Cries of ‘Oh, that’s gorgeous! Who’s it by?’ are once again ringing through the tiled halls of wellheeled homes. But it’s not a blingy designer bag or a pair of
Chanel sunglasses sparking envy — it’s the floral bouquets on display, with prominent labels bearing the names of their famous creators.
Today’s globe-trotting, rock-star florists are hired for their own distinctive styles. ‘People are moving away from the traditional, formal look,’ says florist Larry Walshe, who has worked for A-listers including Rihanna and Adele.
‘They’re pushing the boundaries, they want flowers to be personalised and meaningful, and there’s a lot more freedom to make a statement.’
THE MASTER OF DRAMA
LARRY WALSHE STUDIO
Flic Everett spoke to celebrity florists for advice on recreating their signature displays. Pictured: Larry Walshe Studio
With a client list that reads like Who’s Who — we’re talking Royals as well as pop and fashion royalty, including Rihanna, Adele, Stella McCartney and Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful — Larry’s been described as a ‘floral alchemist’ due to his jawdroppingly huge designs.
Larry Walshe created a dress entirely made from flowers (pictured)
From creating a dress entirely made from flowers (right) for the Chelsea Flower Show to full scale art installations, he says, ‘We love a challenge! We have created forest enclaves for the exchange of vows, covered hotel ceilings in flowers, wired 60,000 fresh delphiniums by hand to create the largest tree made of flowers that we ever saw.’
Steal his style: Go for tightly packed blooms in dramatic colours. Think peonies, roses, dahlias and minimal foliage. Keep heads of the flowers close together, and present your bouquet in a tall, plain vase for maximum impact.
Bouquets from £50, larrywalshe.com
THE GREEN ROMANTIC
Shane Connolly who was born in Belfast, is best known for romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist (pictured)
Shane was responsible for Kate’s (pictured) wedding bouquet
The Belfast-born, sustainable floral designer is a hit with the senior royals. ‘I was given the rather extraordinary title of Artistic Director of Flowers for the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge,’ he laughs.
‘Everything was made the night before the wedding. Then, we were up again at 4am to check it all.’ In Kate’s bouquet (right) was ‘Lily of the Valley, a little touch of hyacinth, and some Sweet William, which was a bit of fun’. Not to mention the trees. ‘To add intimacy in the Abbey, the obvious answer to me was to use trees.’
Steal his style: Romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist. He adds ‘find flowers you love by visiting gardens, not flower shops.’ No non-recyclable foam or flown-in flowers. For floristry courses with Shane, go to:
THE MODERN ROCK STAR
Orlando has worked for Madonna, Kylie, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Prince Charles and Robbie Williams. In the flower business for more than 20 years, he is known for his modern, clean designs. A familiar face at celebrity gatherings, when Guy Ritchie was married to Madonna, he asked Orlando to make a dramatic, all-white bouquet for her.
‘I have done many things in my career that I’m proud of — arranging flowers for our royal family, and pop stars, as well as designing stunning weddings in wonderful locations,’ he says. He also appears regularly on TV and is ‘very keen to shake up the image of what a modern florist looks like.’
Orlando Hamilton who is known for big, colourful and modern displays, said it’s important there is some kind of dialogue when you decorate your home with flowers
Steal his style: When using flowers to decorate your home, he says, ‘make sure there’s some kind of dialogue. I can’t bear to see someone who’s got a very country-house interior, with galvanised pots of aloe vera. It looks disjointed.’
His signature style is big, colourful, stylish and modern, incorporating quirky elements such as giant artichokes, or flowers sprouting from pumpkin shells. ‘Flowers with large heads, such as hydrangeas and lilies, work well in a big room. I’m a big fan of dramatic eremurus or foxtail lilies — they look like fireworks in large displays.’ But if you haven’t got a giant space, he adds, ‘keep it simple. That’s the secret to a clean, modern look.’
