Floral tributes to these film stars were displayed at Fleurs de Villes FEMMES shows around the world in 2022. Read their stories, and why flowers are significant to each of them.
SOPHIA LOREN BY ZUHOOR DESIGNS, TORONTO
Born in Naples to a working-class family, Sophia Loren and her single mother lived with her grandparents in an apartment. During the war, they converted their living room to a G.I. bar, and Loren bussed tables. Despite humble beginnings, her rise to fame would be remarkable. Discovered in a beauty contest at the age of 15 by the powerful movie producer Carlo Ponti, he would take her under his wing, whisking her off to Rome to launch a career as an actress.
Because Italian law did not recognize divorce, Ponti became a French citizen so that they could be wed in Paris in 1957. During that era, Loren was a regular on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, and began getting noticed in Hollywood for her performances in films of the Italian New Wave. Her first crossover film, in which she spoke English, was 1957’s The Boy and the Dolphin in which she plays a deep sea diver. Her most famous film is the war epic The Pride and the Passion, playing opposite Frank Sinatra. She was also good in comedic roles, such as in The Houseboat with Cary Grant. The Academy Awards gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award and she appeared in the celebrity-studded 1994 Robert Altman comedy Ready to Wear. Always quick with a bon mot, at age 72 she famously said she owed her figure to spaghetti. Despite their 22-year age difference, Loren and Ponti were married for 50 years until his death; he gave her a single red rose every day of their marriage.
AUDREY HEPBURN BY ANISKA CREATIONS, MIAMI
Audrey Hepburn was the embodiment of pure joy, and her radiant spirit lives on through her movies and humanitarian legacy. The style icon looked as chic and glamorous in couture in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as she did in Capris and ballet flats. During her storied career, Hepburn was one of only a few actresses to win an Emmy, Tony, Grammy and an Academy Award. To this day, women show up at Tiffany in New York with boxes of pastries like her character Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn grew up in a wealthy family in Holland, where she practiced ballet and gave recitals. More than just a pretty face, during the Second World War, she acted as a courier delivering papers back and forth to the Resistance, as children were less likely to be caught by the Nazis, despite the fact that her parents were members of a Fascist organization. Hollywood loved this story, and around 1953’s launch of Roman Holiday, her first major motion picture, would publicise it. She won an Oscar for Best Actress.
Her performance as the poor cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle who is transformed in My Fair Lady, made it the top grossing film of 1964. She won an Emmy for hosting the PBS series, Audrey Hepburn’s Gardens of the World. In 1989 she was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and spent the later part of her life devoted to helping the world’s most vulnerable children. Known as an avid gardener, she has both a rose and a white tulip named for her, which she said was the most romantic thing that had ever happened to her.
LADY GAGA BY ÉLYSÉE FLOWERS, QUÉBEC CITY
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in Manhattan, New York, Lady Gaga, who named herself after the Queen song “Radio Gaga,” is known for her meteoric rise from a songwriter for Britney Spears to a superstar in her own right, both an accomplished singer known for her powerful coloratura contralto vocals, and as a talented actress, starring in award-winning films A Star is Born and House of Gucci.
Gaga was discovered while singing to herself in a changing room at a store near her private girls’ school in Manhattan, where Paris Hilton was a classmate. Introduced to Christina Aguilera’s vocal coach, she has since gone on to sing at the Superbowl and at President Biden’s inauguration. At seventeen, she was one of twenty people in the world to have gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Although her family was well-off (her father was an internet entrepreneur) she dropped out of school, left home, and decided to make a name for herself singing in New York nightclubs. Her provocative costumes (the infamous meat dress) and flamboyant wigs by her creative team, Haüs of Gaga, make her all the more memorable. She has more than 20 tattoos, each depicting an important moment in her life, including daisies and roses the length of her back with the inscription “La Vie en Rose.”
ANNA MAY WONG BY CJ MATSUMOTO & SONS, L.A.
