Ever wondered who provides the magnificent floral displays at any given fashion launch, red carpet event or room in a leading luxury hotel? Chances are it is Kally Ellis, the owner of floristry business – McQueens. Visitors to Claridge’s for instance, will know that McQueens has a boutique here. It opened at the end of 2011. As for the fashion pack, they, along with countless events managers, have Kally on speed dial.
As one of Britain’s top florists, Kally set up ‘McQueens’ in 1991 with one aim in mind: “I wanted to sell simple, stylish flowers, beautifully presented, to the London market. And I knew people would love it.”
Kally drew on her business experience working in the marketing team of a large international French merchant bank. With a strong sense of colour and design, and a genuine passion for flowers, it has proved to be a winning combination, establishing McQueens as the premier name in the UK flower market – and beyond.
The florist is also a hit across the Pond where she creates the floral arrangements for all Vanity Fair events as well as the Post-Oscars party and The TriBeca Film Festival.
“It never fails to surprise me when I receive calls about our flowers from Hollywood or Japan,” says Kally. “It’s amazing to think that from a small shop in Clerkenwell we’ve built a reputation for quality and innovation that’s known the world over. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Unsurprisingly, Kally’s little black book is positively bursting with fashionable addresses, five of which she shares below:
Smythson, 40 New Bond Street
My life would be an utter mess without my Smythson diary. I like the week on one page (so you can see everything at a glance) with a blank page for notes opposite. It means that when I go to meetings I always have a notebook, plus they are the perfect size to pop in your handbag. Smythson makes such brilliant gifts because you can personalise them too, which is a lovely touch and always makes them look so special.
Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street
I could not survive without Fenwick. Whenever I’m at Claridge’s it’s such a handy one-stop shop for all kinds of essentials. These include pashminas, perfumes, wonderful Clarins skincare products and those gorgeous Shiseido compacts, and tights of course! They always have the best selection of tights.
Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street
I adore Mulberry. It is British, beautifully designed and the products are so well made. . Like all fine leather products, they look better and better with age, and that’s always a test of true quality. We’ve worked on many Mulberry fashion shows and the team there is wonderful, they are creative thinkers with a fabulous eye for colour
Fera at Claridge’s, Brook Street
Simon Rogan has created a wonderful space at Fera and the food is just delicious. Each plate looks like a work of art but there’s always something there to surprise and beguile you. Getting restaurant spaces right is always tricky, but I love what they’ve done here. It feels elegant and sophisticated without being stiff and starchy and that’s a fine balance. We provided the central manzanita tree, which brings a wild, natural element to the room and serves as a reminder that the provenance of the food is equally as important as the taste.
La Petite Maison, 54 Brook’s Mews
This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. It is super-stylish and always has such a fabulous buzz about it. La Petite Maison is a lovely place for a lunch on a Saturday after a little shopping. I always think it feels a little tucked away, and I’d like to say it’s one of Mayfair’s best kept secrets but it’s always packed so that can’t be true! I especially love the way they dress each table with delicious ripe tomatoes and fresh lemons so you can create a little salad of your own. It’s the nearest place to the South of France that you’ll find in the capital.