Dangling from a ladder, hanging thousands of flowers from copper wire in as little as 24 hours for her client’s events, Sharon Leddel, aka ‘Tom Tom’, the founder of THE FLOWER PEOPLE and go-to botanical creator for Art Basel HK, leading fashion brands and the style set, is often left with blisters on her hands from the speed of the work.
Still, this former stylist and visual merchandiser during the Tom Ford Gucci era, says, the installations provide her with a sense of calm. There has been work for Vogue, BAFTA, White Cube and Bumble among others, transforming spaces with eco-certified, sustainably grown or locally sourced flowers, which sets her apart from the pack.
‘Floristry is about changing the surroundings to add a natural element in sometimes very unnatural ways,’ says the floral designer, ‘but my work is more about considering Mother Earth and composing the already gorgeous elements, so that my clients can experience delight and love, while supporting small, local businesses.’
Since the pandemic has put large events on hold, this has meant hunkering down in her studio in the heritage part of Wan Chai, where she continues to disrupt the Hong Kong flower industry with her single variety blooms and conscious gifting—attracting clients who are drawn to her thoughtful and impeccably-designed arrangements and weekly subscriptions more than ever.
Here, she talks to PAKT about favourite pieces, vintage finds, dream collaborators and projects.
1) Describe your style in 3 words.
Relaxed, recycled and ready.
2) What’s the most precious item in your wardrobe and why?
A pair of black, suede, Manolo Blahnik shoes that my husband, Eric, gave me in 1994 when we just started dating. I love that he chose them and they were a surprise.
3) What is the best fashion advice you have received?
‘If you like it, wear it.’ Great advice from my mum that I always bear in mind.
4) Where do you love to shop?
I pretty much have what I need, but if I really ‘need‘ something, I try to buy vintage, pre-loved, or swapped from friends. I love Hula and Green Ladies in Hong Kong.
5) What’s your go-to outfit?
80’s leather sweatpants from Japan. I wear them at least twenty times a year, usually with a tank top and sweatshirt.
6) What’s your personal style signifier and why?
I don’t really have one, as I change my look, hair, and accessories on a whim. But if I had to pick one thing, animal print would probably win, as it’s usually on me somewhere—even my underwear, not that anyone would necessarily know that!
7) Favourite piece you bought recently and why?
Ulla Johnson printed jeans with wrap waistband. They are super comfortable and durable which is great for work, but are also edgy, colourful and not the usual black I might usually wear.
Photo: Ulla Johnson
8) Who are your style icons?
Sophia Loren. Her uber feminine style, especially from the 1950’s-1980’s, was a big inspiration when I was a teen, and still is today.
Photo: Getty Images
Interior designer Kelly Wearstler. Similar to her design aesthetic, which is such a sensory experience, she just knows how to layer everything and anything, and in any colour.
Debbie Harry. She’s the ultimate style icon. I saw her in concert a few years ago, and she is just stunning and super cool.
Photo: Chris Stein
9) If you could have anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be and why?
Mine, I have all I need, really.
10) Less or more?
Depends on where I am going…
11) What will we never find in your wardrobe?
12) What is a must-have clothing item everyone must own?
Something that makes them happy when wearing it. A white or black tank is really versatile, goes with everything and can be layered.
13) What’s your number one fashion rule?
No VPL! Ever.
14) If a museum asked you to donate one item from your wardrobe that represented you what would it be?
A 1998, Tom Ford for Gucci, grey, tulle empire style gown. I was a visual merchandiser for the brand in Asia in the 90’s and have so many great memories from that era and of the times I wore it.
Right: Tom Ford for Gucci Fall/Winter 1998, Bridget Hall by Steven Klein
15) If you were an item of clothing what would you be?
Not really clothing per se, but it would have to be sunglasses. I love vintage Ray Bans and Yves Saint Laurent styles, while Gentle Monster suits my face really well and gives good coverage.
16) What is your dream project?
Creating a floral installation at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.
17) Dream collaborator?
18) Top 3 accounts to follow on social media
Paulina Porizkova @paulinaporizkov, The Irving Penn Foundation @the.irving.penn.foundation and Fat tony @dj_fattony_.
19) Favourite fashion apps?
I don’t use them.
20) Where were the last three places you travelled to and what are the can’t miss shops?
Los Angeles — Decades because founder Cameron Silver’s curation is really well done, and it’s always inspiring creatively.
Decades in Los Angeles
Paris — Dary’s on the Rue Saint-Honoré for vintage and antique pieces of jewellery.
Dary’s in Paris
Greece — I love roaming the streets in Athens and finding gems in the Plaka.