In Her Element is a new photoseries by Delegate featuring inspiring women in Singapore who excel in their various domains! For our first instalment, we visited Aude, founder of Ask A French Flowers, when she opened the doors to her lovely floral atelier to celebrate the brand’s 1st year anniversary.
Aude comes from a French-Indonesian descent and was born and raised in Paris. She chose to relocate to Singapore with her husband to be closer to her family as her French father is now based in Singapore while her Javanese mother has a homestay in Flores, Indonesia.
The couple stays in a charming second-floor apartment in the Tiong Bahru Estate. Their home doubles as her floral atelier and the apartment is filled with vases of vibrant fresh blooms and buckets of rustic dried flowers. A Diptyque candle in the scent Cypres fills the house with an inviting scent while a soothing French track plays in the background. The couple’s French roots shine through the simple things they have in their house – a print of hardware store Maison Empereur is pinned on the fridge and tins of Mariage Frères tea stand on the white kitchen counter.She describes her style as Parisian Bohemian and the apartment is decorated with knick knacks they’ve picked up during their travels. “My house could tell a lot of stories. I like vintage overall,” said Aude.
Aude particularly adores the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood as it has a certain je ne sais quois reminiscent of parts of Paris.
“I love the art deco buildings and the neighborhood life. Being able to go to the Tiong Bahru bakery, the wet market and passing by the uncles watching channel 8 with their door open – this place is so charming, it has an ‘In The Mood For Love’ feel.”
While Aude is known for her beautiful floral creations, she has not always been a florist. She started out as a broadcast journalist and reporter where she interviewed celebrities like Robert de Niro and Ryan Gosling at ‘le festival de Cannes”. Though that life seemed glamorous, it was crazy hectic, she admits.
Upon moving to Singapore, Aude became more passionate about nature and flowers. The idea of opening her own floral boutique was sparked by a friend’s request for her to do the flowers for Chanel’s Changi VIP Lounge.
“That’s how it started. I opened my company, passed a florist certificate, trained in France. And voilà!”
Many of the customers who popped by her floral atelier for the open house were customers-turned-friends. Aude even teased one of them, Dee, saying that her apartment was just like Dee’s second home. She had no problem putting together bouquets while chatting away with her customers. Her deft fingers skilfully arranged, trimmed and tied as she assembled a lovely petit bouquet in under fifteen minutes.
After a long day of work, she de-stresses by spending time on Instagram. Aude is also learning to draw but “it’s a long road”, she says with a laugh.
“My style is inspired by classic still life painting and the beauty of wild nature.”
The florist regards Pierre Joseph Redouté, the botanical painter of Marie-Antoinette, as her mentor. “He understood everything about colors,” she said. Her personal favourite flowers are hydrangeas for they remind her of summers in Brittany. She also favours eucalyptus for their elegant movements and amazing smells.
Besides running Ask A French Flowers, the thirty-something is the correspondent of Le Fooding in the region. “I regularly update a list of the best restaurants in Singapore, Bangkok, Bali… Basically it’s about eating, writing and taking pictures. I’m also a product stylist and photographer.”
“The flowers are the main activity of Ask a French but my brand is about lifestyle in general.”