No shortage of tributes have been penned to the rose, that most romantic of all flowers. Their colour, their fragrance, the intricate folds of their petals – not to mention the dedication required for their cultivation – have all inspired lyrical prose. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so beautifully reflected in The Little Prince, “It is the time you have spent on your rose that makes it so important.”
UK artist Zoe Bradley is well aware of the time required to coax a rose to life. She composes her tributes to the flower not in words but using paper, and each blossom – with its 32 individual petals – takes around 40 minutes to craft by hand.
At LUMIRA, we’re delighted to be partnering with Zoe on a very special event, held exclusively at Selfridges in London. On Saturday, February 9 between 1pm and 4pm, receive one of her exquisite handcrafted Everlasting Paper Roses, valued at £63, with every LUMIRA purchase over £69. We also invite you to take the opportunity to see the artist at work, as Zoe will handcraft roses on site.
Ahead of this very special Selfridges event, we spoke with Zoe – who has also collaborated with the likes of Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton – to find out more about her process.
You originally trained in fashion before moving to paper art. What is it that you enjoy most about working with paper?
My love of paper comes from a desire to find a material that is available in abundance and that can hold its form with dramatic effect. I discovered my love of working in paper while experimenting with hand-pleating during the making of a series of showpieces for Japanese fashion designer Michiko Koshino’s autumn/winter 2005 catwalk show. I work like a tailor just in paper – it involves lots of folding, cutting, curling and sometimes stitching.
Are you able to share details for one or two of the most noteworthy commissions you’ve had since starting your studio?
One of my favourite commissions was collaborating with Brazilian shoe brand Melissa, whereby I created a short film and gallery installation based upon a garden of exotic flowers. I worked with a vinyl wallpaper company and a photographer to bring my flower landscape to life – the paper flowers burst to life in a hypnotic film sequence. I enjoyed creating a total environment to engulf the spectator.
My fashion training as an apprentice with the late Alexander McQueen was a pivotal moment for me in my career. I created some of the key showpieces for his spring/summer 1999 ready- to-wear catwalk show, including the headline-grabbing doily-punched wood fan corset and skirts, as well as prosthetic legs carved from elm wood and worn by Aimee Mullins. It taught me that craftsmanship is key!
Do you have a favourite LUMIRA scent?
[LUMIRA founder and creative director] Almira kindly sent me the Persian Rose candle as a gift. I’m excited to light it and enjoy the rose scent, as I love roses.
When: Saturday, February 9, between 1–4pm
Where: Selfridges London, 400 Oxford Street London W1A 1AB
Gifts are limited, so be quick!