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Florence and the Machine Serenade the Dulwich Picture Gallery

The singer’s mom made her do it

By now, the world has noticed that we are going through the wars here in the U.K., so an intimate, very rare, and very welcomed concert by Florence and the Machine made for a perfect escape from a stark reality. 

The occasion was the inaugural summer party for South London’s glorious Dulwich Picture Gallery, a magnificent Grade 1-listed masterpiece designed by Sir John Soane, a hero in his time. It’s been 200 years since the doors were opened on this Jacobean gem of a building—the U.K.’s first purpose-built gallery—so a great time to throw a party on all counts.

The mystery of how they got the normally shy and reclusive Florence Welch and her Machine to perform was solved in short order. Welch’s mom, Evelyn, is a brainy academic, and happens to be the chair of the board of trustees for the gallery—nothing like being roped in by your mother. However, guests were thrilled that the musician agreed to play ball, and were treated to a goose bump-inducing, five-song acoustic set. Resplendent in a vintage YSL look that matched her hair, Welch hypnotized the entire crowd. 

Mrs. Welch, however, briefly snapped the crowd out of its trance when she ambled on stage, much to the surprise of her daughter. “Hi, Mom,” Welch said into the mic. “Hang on, I will be done in a couple minutes.” The singer then asked partygoers including milliner Stephen Jones, actress Sienna Guillory, and author Ashley Hicks to drop their phones because she wanted to, “see your eyes and have a more intimate experience.” Everyone complied. 

After the show, Florence milled around the gorgeous acreage, chatting amiably to her fans. “You know, I do get nervous and a bit stressed on stage,” she told Fashion Unfiltered. “But we had practiced before, so I was feeling confident. Plus,” she said, gesturing at the green grounds, “how beautiful is this? Looking at it is calming in itself.” Indeed, a joyful moment of calm in the eye of the storm.

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