T SERIES: Clients Who Became Friends

For the floral designer Louis-Géraud Castor, creating a bouquet for someone is inherently personal.

Article by Isabel Wilkinson

“I have grown a little community, a village of people, really, and what we have in common is a respect for the beauty of the flower,” says Louis-Géraud Castor, third from right, with, from left, Tom Pecheux, makeup artist and YSL Beauty global beauty director, 57; Ramesh Nair, designer, 55; Alexandre de Betak, event producer and art director, 52; Benoit Pierre Emery, creative director of Hermès tableware, 50; and Anaïs Lafarge, co-owner of the Broken Arm boutique and cafe in Paris, 39; Photography by Kenny Germé.

Louis-Géraud Castor

I have always loved flowers, so about four years ago, I left a 15-year career as an art dealer to attend the École des Fleuristes de Paris. Since I opened my studio in 2017, I have grown a little community, a village of people, really, and what we have in common is a respect for the beauty of the flower. Being a florist is very intimate; people ask you to make a bouquet for their bedroom or for a dinner party — you’re there for these private, personal moments in their lives.

Romain Joste and Anaïs Lafarge of the Broken Arm really supported me at the beginning. They didn’t know if I was going to be any good, but they immediately placed orders for their boutique. Now, when Romain asks me for something for Anaïs’ birthday — I know she likes grasses and field flowers in a style that’s simple but constructed with a 17th-century spirit — it’s not just decoration but an expression of friendship.

I met Tom Pecheux by chance when he happened to pop into my studio after visiting some nearby galleries. Now we’re great friends. I know what vases he likes, and the kind of construction and colour combinations — yellow with touches of red, rose or violet — that move him.

Alex de Betak and I met in a similar way: he started coming into the studio because he’s my neighbour and likes flowers. When I visited his extraordinary flat — the art, the styling, the colours, the mood — I understood much better what he’d need: simple, architectural compositions with one leading flower, such as a cherry blossom branch, in the simple vases the ceramist Mathilde Martin (who makes vessels for most of my arrangements) creates for me. Now I also do work for his clients, like Fendi and Gabriela Hearst.

During the first months of the lockdown in spring 2020, I found that fresh flowers were particularly important for people living alone. I was also working alone, and taking orders from my clients helped keep me going. Many days, I had to leave Paris at dawn to go to the fields in Île-de- France to try to find flowers, because the Paris markets didn’t have their usual supplies. At the tail end of winter, there were only tulips; the first delicate lilacs arrived at the beginning of April.

At Christmas we had evergreens and then magnolia and almond branches. I think the presence of flora at home, at a time when we’ve been so confined, is important because they bring with them the motion of the outside world. It’s a testimony to the passage of time.

A version of this article appears in print in our third edition, Page 117 of T Australia with the headline:
‘Clients Who Became Friends’
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