Djordje Varda is a character. He creates his flower arrangements almost as if he’s conducting an orchestra. He does it with grand, quick gestures, his arms flailing as he assembles his trademark grand, modern arrangements throughout The Ritz Hotel, Paris. Djordje is from Serbia. His accent is strong and he’s a big flirt; he has had a number of careers before this one, he smokes a lot, and adores things Italian. He even asked me to take care not to speak Italian in his company because the sound of it makes his temperature rise. Many florists were under consideration to become the official florist at the grand dame The Ritz Paris. Self-taught Djordje was selected in 2006, and has garnered a large following and reputation for his extravagant vertical creations ever since. And now at The Ritz in conjunction with L’Ecole Ritz Escoffier (the cooking school), you can even take a class with him two Saturdays a month to learn how to arrange flowers the Varda way. I’m sure it would be a very entertaining experience! I saw his tiny flower packed office in the basement of the hotel where he and his assistants organize all the exotic flowers, and I watched him run around The Ritz in his sneakers and jeans, his hair falling in front of his face. Djordje is mischievous, busy, and inspired, and gets around Paris in a big new Cadillac. He likes Rat Pack music, especially Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin; “Sway” was cranking when we went for a spin through the city center. Here is a link to Djordje Varda’s website. It is as dramatic as he is.