In 1946 Pablo Picasso created a series of paintings of his lover, and mother of his two children, Françoise Gilot, titled La Femme Fleur. In the paintings she grew elegantly from the earth, Picasso transformed her hair into a leaf canopy, her face into a flower.
Living in Montmartre, Paris I was charmed by bunches of tulips wrapped in brown paper tucked under the arms of Parisians, and the pyramids of peonies at street markets. I adored how Parisians treated flowers as a necessity, and their vases would reflect the seasons as much as their kitchens. The name “La Femme Fleur” – translated as the flower woman – is a tribute to my time in Paris and the beauty of the city.
When I returned home to New Zealand I qualified as a florist and worked under some of Auckland’s most famous florists.
In 2014 I opened La Femme Fleur out of my little flower truck in Cox’s Bay. As well as my unique floral design I wanted to offer fresh, beautiful and affordable flowers to have in the home every day – like my local florist in Paris. I wanted to be a part of the local community. And I wanted to showcase New Zealand’s stunning local flowers, grown by outstanding nurseries across the country.
Early summer, when the peonies are still here, the hydrangea have just started to arrive, and Freida the dog is basking on her back in the sun, is my favourite time of year. On a fine day at high tide there isn’t a better office in the world.