THE SOCIETY KING
ROB VAN HELDEN
Rob Van Helden who is florist to Elton John, the Beckhams and Liz Hurley, said you achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower
Society florist to the late Princess Margaret, Elton John, the Beckhams, Claudia Schiffer, Liz Hurley, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, Rob is the maestro responsible for Bea’s glorious flower arch. ‘We tried to create a vintage garden feel, with seasonal flowers including pale peach and pink roses, hydrangeas, jasmine and astilbe,’ he says.
The Dutch-born celebrity florist began his career with a holiday job at the local flower shop. After moving to the UK, he worked for Selfridges’ flower department, and 34 years ago, set up his own business which was kicked into the stratosphere when he designed the flowers for the lavish three-day wedding of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.
He now works ‘seven days a week’ with his sister Patrice. ‘We have travelled the world, weddings in India, Mexico, LA, NYC, the Bahamas… But I have a great team — every time I’ve gone “This is not going to happen!” three hours later, you’ve never seen a wedding like it.’
Steal his style: Dramatic, sculptural bouquets bursting from tall, thin vases. Van Helden flowers tend to be big, beautiful and symmetrical, with hydrangeas, fluttering sweet peas, hyacinths, soft roses and peonies creating a classic bouquet. Use huge hydrangeas for shape and tightly-packed roses to add delicacy, and go easy on the foliage. ‘You achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower — it gives a feeling of volume,’ he says. Hidden secret? Cable ties!
THE ENGLISH ROSE
Nikki Tibbles who is the go-to for Chanel, Christian Dior and Kensington Palace, recommends gathering similar shapes in home floral displays
Nikki has become the go-to girl for British glamour, and counts Poppy Delevingne, Chanel, Christian Dior, Claridge’s, Kensington Palace, milliner Philip Treacy and hotel heiress Nicky Hilton among her clients. For Hilton’s wedding at Kensington Palace in 2015, she created a huge floral arch and table décor using Lily of the Valley, roses, hydrangeas, sweet peas, pink peonies, delphinium and stocks.
Nikki says she loves ‘generosity in colour, texture, scent and scale’ and specialises in an English aesthetic which is all about huge blowsy flowers in hand-tied groupings. She insists flowers be displayed in full bloom ‘that’s what’s sadly lacking in a lot of companies that sell flowers — they send them still in bud, so you don’t get that wonderful scent and colour and texture.’
The company has adapted, post-lockdown, and now offers hand tied bouquets and even ‘tablescapes’ where the vases and candlesticks come along with the flowers.
Steal her style: Gather similar shapes; placing spherical blooms like big roses and peonies, or tall flowers like stocks and delphiniums together. ‘Start with foliage,’ she says. ‘Then add each flower at a right angle to the last, and twist the bouquet in your hand. As you add flowers, tie together with garden string.’
Bouquets from £40, wildatheart.com
THE FASHIONISTA FAVE
Founded by Simone Gooch, Fjura has clients including Hermes, Louis Vuitton and London Fashion Week
Fashionistas adore founder Simone Gooch’s minimalist style. Clients include Soho Farmhouse, London Fashion Week, Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, (not forgetting Nicole Kidman’s wedding bouquet).
Simone came from Sydney in 2015, bringing her floristry brand with her, and specialises in ‘impromptu freestyle arrangements’ — a typical display has a base of smaller flowers, such as pansies and grape hyacinths, with vivid poppies, orchids, peonies and ranunculus amid curling stems and clouds of meadowsweet.
Stand-out moments include a huge tablescape for a Sotheby’s annual dinner, where two long tables were dressed with red orchids, pink peonies and apricot sweet peas.
Fjura arrangements are sculptural and embrace less-is-more
Steal her style: Sculptural and less-is-more, a Fjura arrangement brings together the unexpected — think red roses and pink orchids. Go for simple shapes, different heights, and asymmetrical arrangements.
Simone recommends starting with the container, and basing your arrangement on its shape and colour. ‘Choose a vase with a smaller neck so you don’t need a lot to fill it,’ she says. ‘With a beautiful container, you just need one stem and it looks gorgeous.’
Gift flowers from £100, fjura.com