APIECE APART WOMAN
The young London florist, Hattie Fox, has been creating arrangements for over a decade and experiencing both the artful and the schlep-worthy sides of nature: from curating florals at London’s Ace Hotel to “in the summer desperately spraying everything with water to prevent peonies from opening too quickly.” For a sense of her style and a glimpse at a day in the life, we visited Hattie in her London florals studio to discuss floral inspiration (the color blue!), fall arrangements, and the level-headedness that comes from the outdoors.
Hattie wears SAMARA SHIRT DRESS in black and navy
Can you share more about how you got started?
I've been a florist since I was 16 so it’s the only thing I really know how to do — I worked for the same florist for years when I was doing my degree and then after I graduated I freelanced a lot. After that, I worked out of my living room first and then moved to a tiny studio and then moved to the shop in The Ace Hotel, and then finally to our new studio.
Where do you draw inspiration from for floral pairings — can you share any non-floral inspirations for how you’ve thought to pair flowers together?
I trained in fine art and printing so often I happen across color combinations in photographic images or old paintings and use the colors as a palette for our displays. Often I just fall in love with a specific color…at the moment it’s blue, so everything is blue on blue on blue. I love Matisse… I also have a huge copy of Woman in Blue so that's probably where the blue fever has come from.
As someone historically terrible at either keeping any plants alive or arranging flowers at home, could you provide some tips?
Always water water water. People seem to forget that plants are living things and really need water. Also always be mindful of where you are positioning the plants, and do some research about whether they are shade or sun-loving.
What is your foolproof arrangement for early fall?
I love Spindle Berry — it has the most beautifully-colored leaves and pink and orange berries. Loads of that in a clear glass jar looks amazing!
Where is your favorite place to be outdoors?
At home on my Dad’s farm. I love being outdoors, and as a kid I spent all of my time roaming around the farm with loads of animals. I feel as though being outdoors and in nature is something I have to give to myself to keep level-headed.
Where is your favorite place to be indoors?
It depends what kind of mood I'm in. I really enjoy being in my studio very early in the morning when there's no one else around. I also love going to my Nan’s house; it's so nostalgic, and I'm a sucker for fond childhood memories.
What is the hardest part about running your own business?
The boring parts! The business part is difficult — when people don't pay on time, it's disheartening, [especially] when you work so hard every day to deliver something and enjoy what you're doing.
What is the easiest part?
Making the flowers! I love making combinations up — I still feel so indulgent having all these beautiful flowers and then get make something amazing with them. It's definitely what I'm supposed to be doing.
Can you please walk us through your daily routine?
I wake up at 4am(!), and normally have a glass of hot water and lemon and a bowl of muesli. I grab whatever is nearest to wear…there is no room for glamour that early in the morning. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and put some moisturizer on. Then my dog Neelo and I are out of the house by 4:45am. We jump in my van and drive 25 mins to the flower market. When I arrive they always have a cup of green tea waiting for me. I do my market rounds in the same routine every day: I buy all my English flowers first using all the English wholesalers to stock the majority of our produce and then fill any gaps using our other suppliers who mainly supply Italian flowers. When I'm back to the studio two of my team members are already there. We split the produce between the shop and the studio. I have nine full-time staff, so I have often been planning much further ahead for them to give the right jobs to the right people. Everyday we have a lot of driving to do so our driver who is my best friend from school drives the flowers around dropping them off to all the various locations. My day in the studio mainly consists of making up displays for the girls to replicate or making deliveries, often going through orders and enquiries with my admin team…We try to have all our work out and finished by 3pm and then we spend the last 2 or 3 hours tidying up and getting ready for the next day. I leave the studio around 6pm and go home, and and go for a swim in the outdoor Lido just to clear my head and then walk my dog around the park. For dinner I normally have something small and flick through some magazines or research something that I've been thinking about in the day and then fall asleep to start it all again at 4am.
What was the last great thing you read?
A Thousand Splendid Suns. I lived in West Africa for a while, so I like any novel that's based there.
What is on the front burner for you right now?
British grown flowers. I would really like to teach children in state schools. I think a creative education should be available to everyone. I don't come from a privileged background but when I was younger there was a system that really allowed me to have easy access to a creative education. I worry that the British system makes it very difficult to do this now, which is not inspiring for teachers or students. I love the band In The Valley Below. I love their track “Peaches” and I also love the new De La Soul track. Swimming. I’m crazy about swimming at the moment. I've really damaged my back over the years so I'm trying to swim as much as possible to do some good things to my body. Some copper clogs I'm desperately trying to wear around my house to wear them in in time for my upcoming holiday to Italy!
"I think a creative education should be available to everyone. I don't come from a privileged background but when I was younger there was a system that really allowed me to have easy access to a creative education."
Photography by ROBIN STEIN | Interview by LEIGH PATTERSON