Blooms of the week – Saskia Havekes – Grandiflora


What drew you to floristry and how did you get started in the industry?

My love of flowers started in my childhood. Our home was set among 28 acres of Australian bushland. My mother would walk with me and my sisters through the garden and bush, pointing out plants and blooms, calling them by their botanical and common names. After four years working in New York, Australia called me home, and unsure which direction to take, I joined my sister Ineke on a floristry course and quickly realised I’d found my calling.


How would you describe your aesthetic?

I’m always looking for inspiration – in art, in people, in nature. My father and grandmother were artists, and along with my mother they constantly opened my eyes to the beauty of the world around me. I employ the same compositional elements as visual artists – line, form, texture, shape, volume and colour. I also like to push boundaries, and often become passionate about big ideas.

And then how did the fragrances come into being?

I’ve always been attracted to transient scented flowers whose short-lived blooms burst with fragrance. Creating scents was the natural evolution of my journey with flowers.

Tell us a little about each of the fragrances?

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine was composed by my dear friend and wonderfully original perfumer, the late Sandrine Videault. The first scent in the Grandiflora collection embodies everything I love in the enigmatic bloom. Where Sandrine paints a fresh portrait of the flower’s first opening, Magnolia Grandiflora Michel, created by the esteemed perfumier Michel Roudnitska, interprets the Magnolia as a rich, sensual, open flower at the height of its ripe beauty. We were very lucky to have Michel also create our third fragrance, Madagascan Jasmine, which he describes it as a spiritual fragrance. And we’re very excited to have just released Queen Of The Night, composed by the magnificent Bertrand Duchaufour, a celebration of the elusive Queen of the Night, which only blooms for one night.The hauntingly beautiful fragrance is rumoured to be a powerful aphrodisiac.


Your fragrances are stocked in New Zealand by WORLD Beauty, how did that connection come about?

This is another one of those wonderful serendipitous connections – we were very fortunate to be introduced to Francis Hooper and Benny Castles by our mutual friend Jill Timms, who owns the incredible parfumerie Peony in Melbourne. They really got what we were doing, it was like a meeting of minds, and they’ve been so encouraging and supportive. Producing niche fragrances is not for the fainthearted, so having people like Francis and Benny believe in what you’re trying to achieve has been very reassuring. We’re so honoured to be included in WORLD’s amazing stores.

You’ve also created candles with Cire Trudon…

My odyssey with flowers and fragrance led me to the incredible opportunity to create two beautiful candles. We engaged the expertise of Cire Trudon, the oldest and most prestigious wax makers in the world to produce them for us.

What are some tips for brides-to-be wanting to incorporate flowers and scent into their weddings?

Choose the flowers you love and go from there, keeping in mind that if what you want isn’t in season there are always alternatives, sometimes unexpected. Let your heart and senses guide you. Couples may like to choose the same new unisex fragrance and wear it only on their wedding day and for anniversaries. Scent and memory are interconnected and this is a wonderful way to keep your memories alive.


Could you share some favourite details from recent weddings you’ve worked on?

The journey from the initial concept meeting to the final result is always a unique experience, no two are ever the same and we pride ourselves on our bespoke designs and close collaboration. A recent favourite was a famous artist’s wedding – I wanted the colour and texture of her paintings to flow off the walls and into the flowers. Another was taking the team and all the flowers with us to an island resort to create a dream, including an immense undulating wall of heavenly white blooms.

You’ve also just had your fourth book published, Flower Addict, tell us a little about it…

Flower Addict is about a true flower obsessive’s life. I’ve tried to put together a book more about the flowers themselves and what they offer and bring to our lives. The very close-up portraits of the flowers by Nicholas Watts are the stars of the book.

Interview—Josie Steenhart