Susie Cave: “Beauty is the expression of divine in the world”
The star of Gucci’s new dark academia-cum-cottagecore Bloom campaign talks femininity, beauty and her “dreamlike” 2020.
There has never been a more unique, less didactic, less prescriptive definition of beauty than what we have right now. In 2020, beauty is less about how you physically look, what you weigh, what you wear or even what you smell like, but more about how you feel, your confidence and your individuality. It’s that spirit of individuality that Gucci wanted to capture with their new fragrance release, Bloom, fronted by women who champion individuality and setting their own standards of beauty.
In a campaign released last month, Florence Welch, Anjelica Huston, Jodie Turner-Smith and Susie Cave take centre stage in a cottagecore-goes-nocturnal spooky garden. Directed by Floria Sigismondi, the film opens with Florence exploring the abandoned surrealist architecture of an ancient Franciscan convent, and builds towards a dreamlike sequence as flowers explode from the sky. Parallel universes also play a part. It’s very that.
“It’s real, but surreal,” said Alessandro Michele of the campaign. “The dream of nature is a psychedelic dream, suspended in time, where Anjelica, Florence, Jodie and Susie embody four different ways of being a woman.” Word. As Bloom is released, we caught up with Susie to discuss what beauty means in 2020, the changing notion of “femininity” and womanhood, and how she stays grounded in the hellfire that has been and continues to be 2020.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me beauty is the expression of the divine in the world. Beauty is within everything, as is the divine, beginning with our basic humanity. If you train the eye and the heart you can see beauty everywhere.
How has the weird ride that has been 2020 changed how you see and feel about yourself?
I have felt I have lived the last three or four months in a dream. There has been something silent, mysterious, concentrated about this time. It has been a time of communal grief, of uncertainty, but also a time of focused creativity.
What scents inspire you?
My favourite spot is the ‘blind garden’ in St Annes Well in Brighton. In the springtime it is heavy with floral scents — roses, jasmine, camellia, gardenia. I sit there and write and draw.
Gucci Bloom is all about diverse interpretations of femininity, what does modern femininity mean to you?
My idea of femininity is based on the idea that the female form is inherently powerful — and that it does not have to masculinise or militarise itself in order to compete in today’s world. My own particular concept of femininity perplexes some because it uses traditional ideas of femininity without shame or irony. I especially love Gucci’s idea of femininity, with its frills, bows and ruffles. It is in itself defiant and subversive.
What was the experience of working on the new campaign like?
The whole experience was absolutely extraordinary. Meeting Anjelica Huston was so meaningful to me. She radiates a mystery and intensity that is extraordinarily powerful, so very warm and enchanting and genuine. And Jodie, who I had never met before, I literally fell in love with — internal and self-possessed and extraordinarily present. A great great actress. And, of course, my dear, dear friend, Florence. We are like twins. She is full of untamed and shimmering energy and light that brought the whole vision to life. I love her so much. It was such a dynamic combination of people — and such a magical setting!