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  • Culture

    ART OF PARISIAN FLORISTY

    02 September 2019

    The Art of Parisian Floristry

     

    What do Marcel Proust and Karl Lagerfeld have in common? Both the celebrated writer and fashion icon have been loyal customers at Lachaume, the florist serving Parisians since 1845. Formerly housed at Rue Royale near the Tuileries Gardens, since 2012 Lachaume has been based at 103 Rue Faubourg du Saint-Honoré, on one of the city’s most fashionable and luxurious streets.

     

    The shop is regarded as a sanctuary by customers and visitors, according to co-owner Stéphanie Primet, and as you step into Lachaume it’s easy to see why. The sweet, heady aroma is enough to get lost in, and then there are the flowers themselves – vibrant, artfully arranged bouquets of impeccably healthy fresh blooms.

     

    Primet and her sister and co-owner Caroline Cnocquaert are the third generation of their family to run Lachaume since their Italian grandmother Giuseppina Callegari  bought the business from the Lachaume family in 1971.

     

    While Proust would buy an orchid daily from Lachaume and fasten it to his buttonhole, in recent years Lachaume customers have included Lagerfeld, Balenciaga and Dior. It’s spring/summer fashion week in Paris when we visit the shop, and although Lachaume, a small boutique, does not work with the large volume of flowers required for the shows, they are inundated with orders during this time, typically from designers sending flowers as gifts.

    “We work with Karl Lagerfeld every day,” says Primet. “He is very generous.”

     

    Fresh stock arrives in the shop every day from the Royal Flower Market in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, where flowers are sourced from and supplied to countries all around the world. The flowers might come from the Netherlands, Asia, South America or Italy, says Primet, who describes the market and its “flower auction” like a stock market. “Everyday the flowers are changing,” she says. “The price of the rose is different everyday because of the supply, the demand, the colour, because of what events are happening.”

     

    As well as sourcing blooms from Aalsmeer, three times a week a Lachaume staff member will visit the Rungis markets just outside Paris to stock up on local flowers. “Near Paris you have a lot of small producers that do wonderful garden flowers, callas, sweet peas, Lily of the valley, sunflowers,” Primet says.

     

    Roses are perennially in fashion, unsurprisingly, and popular now too are what Primet calls “gardening flowers,” rustic bouquets of white flowers with sprays of green foliage. Lachaume also like to combine flowers in complementary, bold colours to make a particularly striking statement as one would with clothing or makeup. “We do a lot of bouquets like yellow and purple, for example” she says. “When you put some yellow and purple together this is very fabulous. Like Christian Lacroix, Monsieur Saint Laurent, they use a lot of colours in their couture.”

     

    Quality comes at a price — Lachaume flowers are not cheap — but for Primet, one stunning flower is a far better gift than an average bouquet. “One big sunflower, it says a lot more than a bunch of something you didn’t choose yourself.”

     

    Lachaume

    103 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

    75008, Paris

     

    Also in the SFSC Black Book

     

    Debeaulieu

    Pierre Banchereau’s inventive, fashion-forward arrangements are favoured by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Cerruti.

    30 Rue Henry Monnier

    75009, Paris

     

    Eric Chauvin

    Like a fashion designer, Chauvin, who counts Dior among his clients, creates “collections” for spring/summer and fall/winter.

    22 Rue Jean Nicot, 75007 Paris

     

    Rungis

    The largest fresh produce market in the world 15km south of Paris is also home to a huge air-conditioned flower pavilion. Many of the city’s best florists source their local blooms here.

    1 Rue de la Tour, 94550 Chevilly-Larue

     

    The French have had a long love affair with flowers – what are some of your most cherished blooms? Share wirh us on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook: @sofrenchy.sochic!