feature designs

in design 2007

Sixteen industry notables share their insights on new directions in floral design for the year ahead.

To help you keep your shop and your floral designs fresh and updated, we asked 16 industry luminaries to identify current directions in floral design for 2007. Their insights can help you develop, or at least consider, a few new options to offer your customers throughout the year.

flowers and floral materials
Elegant blossoms, especially those in classic neutral hues, stand out this year. “Orchids remain staples,” says Michelle Perry-White, aifd, of Double Oak, Texas, product development coordinator and trend forecaster for the Netherlands’ Burg Consultancy.

And callas, Gardenias and Gerberas have become “modern classics,” shares Maureen Welton, president and creative director for Eighteen Karat International Product Sourcing Inc., in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In addition, garden flowers, such as daisies, marigolds, tulips, Dahlias, peonies, sweet peas and garden roses, have a strong following with today’s consumers.

Flowers in pretty pinks and bold colors also have captured consumer interest. “One of the hottest flowers,” says style-setter Michael George of the eponymous Michael George Hybrid Custom Floral in New York City and Pound Ridge, N.Y., “is the ‘Coral Charm’ peony.” In the deeper hues, Mr. George cites miniature callas, tulips, chocolate Cosmos, ‘Black Beauty’ roses, burgundy Hypericum and several new intense-colored Oriental lily hybrids.

Floral design in 2007 will be as much about nonfloral botanicals and nonbotanical materials as it will be about flowers. Organic elements, including foliated and berried branches, grasses, pods, mosses, driftwood, stones and much more, have gained importance. “There’s definitely a renewed interest in drieds,” mentions Holly Money-Collins, AIFD, instructor and coordinator of the floristry program at City College of San Francisco.

The color commentaries we received this year spanned the spectrum, but here are several key color families in which much interest is focused.

NEUTRALS. At one end of the continuum is a sophisticated palette of neutrals, including handsome desert hues; luminous grays; and shimmering metallics (golds, coppers and silvers including platinum, which can trend toward gray this year), says notable industry trend watcher Rocky Pollitz, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, of Lake Arrowhead, Calif. “There is a range of beautiful muted neutrals and some mineral tones.”

Ms. Welton shares similar sentiments. “We’ll see subtle color combinations, such as butter yellow, sand and white, and concrete, taupe and silver,” she predicts.

PINKS. These hues are transitioning from soft pastels to deeper muted tones with added grays for 2007. Ms. Pollitz notes that period films such as Marie Antoinette and The Prestige may be influencing this vintage trend. Other pinkish palettes feature rich hues from midrange pinks to deep burgundy, often mixed with lavender.

RICH HUES. Bold-colored blossoms will remain in demand throughout 2007, according to J. Keith White, AIFD, design director for special-events company AANDK Productions in Houston, Texas. “Deep, rich plum or aubergine will be paired with fuchsia, and brown overtones will be lightened with mocha,” Mr. White suggests.

Several of our sources say that sleek, smooth textures have begun to emerge, a trend that is noticeable in home furnishings and accessories. Counterbalancing smooth textures, say other sources, is a renewed interest in both rich and rough textures, especially in fabrics but also, according to Matt Wood, AIFD, PFCI, of Alameda, Calif., in flowers such as Angelica, Celosia and Atriplex (saltbush). Rough texture is expected to be especially noteworthy in containers.

no frills
Floral designs are “cleaning up and paring down,” with just one or two stems or blossoms, little or no foliage and little or no ornamentation, says Bill J. Harper, AIFD, AAF, FAM, vice president of floral services for Stuppy Inc. and instructor/director for Stuppy Mid-America School of Floral Design in North Kansas City, Mo. “Arrangements are simple by design but classic by floral,” Keith White elaborates.

This exquisite assortment of premium orchids, including Oncidiums, Phalaenopses, Cattleyas and Japhettes, demonstrates the beauty of the “No Frills” aestahetic. The opulent blooms are simply gathered and laid into strikingly angled clear glass compotes.

MATERIALS: orchids from Orchids by Hausermann; Ascot Compotes from Accent Décor.

“They are simple, basic looks—with no foliages, ribbons or bows—that focus on flowers as objects of art.”
— Michael George Michael George Hybrid Custom Floral; New York, N.Y.

“It’s the luxury of austerity—simple designs made from luxurious flowers.”
— Maureen Welton Eighteen Karat International Product Sourcing Inc.; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

french confections
Drawing inspiration from the movie Marie Antoinette, this style is romantic, with some lavishness, perhaps even excessively so, in the use of florals and accessories. “Accessorizing with interesting accents still works,” Bill Harper assures.

This trio of exquisite bouquets, featuring combinations of garden roses, Hydrangeas, peonies and sweet Williams, in a confectionary palette, demonstrates the lavish grandeur of this trend. Ceramic vases emblazoned with engraved roses repeat the sumptuousness of the open rose blooms, and a cylinder vase, adorned with ribbon, is glamorously detailed with floral beads and cut crystals.

