Lisa Cooper: Florist, Artist, Doctor of Philosophy

Lisa Cooper is a Sydney-based florist known for her cerebral and theatrical arrangements. Cooper is the petal pusher that institutions such as The Australian Ballet, fashion brands like Toni Maticevski and Romance Was Born, and iconic companies including Cartier and Tiffany all turn to when they want floral statements that resemble art installations. Cooper goes deep: She has a doctorate in philosophy, which echoes through her leafy artistry. “Flowers are profoundly metaphorical for me,” she says. “They allegorise birth, life and death and human emotion.” In beauty terms, floral-inspired looks are trending this season—the ideal moment to quiz Cooper on her blossomy obsessions.

Why do you work with flowers?
“It’s an intuitive act. I’m wholly intoxicated by flowers. The palettes and textures, sometimes in contrast, sometimes in harmony. As a medium, they offer untold, limitless potential for new work.”

Where do you get your inspiration from?
“Art mostly. My work is influenced by every artwork I have ever seen, accidently or on purpose.”

What was it like to have your work included in the Cartier exhibition in Canberra?
“To find that my work was appreciated by the people at Cartier in Paris was incredibly exciting. That they entrusted me to make work inspired by ten of their most enduring, iconic jewels was remarkable—and as close as I’ll ever get to Elizabeth Taylor.”

What’s your favourite flower to work with?
“So many, but I love to compose garden roses.”

Your favourite flower for winter?
“Black hellebores.”

Most romantic flower?
"The lily of the valley.”

What’s your take on Australian natives?
“They are among the most ancient and astounding specimens to ever materialise from the earth. Many are incredibly beautiful, multifaceted and some, like Sturt’s Desert Pea, are truly astounding.”

What aren’t you a fan of?
“I can’t bear it when flowers are made to drink dyes to influence their colour.”

Fragrance you love to wear?
“I love Lily by Comme des Garçons. Especially when I’m travelling or on jobs because it comes in a metal bottle and because the fragrance is green and grounding.”

Signature lip shade?
“A red lip is mandatory for me. I wear M.A.C Lipstick in Lady Danger, but recently I spied NARS Jungle Red in MECCA and it’s a really good colour.”

What are your go-to makeup products?
Chantecaille Future Skin and Le Camouflage Stylo are my favourite complexion products and I always carry NARS Super Orgasm Blush.

Skin care regime?
“It’s pretty simple. I cleanse with La Mer’s The Cleansing Lotion and follow with their moisturiser, or with Chantecaille’s Flower Harmonising Cream when I need something to quickly absorb before putting on my makeup.”

What’s always in your beauty kit when you travel?
Bumble and bumble Brilliantine for my hair and everything La Mer. On a flight I lather on their ultra-rich cream.”

Portrait photography by Hugh Stewart
Still life photography by Toby Burrows
Interview by Alexandra Whiting
June 2018


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