Simon Lycett – flamboyant, effusive – an exotic orchid in a hothouse of flowers. Simon J. Lycett Ltd has gone from strength to strength since it was established in 1993. Simon’s mastery of floral design and innovation has led to a (daisy) chain of accolades and prestigious clients. Supported by his team, Simon is the 2013 New Covent Garden Florist of the Year and is also on the development board for the New Covent Garden market development.
The excitement and energy of his team’s projects speak for themselves. Following a whirlwind time at Chelsea Flower show, we caught up with him following his usual early visit to pick new stock from New Covent Garden flower market with his team.
How did you become an international flower designer?
Flower design was all I ever wanted to do. I got the bug for it when I was seven years old growing up in Warwick, and by the age of 14 I was doing my first flowers for a wedding. I learnt traditional skills at the knee of a neighbour but otherwise I am completely self-taught and have no formal florist qualifications. The same applies to my team who I train up. If you don’t know the rules they are easier to break!
Is there a cross-over between fashion and flowers?
There is definitely a conversation between the two-floral design often following what is happening in fashion. Sorbet colours are currently very popular with flowers at the moment, which is slightly behind the fashion curve. Flowers are also adopting the current ’80s vibe that we are experiencing in fashion – the neon, the big blousy forms, the wine gum shades of the high street. I tend to explore all styles in my work and be quite experimental in the elements that I will introduce.
What have been key moments in your career to date?
I find all jobs deeply exciting; I like the variety. Key moments have of course been the flowers we did for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Victoria and David Beckham’s wedding, the flowers for Her Majesty the Queen for a dinner preceding the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Elton John’s wedding flowers. Saying that, I have just received a call for a client’s daughter’s wedding – again, something that I am looking forward to. We have built our business purely on the reputation of our work and we do not advertise.
We do get involved with all aspects at an event: the lighting, the colours and motifs, and the table decorations for the whole event. We often commission props to be made. We orchestrate all the elements and create a piece of theatre. For example, for an Outward Bound event we created table decorations with moss cliff faces, with climbers and tiny climbing ropes – we have a climber in our team so we ensured that all the ropes were running the right way.
What was your inspiration for your design at Chelsea?
We took the central motif of the show – a sunburst flower form – and developed it from there.
Where do you source your flowers?
We go to New Covent Garden. Many of our flowers are British: the peonies, the sweet peas or the pinks. For more exotic blooms, we do go further afield.
For those who would like to see more of Simon’s work, find inspiration and meet him, put these dates in your diary:
- 16 – 20 June – British Flower Week, designs created exclusively by Simon Lycett on newcoventgardenmarket.com.
- 18 June – at 4.30pm Simon is appearing on BBC Radio London on the Jo Good show.
- 8 July – Simon is demonstrating at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.