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David Jones

The Rite of George Low

The man behind the David Jones Flower Show through the eyes of Visual Merchandising Specialist Tara Whitbread

Standing there in the middle of the ground floor at our Elizabeth Street Store, watching people from all over the world marvel at the bucolic dreamscape they’ve just entered in the heart of the CBD makes the months of work and preparation beforehand worthwhile.

For me the 2016 David Jones Flower Show marks two years of working on an amazing and rewarding project. For George it’s his 28th year of delighting David Jones customers, tourists and floral enthusiasts from all over the world with his visionary designs. Filling all 17 of the Elizabeth Street Store windows and transforming the Ground Floor into a labyrinth of wonder is more a work of passion than anything else.

Growing up in a household full of flowers with a garden big enough to let his imagination go wondering, George learnt to find inspiration in the details and view the quotidian with a touch of magical realism. You start to realise when you work with George that he is never not on – there’s always something to do, a new idea to be had, an improvement to be made. And the passion and discipline he brings to his work is infectious, teaching you that this show is much more than just about flowers: it’s about welcoming spring and the rebirth that comes with it – about celebrating the perennial second chance spring represents.

The lead up to the show is frenetic, days melt into nights and setting up an elaborate structure, such as the in-store vertical garden with over 150,000 blooms and 30 varieties of flowers, inside one of Australia’s busiest retail floors means you have to be fast, stealthy and work with surgical precision. You’d think after six months of planning and seven non-stop days of setting up, fatigue and delirium would get the better of you, yet they don’t – not when you’re working with George.

It’s easy to forget nowadays that the David Jones Flower Show wasn’t always this larger-than-life theatrical event, in fact I’m blown away when I think that this all started in the roaring twenties when sales staff would bring their own flowers from home and place them on their work counters. Taking part in the tradition, its history and being involved with George are probably my favourite parts of being involved with the show. 

The David Jones Flower Show runs from 1st -11th September 2016, Elizabeth Street Store, Sydney

Elizabeth Street Ground Floor Elizabeth Street Ground Floor
George Low doing the final touches.
Elizabeth Street Window Elizabeth Street Window