MATERIALS: peonies, Hydrangeas, Phlox, sweet Williams and roses (‘Yves Piaget’, ‘Pink Yves Piaget’, ‘Cream Piaget’, ‘Pierre Ronsard’ and ‘Sahara’) from Flower Transfer; Belle Vases from Accent Décor; Cylinder Vase from Syndicate Sales; Strong Pink Lomey™ Gems Flowers from Smithers-Oasis; Flower Bead Garland from Hill’s Imports Inc./Park’s Company; ribbon from Lion Ribbon.

“Romantic bouquets are finished with jewels and fine ribbon.”
— Holly Money-Collins, AIFD; City College of San Francisco; San Francisco, Calif.

“Huge, classical compositions with colors in layers of pinks and blues, accented by soft gold, illustrate a French/Versailles [aesthetic].”
— Kim Morrill, AIFD Silk Botanica; Brisbane, Calif.

"The major trend in the [United Kingdom] is glamour and elegance. It features gorgeous old-fashioned blooms massed without much foliage but very often accessorized with crystals, feathers and gorgeous bows.”
— Paula Pryke; Paula Pryke Flowers; London, England

popular mechanics
Formerly hidden mechanics, especially those that are non-organic, are now visible elements of design. Metals and metallic color palettes pair with this style, which has an industrial edge.

Sleek callas, with their modern-looking lines, are ideal for “Popular Mechanics” applications. Here, several groups strike elegant poses. In the center, they’re braced against the scaffolding of a metal flower grid, and in the glass containers, they’re supported by coils of silver wire or green glass ice.

MATERIALS: ‘Crystal White’ miniature callas from Flower Transfer; Hematite Flower Grid from Roost; Trapez glass vase (foreground) from Jamali Garden Supplies; glass vase (background) and Rectangular Votive from Syndicate Sales; Glass Ice from Accent Décor; Silver Aluminum Wire from Smithers-Oasis.

“Maintaining their popularity, the use of colored foams, decorative wire and similar accessories will evolve from blatant ornamentation to clever and functional mechanics.”
— Talmage McLaurin, AIFD; Publisher of Florists’ Review; Topeka, Kan.

“With clear glass vases filled with pebbles or stones and just a few stems of flowers, use floral materials that make a statement individually, such as callas, Sarracenias, stems of berries and flowering branches.”
— Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI; Carrollton, Ga.

“There is a trend toward the very industrial, with containers that look like screws, wing nuts and gears.”
— Rocky Pollitz, AIFD, AAF, PFCI; Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

objets trouvés
Based on the definition of this French term—“a natural object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value, especially through the working of natural forces on it”—organic materials have become works of art. Found natural objects, and those that appear to be so, combine with gathered branches, pods, grasses and dried materials. “Driftwood is huge,” shares Kim Morrill, AIFD, creative director for Silk Botanica in Brisbane, Calif.

The containers featured here have driftwood qualities although only one, in the background filled with collected feathers, is of wooden origin. The bowl and remaining vase are ceramic, treated with finishes that lend organic aesthetics. The vase, resting upon a cut agate, appears to have been rescued from the elements to hold a pair of massive bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia) leaves while the bowl contains a mix of dried pods, a found fossil and two sprays of fresh orchids in concealed water tubes.

MATERIALS: orchids from Orchids by Hausermann; wood vase from Mills Floral Company; ceramic bowl from Hill’s Imports Inc./Park’s Company; Nature Mix (in bowl) and pheasant feathers from Knud Nielsen Company; bird-of-paradise leaves from favorite supplier; ceramic vase from local potter; gourd, agate slab and fossil from private collection.

“There is a fascination with the primal forces of nature—a rediscovering of the rough and uncultivated wilderness where everything has its own mystic place. The use of coarse, natural materials helps us to experience the overpowering force of nature.”
— Holly Money-Collins, AIFD; City College of San Francisco; San Francisco, Calif.

“Just a few large leaves can make a dramatic statement.”
— Michelle Perry-White, AIFD; Burg Consultancy ; Double Oak, Texas

“Arrangements with no flowers at all are being featured everywhere. Instead of flowers, there are leaves, twigs, fruits and vegetables.”
— Rocky Pollitz, AIFD, AAF, PFCI; Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

opposites attract
Mixes of materials at opposite ends of the floral spectrum find a place in this style for 2007. The combinations defy conventional design training and wisdom, yet they have modern-day appeal. “We were taught that these products [such as tropical and garden flowers] don’t mix,” recalls Kim Morrill, “but today they’re totally acceptable.”

Proving Ms. Morrill’s theory, a pair of caramel-colored glass tumblers showcases exotic pincushions (Leucospermums), kangaroo paws, Cymbidium orchids and miniature callas mingling comfortably with garden spray roses, carnations and millet.

