“A rose is a rose is a rose” Gertrude Stein wrote, referencing not the nature of love but the law of identity and the notion that things are often simply what they are (remember He’s Just Not That Into You anyone?). But when is a rose not a rose? When it’s an Infinite Rose. While this bloom may look and feel like a freshly cut rose, it will continue to do so for months, possibly even through to Valentine’s Day 2019. “Maybe even longer than your relationship,” quips Sabine Schmitt, co-owner of OnlyRoses, the luxury brand which counts Madonna and Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Hermès as clients, as well as Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who order the roses on repeat as personal thank-you gifts.
Founded in London in 2007, OnlyRoses expanded throughout Europe and the Middle East before landing in Beverly Hills last fall. Their jewel box boutique, designed by Miuccia Prada’s favorite architects Baciocchi Associates, features black floors, jewel-toned walls, and lacquered vitrines that show off their 250 varieties of roses to stunning effect. “Like all of our flowers, Infinite Roses are real Ecuadorian roses ethically sourced directly from a handful of farms in the Andes mountains near Quito,” says Schmitt, who opened the eighth outpost of OnlyRoses last fall. “Our blooms arrive in stores within three days of being cut, but cut flowers will perish after 14 days as the moisture in the petals evaporates and they become dry and brittle,” she explains. So in 2010, the company developed the Infinite Rose which lasts up to a year without water after a preservation process and, Schmitt claims, cannot be told apart from its fresh-cut counterparts. “You do need to dust them occasionally though,” she says. “We recommend blowing them from a distance with a hairdryer on the cool setting.”
The Infinite Rose from Only Roses
Photo: Courtesy of OnlyRoses / @onlyroses
Flower preservation dates backs thousands of years—wreaths of dried flowers were discovered in 4,000-year-old Egyptian tombs, and the Victorians were obsessed with pressing flowers. By the 1970s, a newly developed freeze-drying method managed to preserve the look of fresh blooms but affected the texture and led to changes in color. In the 1980s, researchers at University of Berlin and Brussels started on a joint project using glycerin to extend the life of cut flowers. By the 90s the process had been refined, and freshly cut flowers could be dehydrated, leaving the structure intact. They would then be re-infused with oil to preserve their appearance.The devil, however, is always in the detail, and while many florists now offer preserved roses, arrangements are usually only comprised of the blooms. “The problem is that heads and stems need to preserved separately because the drying time for the stems is approximately ten times longer than the drying time for the heads, which are also much more fragile,” Schmitt explains. “We preserve the heads and stems separately so they can be reunited.”
For those wanting to make an even grander gesture, petals can be dyed a myriad of colors, from black to turquoise, and custom colors can be created for clients— although a project on that scale requires a minimum order of 50,000 roses and takes four months to deliver. “It’s a popular option for brands looking for something completely unique and for large weddings,” Schmitt says. “For Valentine’s Day, pinks, reds, and white are the most requested.” Once brought back from the dead, the Infinite Roses can be presented in a variety of arrangements—from up to one-hundred stems to a single rose in its own glass cloche à la the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast —and delivered next-day nationwide to declare your undying love. Because you know what Gertrude Stein also said? “Romance is everything.”