WHAT FIRST SPARKED YOUR PASSION FOR FLORAL DESIGN?
I have always been surrounded by flowers. As a young child, one of my fondest and earliest memories is of my cake-maker grandmother’s kitchen table lined with what seemed to me to be endless rows of roses made out of icing. As a young adult, I created English style window boxes for NYC apartment fire escapes and in Europe, I was a weekly shopper at the Dutch floating floral markets. Flowers have always been a part of my day-to-day living, so it was of no surprise to my closest and dearest that upon returning to the US after living in Europe for 18 years, I obtained a certificate degree from the NY Botanical Garden in floral design.
DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS WHEN CONCEPTUALIZING AND CREATING A FLEURS DE VILLES FLORAL INSTALLATION?
For me it starts with the design. My process is to visually stimulate my mind with haute couture fashion images. I create a mood board or vision board with everything from colours to fabric to celebrity fashions. This helps me to visualize the possibilities. Once I can see what I wish to create, I put pencil to paper and draw it out. Once I can mentally see the complete design, I know I can get it made.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE SEASONAL BLOOMS, AND HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THEM INTO YOUR DESIGNS?
I am truly fortunate to be a floral designer with access to the NYC flower market and to be able to personally select seasonal florals to create my designs. Mango colored calla Lily and burgundy celosias are a couple of my favourites year round. I love incorporating kale and artichoke flowers along with autumn leaves branches into my fall designs.
WHO INSPIRES YOU FROM THE WORLDS OF ART, FASHION, ENTERTAINMENT OR DESIGN?
So many! Here are some of my favourites:
Christian Siriano: his creative genius is always larger and bolder and always feminine. He understands and lives the female body and it shows.
Adam Lippes: his flower line inspired by the Dutch floral artist @cakeatelier is truly beautiful
OdAomo: true fusion of culture, art and fashion.
Thomas J Price: sculptural art representing today’s society and those who are often not seen as art subjects.
Tim Okamura: his talent and paintings make me truly live my melanin. He’s a master at painting the rich colorful textural blends that make a person of color come alive in his artwork.
Luvvie: she is bold and outspoken and knows how to use her fear to get things done. She’s not fear-less but she is the hype person everyone needs.
Anne Vitchen: Head Florist at The Ritz Paris. Her designs make me want to run away and be her apprentice!
Elly Lin: she is and always has been the future of floral design innovation. Her designs are leaps ahead of the industry.
WHICH FLEURS DE VILLES THEME HAVE YOU FELT MOST INSPIRED BY?
So far, I’ve been most inspired by VOYAGE as I loved researching and creating our India-inspired contemporary bridal design. For her full ballroom skirt we decided on a sophisticated colour palette blending from peach to orange to fuschia to red, with gold accents throughout the design. We primarily used garden style roses and carnations as we wanted patterned blooms that opened large. We also used preserved roses, hydrangeas and dendrobium orchids for the peacock. We loved creating 3 sets of ornate jewelry using star anise, coffee beans, eucalyptus seeds, mental beans and raffia.
WHAT'S THE MOST UNUSUAL COLOUR COMBINATION YOU'VE EVER USED IN A FLORAL ARRANGEMENT?
Once you know your colour theory and if your design represents what nature in her wisdom has already combined, then I believe there is no such thing as an unusual colour combination. Only when you go against nature does this occur. Think of a garden with so much greenery; everything goes with green! Other colour combinations are so aesthetically pleasing, for example blue and orange - these are complimentary in colour theory. Another favorite combination is pink and orange - they’re both tertiary colours, made from blending a primary with a secondary colour.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE FLOWERS INTO YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
I always use flower scented perfumes - right now I wear Red Roses cologne by Jo Malone. I also love having flowers in my home - if not an actual arrangement, then a stem or a cutting from my garden. Flowers are my day to day passion.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA AND AI INFLUENCED YOUR BUSINESS AND CREATIVE PROCESS?
Social media has made me a photographer and an editor. Cataloging my work in this way has served as a visual timeline of my progress and design style growth. As for AI, the future of floral design is as limitless as your imagination. The use of AI to create mind bending designs is so exciting - if AI can create it, then why can’t I?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MOVIE OR BOOK- ONE THAT INCORPORATES FLOWERS IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY?
The Netflix series Partner Track and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have gorgeous luxurious florals.
IF YOU COULD CREATE YOUR DREAM GARDEN, WHAT TYPES OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS WOULD YOU INCLUDE?
My dream garden would include: peonies, ranunculus, and parrot tulips - some of my favourite blooms.
WHAT EMERGING TRENDS IN THE WORLD OF FLORISTRY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW?
The trend I see clearly is designers creating foam-free arrangements and installations. At Polycarp Flowers, we use chicken wire, and tape. One might just consider that old school... but it works!
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AND LEARNINGS WHEN CREATING A DESIGN FLEURS DE VILLES?
Experience teaches you that you are somewhat limited to the variety of floral options that are hardy enough to endure the timeline of the show. You learn where and how to use botanicals and preserved florals to best recreate the desired look most effectively. The challenge for us has always been creating an armature that needs to support the weight of the florals and with optimal water source. My tip to other floral designers would be to ALWAYS test your material first! Whether you are using Agra wool or oasis foam or water bottles, test to see how long that particular flower will last.
Participating in Fleurs de Villes has also given me more confidence in my skills and allowed me to pursue other international flower shows and competitions such as the 2022 Temps du Flor in Girona, Spain.
IF YOU COULD ATTEND A FLORAL FESTIVAL OR BOTANICAL GARDEN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
The Chelsea Flower Show in the UK, more to see how the London shops have decorated their storefronts! There is also the Singapore Garden Festival, which is held every other year and the floral art category is amazing.
WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG PROJECT FOR POLYCARP FLOWERS?
We are gearing up for the Christmas holidays and will be creatively decorating a lot of mantle pieces. We’ll be using lots of ribbons, incorporating satin table runners into garlands and using a lot of natural greens for outdoor decor, planters and doorways. It will be very much a traditional red and green holiday, accented with ornaments and lights.