Becky De Oliviera, of Toronto flower studio Blush & Bloom, is a ‘flower child,’ literally! She discovered her love for flowers at an early age and spent the rest of her life living out her passion. That passion transcends into everything she does and it is beautiful to see someone following their calling. We had the privilege of working with Becky on our ‘Bohemian Romance’ lookbook in February, where she took our vision to another level; her flower crown was divine and something that Ill be requesting one day for my wedding! She also loves to teach others about the skill of floral design, and with an upcoming workshop with Bicyclette Boutique in the works it was so very clear that she is this week’s ‘girl crush.’
When did you know flowers were your calling? How important is it to you
to pursue a life of passion?
When I was a toddler, my mother always said I would be more entertained playing out
in the garden with the flowers than playing with toys. In a family with three girls, she
tells me now she always knew I was the one who would and surround myself with
flowers as I grew up. I started working in a greenhouse for a family friend when I was
fourteen and never looked back!
Wedding season is definitely getting into full swing. What would be your
advice to brides on planning the arrangements for their big day?
My advice for Brides is to get out there, look around, gather ideas. Use the tools we
have access to these days to get inspired. Choose a concept or vibe that suits you and
your partner, and it is my job to have the flowers reflect those ideas and make
suggestions on types and palettes that work together. Often times clients fall in love
with a particular image or concept, and the flowers are not available, and out of the
season for their wedding. This is always heartbreaking for me to have to break the bad
news, but also it drives me as a designer to get creative~ and offer ideas to emulate
what they had originally planned on having.
You have been referred to as the “flower child”, which automatically has
me thinking of the 60s with all the amazing flower crowns (definitely
making a comeback). Is there a certain period that resonates with you,
My personal style is so similar to my design style in that I love to pull inspiration from
so many places. The 60′s and 70′s boho fashion is always something I gravitate toward,
and can never turn away a cute floral or patterned sundress! I fell in love with pinup
culture and style, and draw a bit from the 50′s Rockabilly period as well. On any given
day you can catch me sporting bits and pieces from all of those times, and I like things
to be eclectic and quite mis-matched. I also believe that if I could wear (or make) a
flower crown every day, I would be living in my own personal heaven.
I have read that in the Victorian era certain flowers had specific meanings,
people used symbols and gestures to communicate. For instance the
hydrangea (one of my favourites) meant ‘perseverance’ and the lilac meant
‘first love’. Does meaning ever play into your arranging, and what is your
favourite flower and meaning?
A brief section of my study focused on the Language of Flowers, and I always thought
it was so romantic and exciting that flowers were used to translate what people were
feeling at that time. These days, of course the language has been lost, and while it
doesn’t intentionally play a huge part of my design~I often look at a finished
arrangement and realize that some of the meanings and components have the same
meaning. The tulip craze always fascinated me and I loved learning about the different
meanings of each colour. My favourite meaning would probably be the magnolia,
meaning Love of Nature.
You have created an amazing career. Is there anything you wish to still
accomplish, something that is on your bucket list?
A big part of what I hope to someday do is teach full-time. I used to teach flower
workshops back in my hometown on a weekly basis, and seeing the students creations
based on my instructions always amazed me. Having a room full of 10 people and a few
buckets of flowers, and after an hour each person has their own unique design, and not
one is the same as the other is a pretty wonderful thing to watch. I found people
developed such a huge appreciation for what I do, and that it really isn’t always easy or
just “playing with flowers all day”, and their truly is a math and science to each
arrangement. I believe in education, and I started in this industry always wanting to
know the history and why we create flowers to look the way we do. How, through
learning all of the styles we each develop our own, and decide what type of
arrangement we are the most passionate about. I also still feel the need to travel more
and see other countries and how they buy, sell and cultivate their flowers. Culturally
we are so different in how we do things, and flowers are no different to that concept!
We are thrilled to have you host a flower arranging workshop at Bicyclette
Boutique next month! What can people expect from it and what skill level
is necessary to join?
First of all, I am more than thrilled to be a part of this project~this is the part of what I
do that I love most. People can expect to sign up for a flower party~ and that anyone and
everyone can join us! No skill level is necessary, and I really hope that each person walks
away with a big smile on their face knowing they created something gorgeous.
Flowers can brighten up a day, express love and transport you to a certain
time and place. They are definitely a staple at the shop and bring a sense of
magic to any environment. What does magic mean to you?
Magic to me means to make something with my hands. To handle flowers and know they
were created by nature is magic in the purest form, and to then be able to use that gift
for a living and create even more magic?
