Monday, June 22, 2009

Modern still lifes

Robin Derrick, former Creative Director for British Vogue has a wonderful eye for composition and light. Last year he exhibited some of his very beautiful floral photography in London at The Old Train Depot in Battersea. The work takes its' inspiration from the still life paintings of Dutch artists of the 17th century. 

He collaborated with Nikki Tibbles of famed florists Wild at Heart, who created the magnificent arrangements. Have a look.....

A close up of the large rectangular photograph seen above.

You can get a behind the scenes peek at how the process evolved at

The last painting is from Jan Davidsz de Heem, painted around 1660.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Glamour Girls (Part 2)

I love this painting by Belgian artist Charles Hermans (1838-1924).

It's aptly named At Dawn and I'm reminded of how very little times and youth have changed.

There they are, a drunken gentleman (disreputable as one might expect, but in the most charming way, I'm sure), with two beautifully dressed, but very tipsy ladies on his arms, emerging from a night of revelry. 

Clearly, he's spent money with great abandon. His boutonniere is completely askew, a lovely bouquet has found its' way to the gutter and another bouquet is hanging on for dear life at the side of the young lady in the blue dress. 

He's a skirt chaser, a cad...hedging his bets with the bouquet purchases for these very glamorous and desirable young women. God only knows what happened afterwards, but the very sober morning crowd are not impressed by this show of impropriety.

I somehow doubt men today expect a bouquet of flowers to impress women in the same manner.  It seems so old fashioned now. But back then flowers were serious romantic business.

In the OLD days, the favours of a very fashionable courtesan could not be won simply with a posy of violets or gardenia blooms. No, these gorgeous, glamorous, and very often well educated creatures expected nothing less than extravagant bouquets of flowers. It was a way by which she could assess a man's wealth and worth.

I was reminded of these glamourous women when reading Patricia Zohn's; A Girls Guide to Love and Opera, where she has reviewed a recent production of La Traviata (I love this opera) on The Huffington PostThe main character Violetta Valery  is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas'  "La Dame aux Camilias" - The Lady of the Camellias.

Another famous courtesan in literature is Emile Zola's  'Nana'. At one point in the book she decrees:

"Well then, if  she (the other woman) wants Leon, she can have him. For what he's worth. One bouquet a week, if that !"

Can't say I blame her. 

It wasn't really about the flowers (the overflow were given away to the hired help). It was what they represented. An orgy of flowers was a tribute to her desirability (beauty, charm and intellect) and the price men were prepared to pay for her company. 

Bring on the flowers !

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Glamour Girls (Part 1)

About a year and a half ago, I was in NYC with my friend Stephanie of EyeSpyStyle. Whilst there she took me to this fabulous clothing shop, Steven Allan, in Tribeca.

Stephanie shopped, I browsed. While Stephanie was checking out the pretty tunics and shirts, I happen to notice flowers were being sold there. The most charming hand tied bunches were displayed in an old world galvanized trough. It was a delightful find and the flowers were presented in a style very similar to Wild thyme. Bouquets were wrapped in simple brown paper and tied with twine. I loved it. They were just the kind of flower bunches one could splurge on, without it costing the earth.

And oh....didn't they ooze downtown chic ! This was no green grocer, corner store bunch. This was all about style and understatement.

What I loved even more was the calling card of the florist who was selling her flowers there.

I think it's beautiful! I love the Art Nouveau styling, the old fashioned typewriter print, the antique gold framing and the card itself was just plain old brown card. Isn't it gorgeous ?

Well I thought.......I have to find out more about this florist. Who is she? Where will I find her ?

Upon my return to Toronto, I immediately googled the name and finally found a web address. I was so excited and instantly clicked to find a home page stating "Under Construction". Sigh... I suppose I'll have to wait.

Then one spring evening last year I picked up the May 2008 issue of Vogue and who do I find in it but.... Flower Girl ! 

