Pluck a clever, peripherally observant, and beautiful woman from the world. Literally any part of the world—far or near, rich or rare, physical or internet. A skyward follower count is not a determinant for selection. Ask her a set of questions that invite a discussion of sexuality, sensuality, modern feminism, career, and creativity, explored through her very personal lens. Have her answer them. And there you have it: that’s In Touch, a Par Femme segment, assembled, for you, with pleasure.
Anaïs Delebarre is a self-described “dreamer, wanderer and nature enthusiast” who plays with flowers for a living. As a Taurus, there’s little wonder she was drawn to the alchemy of floristry (although she’s the first to admit that behind the beauty of an installation or bunch of flowers, there’s a floor to be swept or a bin to be jumped on).
To celebrate her ethereal project for Par Femme, created alongside photographer Natalia Parsonson and model Flavia Lazarus, we spoke to her about the commingling of her creative outlets, her varied approaches to making, and the undeniable eroticism of flowers.
Can you tell us a bit about how you come to work with Natalia on this project?
It was very spontaneous and flow-y. We were at a house party catching up over some homemade Aperol Spritzes. We hadn't seen each other in a long time (as I had been living in London), and we were chatting about life and loves, and Natalia asked me if I was still working with florals, and then she proceeded to tell me about her idea for a shoot for Par Femme. I lapped up her every word. I enjoyed the experience very much, from choosing the specimens to seeing them being cradled by Flavia with that incredible smile of hers. That was cool.
Flowers are undeniably erotic. Can you explain in your words why this is so?
Yes, flowers speak to your senses. First, the sight—colourful, bold, all those layers and creases; the undiscovered folds evoke mystery. Then the scent, which lures you in further, intoxicating your mind. Finally the touch, soft as silk, skin-like, voluptuous, and delicate, but also capable of causing pain.
Can you run us through the types of flowers you used, and why you chose them?
I chose a variety of natives and seasonal flowers. I just went with what I liked the look of, and whatever caught my eye and was particularly beautiful that morning. I was drawn to the softness and fullness of peonies; the playful, textural body of kangaroo paws; flannel for their rugged beauty; and cymbidium orchids because they are sexy and feminine and because they look like a woman’s genitalia. After all, that is what we are celebrating.
What is your favourite thing about working with flowers?
The acceptable mess and (organised) chaos, the freedom to take risks, the diversity each day brings, and the wonderful, esoteric individuals I encounter.
What normally gets you in the mood to create?
Being surrounded by nature—that's inspiring. Also, talking to other creative and passionate people.
How do you go from the idea phase of a project to the execution? Do you follow a similar process every time?
No, because every project is different. On installs, you try and foresee everything that could potentially go wrong, because a lot of it comes down to quick thinking and problem-solving. Personal creative projects are more about feeling it out, although it is imperative for me to make lists of what materials and tools I may need, otherwise I get distracted and forget something very important. I like the process of making a visual board because it is a good way to expand an idea or explore it in different directions.
What initially sparked your interest in working with flowers?
The aesthetic element is what sparked my interest. I am a Taurus so I have always been attracted to beautiful things (I used to work in fashion). When I opened my mind up to the craft of floristry, it was like entering a parallel world of wonder. Of course, it’s not always pretty—I spend a large chunk of my day moving heavy buckets around, sweeping the floor, and jumping on bins. It is exhausting, but I still get that kid-in-a-candy-store feeling every day.
What women do you most look up to or admire, both in a creative and personal?
Writer Anaïs Nin, artist Ana Mendieta, my grandmother Gaby, and any woman who takes risks and pushes boundaries.
What makes you most proud to be a woman today?
Our inner strength and emotional intelligence, two very powerful tools.
Do you have a favourite sensual scene from a film or book?
My favourite book, Henry and June by Anaïs Nin, is a wild sensual journey from start to finish. Her diary entries recount the madness and torture that come with engaging in a passionate love affair and sexual discovery from a beautiful lyrical perspective. It was made into a movie but I can't bring myself to watch it.
What do you appreciate most about your body?
My breasts and my hands.
When do you feel sexiest?
When I am in love.
Prints from Anaïs and Natalia's featured project for Par Femme will be available to buy soon.