To me that speaks volumes, doesn’t it!
What is a girl crush you may ask? According to my trusty urban dictionary it is “When a
girl has a crush on another girl, but they don’t wanna date them. It’s more like they
wanna be their best friend.” Here at bicyclette boutique we have had many a girl crush
whether it be gushing over a beautifully crafted dress from a local designer or watching
a girl rock out on stage, owning the crowd with her sweet melodies and killer riffs. We
have set out on a mission to discover what makes a girl “crushable” and we introduce you
to the series Girl Crush. My name is Ana (host and resident shop girl) and I will be taking
you on this journey with crush worthy questions for all our gals. So sit back with your soy
latte (my signature drink) or any other beverage of your choice and enjoy learning
about Bicyclette’s crush of the week!
To honour our favourite local designer and the girl behind the tutu resurgence, we
introduce you to our very first girl crush, Jordan de Ruiter.
What inspired you to create your own line?
or 12, but throughout high school I was also trying to be realistic and didn’t really think
it was a viable career option, I assumed it wouldn’t be stable enough. I sewed a lot of my
own clothing & was asked by a local boutique owner if I would make some things for her
store when I was 16 and I haven’t looked back since! I have never had a problem dressing
outrageously, and I love bright colors and unique prints so I create my line to reflect that.
I really want the line to inspire girls to just go for it and play dress up, regardless of what
they’re doing that day or who they’re seeing. I think it’s really important to wear what you
want to wear and be who you are because if you spend your life in black and white generic
clothing you might look back in 30 or 40 years and think, “Why didn’t I wear that
shockingly pink tulle skirt when I had the chance?”.
fabric or color always makes me happy to see!
something that came from your own design aesthetic/style or do you have a
specific girl in mind?
colors & obviously, tulle, lace & florals, but feel the pieces in my line can be worn by people
who aren’t jetting off to parties every weekend. I wear my tulle skirt with a denim shirt and
combat boots and that outfit works for a lunch date or drinks with my girlfriends. It’s
important to me that my line is fun & different but isn’t something that you buy and
it sits in your closet.
Regina Spektor or Sara Bareilles in one of my dresses would be incredible!
did Sarah Jessica Parker have an influence in that piece?
that had a strong ballet influence, I was actually unsure of how they would do but
wanted to have one for the lookbook shoot regardless so just gave it a go! After Paige
& I spoke we decided they they would be a good fit for the shop and they’ve been
becoming increasingly popular since!
the city and it has become a staple for all of our festival adventures. What
festival are you dying to go to this summer and what would be your
quintessential festival outfit?
festival that would be really fun to attend as well. I would of course be rocking a daisy
crown, some chunky jewelry, big boots and either the Suze eyelet dress or a fun printed
Brigette dress (both from my line).
I’d love to see more colors & prints popping up around the city in peoples outfits! That being
said I think there is a really good number of people in Toronto who have a unique, daring,
fun style which is always fun to see.
Wildfox do, and what a brand like Free People has done to really create a lifestyle brand.
what can people expect to find there besides your beautiful dresses of course?
be on the main street of small town Creemore, and have more space than I was initially
looking for so I’ve decided to open up shop! I will have a selection of my clothing line, as
well as accessories (floral crowns, jewelry & bridal accessories) and am offering a small
selection of product that I have pulled from Canadian labels.
soundtrack to your summer collection would be?
Hair is the perfect song! I also have been listening to a lot of Lord Huron, Mumford and
Sons, The Tallest Man on Earth, things like that!
recognition, etc. But I feel like as long as I get to continue to do what I love & I’m making
a living at it I will be happy!
you grow and helped you in the long run?
forward. For me the biggest decision and life changing moment was quitting my job and
making the leap to work on my line full time! I felt like I was stalling on doing the things
I wanted to do and found it hard to keep up while working second and third jobs. I kept
waiting to feel “ready” to make that decision, when that moment never came and I felt that
the line was suffering from it that forced me to make that move even though it was scary!
is great for that!
mean to you?
different things & people for my collections and sometimes it’s the most surprising
things that will inspire you! As for magic, I find life very magical! I feel really lucky that I
can’t stop smiling and feel like everything in your life is falling into place? That’s how I have
felt for months now and that is definitely a very magical feeling.
60s-inspired perfectly messy hair adorned with flowers. Need I say more?
[Solange by Daniel Gurton for Vs. Magazine, July 2011 / via fashion gone rogue]