Flowers? It’s in the blood says McQ’s talented Italian designer Andrea Bassoli. Born in northern Italy, Andrea has worked at McQueens for 6 years. A man of many talents, he is a senior florist and the McQueens Shop Manager at our HQ in Bethnal Green, as well as a specialist tutor at the McQueens Flower School.
Where did your interest in flowers come from, Andrea?
I grew up in the countryside in the north of Italy, where my parents own a little garden centre, so it’s a family business. Year after year, my passion for floral design began to take over, and I decided to follow in my brother’s footsteps and become a florist. After more than 10 years in the family business, I moved to London.
What is it that you love about flowers?
Every time I hold a flower in my hands, I’m thinking about the possibilities: what the flower is, what I can do with it, and how I could do something that has never been done before. I’m always trying to push the boundaries to create something unusual. As long as you have passion, curiosity, and a respect for the flowers, you can achieve so much.
Do you have a favourite variety?
I love Amaryllis, mainly because I enjoy watching them transform throughout the week, and particularaly white Amaryllis because it’s my favourite colour in the flower world. I love the fact that it stands out from all the competing, bright colours, I enjoy the beauty and the simplicity of it, but also the certitude that it will fade and wilt before the rest of the other flower tones. It might sound strange but there’s something about the fleeting beauty of white flowers that I have a deep appreciation for, Lily of the Valley being a prime example.
“…There’s something about the fleeting beauty of white flowers that I have a deep appreciation for, Lily of the Valley being a prime example.”
Walk us through a day in your life as shop manager at Mcqueens HQ…
A normal day would begin between 8 to 8.30 am. this first thing I do is check that the flowers we ordered the day before have been delivered (if they’re not, this gets sorted out pronto!). Following this, I’ll quickly brief my team on what to prioritize that the day, we’ll open the shop, and then we begin to prepare flowers for our hotel clients and any morning deliveries for our drivers to deliver asap.
When this is all taken care of, I’ll usually go to the office to check on any emails that came through the evening before, answer them, and around midday I’ll leave for lunch. During the afternoon I typically help my team to prepare for the following day’s deliveries, including any house contracts if we have them, as some of our clients prefer to have designs installed directly into their homes. Last but not least, I’ll check to see if there are any flowers we’ll need for the following day and prepare a flower order for our supplier to deliver in the early hours of the morning the next day. When it gets to 6pm, we close shop and, ideally, leave soon after..!
Tell us little about your role as a specialist teacher in the McQueens Flower School…
I really enjoy teaching every now and then, especially when there are special projects involving large installations. I was very fortunate to be invited to teach in Beijing at the Cohim flower School last year, which was incredible. I loved how enthusiastic the students were about learning the McQueens approach to Weddings and Special Events floristry. It was very rewarding to share and pass on my floristry experience to the Cohim students, they were so involved and I learned a lot from them. I definitely would love to go back again and participate in more floral action in China, which as a country is also just so beautiful.
What do you enjoy most about working at McQueens?
It is like being part of a big family, they love and sustain you all the time. Creatively, I can rely on my many talented colleagues, and every time I go into McQueens, I get so much support.