard her (that I’m aware of) or seen her perform. There does seem to be a disconnect. She does have incredible facial bone structure, very striking.

  • jmorino08

    It is 104 degrees where I am and I am getting hives just looking at that dress. It looks itchy and hot, not to mention ug-lee!

    As for the smile, I agree. Especially because it appears that she is trying so hard NOT to smile. You don’t look moody or serious Flo, you look bored and petulant. 

  • Bridget Dierks

    The arms remind me of that toy that existed when I was a kid that let you put magnetic black bits on the man’s face to make a ‘beard’.  I haven’t the foggiest notion what you call that thing, but her black bits on her arm are basically exactly the same way.  Made me want to get a magnetic ‘pen’ and rearrange them.

  • j_anson

    Wow, her arms look like those kindergarten craft projects where you draw designs in glue and then sift glitter over the page.

    If, you know, it was a very somber, goth kindergarten.

  • Fungus attack!

  • Don’t like her music much, like her sour facial expressions even less.

  • ChelseaNH

    Wow — dour and boring.  What happened?  I prefer the over-the-top kaleidoscope kind of wrong, if wrong she must be (and it seems she must).

  • Qitkat

    How much does a designer have to *hate* women to give them hairy tattoos?

  • scrappy1

    O thank god.  I am SO tired of her droopy dresses and her refusal to do anything with her goddamn hair.  Seriously, I have had it up to *here*.  You hear that, Flo?!  Quit taking yourself so seriously and wear a ponytail with something cute for a change. Until then, I’m out.

  • deltabronze

    It looks like a forties bathing suit with weird arms and a sheer skirt attached.

    • littlemac8

      Yes! to the 40’s bathing suit!  It looks like under the sheer skirt there is a flesh colored piece of fabric/spandex??? covering her lady bits…awful.  And she looks like she’s growing hair on her arms (GROSS).  

  • It’s hard to smile when you’re sucking in your checks.
    She always looks like a man in drag.
    Dress is Frugly.
    So, OUT!

  • The sleeves look like they have chenille craft supplies sewn all over them. AND she’s making duck face. 

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Hmmm-where the sleeves attacked by hairy fleurchons?

  • guest2visits

    So…. man-ish, seriously. This looks like a tux jacket with a curtain sheer attached to it. Very boxy, somehow.
    Really; this just a modified man’s suit jacket, very unimaginative design.

  • just say no to fuzzy armpit crosses, flo!

  • lrhoff

    I really, really, really dislike her hair.

  • Aurumgirl

    I just don’t get it, the girl could be staggeringly beautiful if she just let go of a few inane fetishes in clothing design.  The hair’s bad (it looks like a sea animal eating her face) and the half sheer and the unflattering cut and the boring shoes….I’m at least twice her age and probably twice her weight, but I think I dress better.  And there is exasperation in my voice when I say that, believe me.

  • Sara__B

    The embellished X in the armpit must be very uncomfortable.

    I enjoy her music. I’m going to shut up about her fashion sense and facial expressions.

  • LambeeBaby

    Dreadful. I especially dislike the “magic rocks” on her sleeves, the sheer bottom and the shapelessness, AND she looks sour.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    I suspect that Morticia Adams would not approve of the sheer overskirt, either…but she would probably love the sleeves!

  • that’s an awful dress.  blech.

  • quiltrx

    I know I’m weird, but I like this from the waist up…EXCEPT for the underarm caterpillars (what were they thinking???).

    And I’m going to count that first pick in the “smirk” category for Flo.  I still love to hear her sing!

  • Allison Woods

    I don’t mind her looking all serious, but I do not like that dress, and I don’t like it on her, either.

  • gabbilevy

    Girl needs a style intervention, stat.

  • Vlasta Bubinka

    Quite possibly the ugliest, most expensive night gown she’ll wear this year.

  • H3ff

    She just looks like Justin Hawkins from The Darkness to me. I cannot unsee it.

  • would is really kill her to do something with that lifeless dead head of hair?!!! I don’t know, anything is better that wash and go look!

  • Cathy S

    Those are the ugliest sleeves ever.

  • I have no clue why anyone would want to wear Julien MacDonald anyway! He’s SO meh and on a personal level a poisonous welsh tiny man

    • littlemac8

      Somebody should take away his sewing machine!

  • The planes of her face are absolutely remarkable. 

  • AthenaJ

    Oh c’mon, she’s worn far worse… 

    I’ll unleash my bitter kitteness all over a talentless pop star for a bad outfit because looks are the only reason they have a career. But Flo, my most favorite singer in the whole wide world? I just close my eyes and listen to that amazing voice 🙂

  • afabulous50

    Bravo TLo – couldn’t have said it better.

  • why should she be smiling?! it’s her image. not everyone needs to be the girl-next-door american sweetheart blonde type. 

    she’s got attitude. not like elizabeth banks who has no image, and is not memorable AT ALL.
    Flo <3

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      at this point it’s this weird learned behavior copied from semi-candid photographs of people who were serious when being serious meant being serious. meaning: a lot of mockery & very little pay, but one held one’s ground.

      but now? it’s pastiche. heaven knows, this one quite well may have been among the old serious serious. but there’s no way to do that now in the west, not in our so heavily weighted down theres no space for anything left including air material+media culture. so a lot of times she just looks, you know, spare me.

  • I refuse to believe she is 25 years old.

  • Susan Crawford

    OK, I give her props for trying some serious couture – not including this awful mash-up of a gown. But she is almost as douchy as Gwyneth Paltrow – another gal with a stick up her heinie. At least Gwyneth breaks into a slightly superior smile every so often, though, while Florence cannot deign to be bothered with such a mundane expression.

    Sorry, Florence – I can’t with you. Oh, and your serious-face makes you look twice your purported age. “25”? Bwahahahah.

  • bluefish


  • nancymae

    Does that dress have arm pit pasties? Some of the embellishments are just so oddly placed.

  • gaggable…

  • Joey Melliza

    Armpit moustache 

  • she looks so somber and gaunt, ill all the time- its not just a ‘smile’ thing, it’s a ‘try to not look like you’re about to keel over’. is she eating enough? 

  • mhleta

    The shit on the arms is dreadful. It looks like the hair migrated out of her armpits and gamely tried to disguise itself as an artful design.