Fashion’s Chicest Florist on Jackie O, Tom Ford, and Dressing for Zoom

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings has said it all with flowers. The florist is adept at expression via blooms, so much so that clients like Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Farfetch count on her to create the dazzling floral-scapes at their events and shows. Through her service, FLOWERBX, which she founded in 2015, provides fresh cut flowers on-demand; Bromberg Hawkings’ expertise goes beyond standard arrangements.

The fashion insider began her career as an assistant to Tom Ford during his tenure at Gucci and eventually became SVP of communications at his eponymous brand. After instantly connecting over their Texan roots and shared reference points, they spent two decades working side by side. During her time in high fashion Bromberg Hawkings became familiar with the industry’s flower culture, i.e., the endless stream of thank you bouquets and signature arrangements that pass between designers, editors, and public relations executives and their ilk. She quickly realized that way a floral choice can symbolize the sender. “I understood that the flowers Karl [Lagerfeld] would send were representative of Karl’s aesthetic,” says Bromberg Hawkings. “What Anna [Wintour] or Miuccia [Prada] sent didn’t look like it came from a florist, it was a beautiful and simple representation of their style signifiers.”

Sending blooms as a thank you was common, but the practice was unnecessarily complicated. With multiple flower shops competing for attention, the arrangements often said more about the florist than anything else “They want to put their stamp on things so when you ask for white peonies, you wind up getting excess greenery or whatever else they choose instead of what you’ve asked for,” she explains. “In New York, if I wanted to get flowers not a fancy arrangement, I would have to go to the flower market, which is fun if you have the time but when you’ve got two kids, and a meeting with Tom at 9 AM you don’t want to schlep there. I was buying everything else online—farm-fresh groceries, clothes, beauty—and wanted to create a brand where you could buy flowers in the same way.”

With her husband, Peter, serving as Ford’s SVP of menswear and her circle of friends and connections firmly rooted in the fashion industry, Bromberg Hawkings was uncertain about making the jump into a new field. Still, she found herself at crossroads as she approached a milestone birthday in 2015. “It was a now or never moment,” she shared on the phone from London. “I could have stayed and worked with Tom forever, we were like a little family [but] I had this idea that was a solution to a problem, and something I knew didn’t already exist. At the time, I was turning 40 and pregnant with my third child, so it was almost a culmination of all those things. I understood that if I didn’t do it, then it was never going to happen.”

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