Denise Porcaro is quite the glamour girl in her John Galliano dress and very, very high heeled shoes. And look at the rough hewn trough with all those glorious flowers ! You can see she brings cool glamour and downtown style to her flowers. I love the bouquet of lily of the valley (forefront of pic) in the vintage tin. Sweet !

The flower industry is due this kind of publicity. Thanks Denise !

Porcaro works out of the Earnest Sewn Boutique on the Lower East Side NYC. 

Well then, I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of her flower work once her website is up and running.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer love....aka Wedding season !

We are working on a wedding this weekend and I must be up and out of the house by 6 am Saturday in order to get things rolling.

However, before I hop off to bed, I want to share some pictures from a wedding we did a while back. It was one of our favourites. 

The wedding took place in early Spring, with lots of candlelight and wonderful white flowers. The celebration was held in a very handsome gentleman's club with lots of history and political intrigue. The bride was beautiful and confident, and she chose a simple, but sophisticated style.

The colour palette: crisp white, silver and oyster with the palest silver blue accents.

The flowers: White parrot tulips, pencil tulips, sweet peas, freesias and fabulous white cherry blossom branches and trees (not seen), hydrangeas and roses.

Candlelight was an essential element and as you can see imparted a great ambiance to the room.

The seating was mainly lengths of banquettes that sat approximately 50 guests, with some lovely oval shaped tables to break up the symmetry of the banquettes.

The bouquet: unfussy and pretty.

Have a fabulous weekend !

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'd like to introduce you to.....Miho Kosuda

Miho is credited with creating this quintessential New York look; a combination of precision styling with a large number of flowers (monofloral). Her bouquets are extravagant and luxurious with a modern edge. At the same time, she uses simple lines, understated styling, and classic flowers.

Designer Bill Blass was a big fan and she was his personal florist for over twenty years ! When they first met Mr. Blass asked her to create a luxurious, contemporary arrangement and Ms. Kosuda responded with more than 600 mango coloured calla lilys. Wow!

When she first started clients would dictate the floral style they wanted. Kosuda would oblige, but she would also send one of her own designs. This way clients could decide which one they liked better. Suffice it to say they often chose her style ! 
Miho's sister once said; "Miho, your flowers are like little ambassadors". To which she replied "That's true. They speak for me". 

Today, she is the preferred florist for many of New York City's society doyennes, fashion designers and interior designers. Her signature "twist" is very much emulated but rarely perfected. Michael George, one of Martha Stewart's favourite florists, and...... ex husband of Miho, is also a master of the " Twist".

Unfortunately, she doesn't have a website.

The first 4 images are from Veranda magazine. The last image is from Eileen Johnson "The Art of Flower Arranging".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In season....luscious peonies !

For a few brief weeks in June peonies seduce us with their sumptuous beauty. 
Though most commonly available in various shades of pink, deep red and creamy white, peonies are also found in unexpected colours such as peach, coral and pale yellows.

Originally from China, they were introduced to Europe in the 16th century, where they were planted in knot gardens (a formal style of garden design). People often consider peonies the quintessential English flower, but in fact it was the French who were responsible for the development of the many vareties we see today. Hence their romantic names; 'Duchesse de Nemours', 'Souvenir de Maxime Cornu', 'Julies Elie', 'Avant Garde', 'Auguste Dessert', and 'Tourne Angel', for example.

While the local season is short, you have probabaly noticed that peonies are available at other times of the year, such as Christmas, when they are flown in from New Zealand and Australia. And, in early Spring they are imported from Holland. 

You have probably also noticed they are incredibly expensive !

So, for those of you lucky enough to have peonies in the garden this June, enjoy! For the rest of us, your local florist is stocking up for the next couple of weeks. 

At Wild thyme, we always look forward to receiving our local field grown peonies from Janet and Harlan at the farmer's market. They are so beautiful!


Related Posts with Thumbnails