Born in Los Angeles, Wong Liu-tson (known professionally as Anna May Wong) was a silver-screen pioneer who appeared in over 50 films, including Shanghai Express. In the 1920s and 30s, she persisted in challenging prevailing Asian stereotypes in film, paving the way for the next generation of actresses. In 2022, the American Mint issued a quarter with her likeness on it, and a new biopic produced by and starring Gemma Chan has also recently been announced. She lived on Flower Street, and her Chinese name means “frosted yellow willows.”
One of seven children, Wong toiled in her family’s laundromat, and did deliveries during her childhood. She skipped school to hang around movie sets in Chinatown, eventually getting noticed and landing a role as an extra in The Red Lantern at 14. Her first leading role was as Lotus Flower in the silent film The Toll of the Sea in 1922.
American laws at the time forbade inter-racial kissing in films, so she was passed over for romantic scripts. In frustration, Wong left for Europe, settling in London and performing in such famous projects as Picadilly. She also wrote and starred in the operetta Tschun Tschi in fluent German, and co-starred in the play A Circle of Chalk with Laurence Olivier. It was there that her fashion sense flourished, and she became known as a great beauty, appearing on international best-dressed lists. Wong never married, but was rumoured to have been in a romantic relationship with Marlene Dietrich, whom she appeared with in Shanghai Express.
JENNIFER LOPEZ BY VILLANUEVA DESIGNS, NYC
Inspired by Rita Moreno from 1961’s West Side Story, Jennifer Lopez started dancing and singing lessons at age five. She credits her Puerto Rican parents for fostering her confidence and trademark body positivity. Lopez was an accomplished athlete at her Catholic girls school, participating in track and field and tennis. She left home at 18, took a clerical job at a law firm, and did dancing jobs at night. Lopez continues to shine as an actress in the rom-com genre, from Maid in Manhattan to the feel-good Marry Me, but many feel she was snubbed at the Oscars for her performance as a pole dancer in Hustlers. She performed with fellow Latina Shakira and her child Emme at the 2019 Superbowl - a historic performance. The documentary about her life, which shines a light on her work ethic, is called Half Time. “Overtime” might have been more fitting. Lopez’ latest venture is with a multi-million dollar fund that will provide loans to Latina entrepreneurs.
Lopez recently rekindled her relationship with Ben Affleck, and “Bennifer” returned. They married in 2022 in an elaborate three-day affair at Affleck’s estate with an all-pink floral theme - even the horse had its mane decorated with pink blooms. They honeymooned in Paris where she was photographed in an Oscar de la Renta dress covered with red, blue, and yellow flowers.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR BY CAPITAL FLORIST, MONTREAL
Elizabeth Taylor was a glamorous actress known for her lead roles in Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf as much as for her collections of diamonds and ex-husbands, of which she had eight. Her stunning violet-coloured eyes helped her win emotionally charged roles, leading to more than 50 films over her lengthy career. She was also a humanitarian, and launched the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation to raise money for research.
Born in London, England to a pair of American art dealers, she was raised in Los Angeles. Young “Liz” Taylor was first noticed for her dancing, at the age of three, and was just 10 when she made her screen debut. She took on many roles as a child actor, and married hotel heir Nicky Hilton at age 17. In the ’50s and ’60s she won dozens of roles and won an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8. Never one to shy away from scandal, after Taylor’s second husband died in a plane crash, she took up with his married best friend and won his hand in marriage. But her most famous marriage was to be her fifth. Always one to dress to the nines, for her wedding, to actor Richard Burton at Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Taylor wore a yellow dress by Cleopatra’s costume designer, an 18-carat Bulgari emerald brooch, and had her hairdresser create an elaborate hairpiece of white hyacinths and lily-of-the-valley that trailed down her back like a floral veil.
Visit our Fleurs de Villes FEMMES galleries to view more stunning floral tributes to remarkable women, created by our talented global florists.