Susannah Shops: Say it with flowers

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Sometimes I dream of being the type of domestic goddess who has a vase of freshly cut flowers on her kitchen table at all times. And occasionally these days – knock me down with a feather and call me a late developer if you will – I am that woman.

Flowers, we all know, are fashionable just now – witness the overblown blooms gracing an equally scaled up silhouette at Jil Sander – but anyone buying the raw material would do well to remain oblivious to passing trends. Buying flowers, like buying scent, is a highly personal experience that should never be influenced by ephemera. Certain flowers are linked to specific fashion names, however.

For Coco Chanel, the preternaturally waxy camellia (preferably white) was always the favourite, a fact not missed by the powers that be at that label today. Creative director Karl Lagerfeld uses this time-honoured symbol to decorate everything from boucle wool jackets to two-tone pumps. The powers that be at Chanel Parfums created their single note Gardenia because the camellia has no scent and gardenia is the closest thing to it, in looks at least. For Christian Lacroix, very sadly a victim of the 2008 crash, the blowsy carnation was always the bloom of choice. The couturier famously placed a single one of these flowers on each gilt-edged seat at his twice-yearly couture shows (red and pink ones usually, as opposed to restrained white, which more than hinted at his maximal heart) and guests dutifully showered him with them at the end of the show.

Christian Dior regarded lily of the valley as the ideal bloom. Fragile, unashamedly feminine and the most youthful in fragrance of all the white flowers, it forms the heart of Diorissimo, launched in 1956 and still going strong to this day.

As for the real thing, a beautiful bouquet of tuberose, a rare and exotic flower if ever there was one, threatened to suffocate anyone visiting chez Frankel recently, such was the intensity of its almost indecent aroma . This week, meanwhile, I will mostly be buying peonies: pale pink or magenta ones. They’re not very bee-friendly apparently, as the feather-like petals are too dense, but they tremble so prettily in any breeze.

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