If there’s one thing that epitomises the presence of spring, its fresh flowers. As the weather warms, the buds begin to bloom and we get to enjoy another season of fabulous beauty and fragrance with the array of stunning spring flowers available. One man who knows flowers like the back of his hand is Matthew Landers. The Perth-based florist is one of Australia’s most renowned floral designers, known for his internationally acclaimed designs and the works of art he produces on home soil. An artist and an entrepreneur Matthew not only owns his luxury florist and floristry academy, travels the country conducting industry seminars but also trots the globe competing in internationally recognised competitions. Including placing second at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in the UK… definitely robbed! Matthew gives us low down on what this spring has in store for all us flower fanatics as well as some insider knowledge on the floristry industry.
Can you tell us one meaningful or significant memory of flowers that sticks in your mind and why?
I absolutely love the smell of flowering jasmine. When I walk down the street and smell jasmine it means that it’s the beginning of Spring. Such a unique and intoxicating fragrance that means the sun is shining.
What are your predictions for floral trends this spring?
We’re going to see lots of strong colour combinations, a stronger presence of ‘dyed blooms’ and a continued excessive number of roses with the petals reflexed backwards.
With spring being a popular time for weddings, floral decorations and gifts, what do you love most about creating designs during this season?
A lot of Spring blooms have a strong natural fragrance (which isn’t something we see all the time these days). With abundant choices of these beautiful materials, it always brings out your creativity and challenges you to maximise this short season.
If you could design the wedding flowers for anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?
Probably Adele. She’s probably the most down to earth ‘celebrity’ that I’ve ever come across. She has lovely taste and a very understated style. Rather than doing something completely excessive and over the top, I feel like it would be super luxe and elegant. Kind of like the difference between a strand of pearls and a diamond necklace, she is the string of pearls.
Why do you think people have such a fascination with flowers and floral design? Why do you think people choose to spend their money on flowers instead of other gifts, such as homewares?
It truly does bring you happiness and I feel like everyone has some kind of history with flowers. It might be a scent, a memory from a life event or emotional connection that is associated to the Flowers you either buy or receive. It’s also one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to someone because no two are ever going to be the same!
You seem to draw inspiration for some of your marketing and branding from famous fashion houses. Can you elaborate on this and how it applies to florists?
For me, I identify that purchasing flowers is a complete luxury. That’s why I take my brand so seriously, it needs to reflect the level of luxury that it truly is. Also, with the 4 natural seasons, we also have ‘seasonal trends’ very similar to how Fashion works. I think there is so many common connections and most importantly whether we can afford designer fashion or not, we all admire it and aspire to own it.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the floristry industry?
Don’t waste another minute. Find a mentor and somewhere you can go and do some training immediately. So many of my students come to my school later in life saying “I’ve always wanted to do Floristry”, why wait so bloody long!?
What’s the most glamorous part of your job that people might not know?
For me, it’s probably getting to be a constant globetrotter. I’ve been fortunate enough to generate many worldwide opportunities which allow me to travel all year around. It’s always so exciting to work with new types of flowers that different regions are renowned for, in their natural habitat.
What’s the least glamorous part of your job that people might not know?
All the rest really. The super early starts, the late finishes, working on your feet for long hours, constant heavy lifting, filthy fingernails……..should I keep going?
If the following people were flowers, what do you think they would be and why?
• Kim Kardashian
: Calla Lily – Expensive, hard to grow and interesting to look at, but not everyone likes them.
• Michelle Obama: Hyacinth – They’re very sweet, have a lovely fragrance and always make you feel warm when you bury your face in them. They’d be white of course to match her teeth!
• Kylie Minogue: Sweet Pea – Because they’re so bloody small and delicate. Gorgeous to look at and cost a bloody fortune.
If there was one event you could design flowers for, which would you choose?
I would want to do flowers for a Haute Couture Show at Paris Fashion Week. I’ve always, always, always wanted to create giant ceiling of flowers over the top of a super long runway.
Can you tell us what exciting events or workshops you have coming up in September? Will we be seeing you in Brisbane anytime soon?
I’m a Guest Designer for the World Flower Council International Summit which is being held in Brisbane on 16-20th September, at the W Hotel. We have a busy wedding season ahead of us from September- December. This is also our favourite time in both my Perth & Adelaide Academy’s because we get to use beautiful Spring flowers in all of our classes.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Top tip to keep flowers fresher for longer?
Use a small amount of Household Bleach in the water to stop bacteria from growing and make sure you change the water every second day.
Top floral fad you wish would die out?
Dyed Flowers. Putrid. We have so, so many beautiful natural colours….Why do Rainbow Roses need to exist!?
Pet peeve about wedding work?
The super short turnaround times and the unrealistic expectations of ‘Pinterest Brides’.
One flower to represent spring 2018?
Anything but a Peony! They’re done… Probably a Cymbidium Orchid, they’re making a comeback.
The one thing you wish you knew before opening a business?
It’s lonely. When you first start, you only have yourself. Noone to work with, have fun with or tell you that you’re doing the right (or wrong) thing. You need some brass balls to open a business and take it seriously.
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