Moody burgundy tones for Lady Gaga. Incredible floral displays akin to art perfuming the foyers of five-star hotels. Styling the Dally M Awards and Royal Easter Show. Creating a bridal bouquet on the spot for a bride that had to leave for the altar in 15 minutes It’s all in a day’s work for Greek Australian Sevi Anastasiou, and when it comes to floral design, there’s nothing she can’t do. Bright as the blooms that surround her, with a talent for incorporating a person’s personality into a bouquet, Anastasiou is in high demand, as evident on her social media which is dripping in lust-worthy creations.
GCT recently chatted with Anastasiou about her lifelong love of flowers, her business Lulu Flora which is nestled in the iconic Sydney Olympic Park, styling major events and upcoming trends.
Where were you born and raised and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Sydney. Lived in Leichhardt, then Earlwood and now in Bexley North.
Where in Greece is your family from?
Both my parents are from the beautiful Island of Kos.
Were you creative as a child? What led to you becoming a florist?
I was creative as a child. l loved anything to do with all forms of art. I was once described by a relative (politely) as a quirky child. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to make mud pies and decorate them with flowers from the garden.
Tell us about Lulu Flora?
I created Lulu Flora ten years ago, at Sydney Olympic Park, and create floral designs for most of the events that take place there, including concerts and sporting events. The name, Lulu is part of the Greek word louloudia and flora for the English. A mix of both cultures.
Tell us about styling big events such as the NRL Grand Final, The Royal Easter Show, and concerts?
The best thing about event styling is we get to collaborate with some fantastic event planners who have some great ideas but heavily rely on us to create their vision.
Nothing beats the feeling when you are told that you have exceeded their expectations. Some venues do give you strict guidelines, for example- no flowers considered as noxious weeds used anywhere for the Easter Show (ivy, asparagus fern etc.), no naked flames at certain venues, set-up before lockdown for events at the Stadiums so security can go over the whole venue.
I love doing work for the NRL. They have fantastic taste and give me plenty of free reins as well.
Who have been your favorite artists to provide flowers for and what did you create for them?
I have made flowers for quite a few concerts, however, I loved doing the flowers for the Lady Gaga VIP room in moody tones such as burgundy, deep purple, and magenta. For the Dolly Parton concert, I created tall vases with masses of hot pink roses around her gold glitter piano.
What do you love the most about your work?
First and foremost the flowers. I fell in love with flowers at an early age. I love being able to create something special for each individual client. My mission is simple- I want to create beautiful designs using quality flowers.
What is your favourite flower and why?
My favourite flower? Impossible question to answer. Today it is Love in a mist (Nigella damascena), yesterday it was Flannel flower and last week it was Coral Peonies and tomorrow...?
What has been the biggest highlight of your career?
I have had many highlights so it is difficult to choose one. Taking first place at business awards, such as the Telstra Small Business Awards, is always a nice feeling.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been the work/life, balance. I have two beautiful children and an amazing husband who give me a lot of support. I can't forget my parents and in-laws either, always ready to help when I am overloaded with work.
What is the current trend in flowers?
Nude tones with bold clashing colors. There has been a shift away from using foliage in favour of arrangements loaded with florals in a mix of tones. The boho look is slowly moving away, I think in the next couple of years we will see more contemporary chic floral styles.
What inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from what's happening with interiors and fashion, for example, new colour palettes, structures. I suppose I am subconsciously influenced by current trends and then I put my own spin on it.
Who has been your biggest influence?
Hard question to answer, I have always been inspired by art. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is " I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers " by Claude Monet. In my case, it's the reverse.
What is one piece of advice you have received along the way that stayed with you?
Rather than just following trends, listen to your client and find a way to customize a look to suit their personality and style.
When was the first time you went to Greece and what impression did it make on you?
I was 14 the first time I visited Greece. It strangely felt so familiar. I loved the beaches, the culture, the food, the people and the way they live.
What is your favourite Greek food?