1. Ricky Yeo x Bvlgari
When asked to describe his aesthetic, independent floral designer Ricky Yeo references the age-old Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – which might broadly be translated as appreciating the beauty found in natural imperfections. It’s a description that suits his approach to a T, given Yeo gravitates towards weaving “botanical detritus” he finds on roadsides together with foliage. He then finishes off with flowers – which contrary to common usage – are only sparingly used as accents in his arrangements. It might sound like there’s a lot going on but the final effect is one of a visceral, almost-wild earthiness that’s been skilfully tempered – which should come as little surprise, given Yeo’s extensive experience as a journalist and editor covering design and architecture beats. The bulk of his time is now spent on his floral pursuits and volunteering and there are also collaborative projects with others in the field, such as installations executed with Humid House. “Singaporean florists are doing compelling work. We (just) need enlightened customers to support the work that we do.” Amen to that.
2. John Lim & Humid House x Mikimoto
“I just want to make things that confound and delight,” says Lim of the work his team does as “botanical designers”. The jeweller’s pearls are camouflaged amid snowberries, which resemble clusters of pearls and happen to be in season, “so that they reveal themselves only upon closer inspection”. The use of purple sand and a model with white hair and alien-coloured skin create a sense of the unnatural – a cheeky nod to the origin of cultured pearls. Says Lim: “(I guess we came up with the idea of) a jewellery-loving technicolour mermaid who washed up on the beach of a distant planet, caught up in the detritus of the shore.” Yup, weird, but also delightful indeed.
3. Zaki Jamil x Chanel
As an officer at the National Parks Board’s Native Plant Centre, he conserves and promotes endemic species of botany. That somewhat activist streak continues here in his arrangements that feature the mauve red bract of the ornamental banana (opposite) — “it has one of the most bizarre flower structures ever” — and Mussaenda erythrophylla “Dona Luz” (below), which somehow always brings back memories of his ’90s childhood. He says: “My intention is to showcase common garden flowers that are often disregarded, in a different light.”
Photography Veronica Tay Art Direction Adeline Eng
This story first appeared in Female’s October 2018 issue.