MATERIALS: ‘Quatre Coeurs’ and ‘Sahara’ roses, ‘Yellow Mozart’ miniature callas, kangaroo paws, peony centers and millet from Flower Transfer; glass Tumblers from
burton + BURTON; carnations, pincushions
and Cymbidium orchids from favorite suppliers.

“Create the element of surprise and interest with unconventional mixes of materials. Mix exotic flowers with more traditional and even garden varieties of flowers, making for that unexpected combination; colors and textures are the catalyst, the unifying elements, that make it all work.”

— Bill J. Harper, AIFD, AAF, FAM; Stuppy Inc. and Stuppy Mid-America School of Floral Design; North Kansas City, Mo.

“The natural elements of the earth continue to influence design, and balance is the key to all harmonious living. Utilize contrast and juxtaposition of materials.”
— Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI; Carrollton, Ga.

“Consumers’ desire to balance technology and nature results in interesting mixes of materials. Think healthy herbs and organic crops combined with exotic blooms like Banksias and Proteas.”
— J. Keith White, AIFD; AANDK Productions; Houston, Texas

applied art
Artistic weavings and braidings of floral materials, especially grasses and slender foliages, demonstrate artisanal skill and provide a handcrafted foil to graceful florals. “The use of foliages, branches and grasses is organic and textural,” Michelle Perry-White describes.

Inside a galvanized tray—which is filled with foam disguised by a layer of pebbles—tulips, pussy willows and fern curls are sculpturally composed. Handcrafted artistry is achieved with steel grass that is woven among the pussy-willow branches.

In the foreground, an organically inspired vessel, though made of iron, replicates barren branches and displays a botanical orb, crafted of slender blades of lily grass, on its metal boughs.

And in the sculptural bouquet, in which botanicals, including tulips, artichokes, pods and foliages are arranged in zones, various textures combine dramatically. Peacock plant (Calathea) leaves, artfully positioned inside the cylindrical glass vase with their backsides facing outward, impart an organic pattern to the sleek container.

MATERIALS: tulips from Flower Transfer; Galvanized Tray from Jamali Garden Supplies; Bronze Branch Flower Vase from Roost; cylinder glass vase from Accent Décor; artichokes, lotus pods, pussy willows, fern curls, Calathea leaves, lily grass and steel grass from favorite suppliers.

“Professional florists prefer arrangements that require style and design [skill], so we’re continuing to emphasize compositions in which our creativity can excel.”
— Christopher Norwood, AIFD; current president of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and vice president of Tipton & Hurst; Little Rock, Ark.

“Handmade objects convey the idea of emotionality and personal identification. Objects should be unique and authentic. In floral design, this is achieved when leaves, fibers, grasses or similar materials are knotted, woven, braided or interwoven.”
— Klaus Wagener; floral design director for BLOOM’s GmbH; Ratingen, Germany

“The use of botanicals is on the rise. This could include ornamental cut grasses, berries, sprouting branches or ‘vegetables’ such as artichokes, beans, peppers, etc.”
— René van Rems; René van Rems International; Vista, Calif.

graphic mass
A signature look at Michael George’s shops is what he describes as “graphic minimal,” which is an unembellished, non-ornamented look composed of lavish masses of one type of flower in one color family or a lavish mix of blossoms all in the same hue. In these examples, a bold palette is created with clustered Hydrangeas, sculptural callas and a mixed arrangement of Dahlias, carnations and callas. Patterned black-and-white vessels contribute to the graphic impact.

MATERIALS: miniature callas, Hydrangeas and carnations from Flower Transfer; tall round buckets from Bread and Budder Buckets; Helen Vase from Accent Décor; Dahlias from favorite supplier.

“The biggest trend at the moment is working monochromatically with a single color scheme and three or four interesting materials. My favorite color to use at the moment is deep purple, such as the black mini calla mixed with a matching dark purple leaf. My other favorite flower is the oxblood peony in a vase on its own. These deep, moody colors used on their own make a chic, sexy and edgy statement.”
— Colin Cowie; Colin Cowie Lifestyle; Los Angeles, Calif., and New York, N.Y.

“Monobotanical designs still have a strong presence, but multiple tints, tones and shades of the same color flower are used to create depth and interest.”
— Matt Wood, AIFD, PFCI; Alameda, Calif.

“Black is not a trend, it’s a classic; it’s here to stay. The trend is in pattern on pattern, motif on motif, black-and-white containers or vessels.”
— J. Keith White, AIFD; AANDK Productions; Houston, Texas

youthful expressions
Appealing primarily to teens and those in their early 20s, this offbeat, sometimes edgy style incorporates lots of vibrant colors, fun flowers and unexpected floral combinations, and all manners of “funky” accessories. The style is graphic with an experimental quality.

“The new ‘Rainbow’ rose, which is altered to display petals in all colors of the spectrum, generated tons of excitement at Holland’s 2006 Horti Fair,” reports J M.H. Schwanke, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, CMG, of JMHS Enterprises in Grand Rapids, Mich. He adds that this completely unconventional, unexpected product is just what teens seek in these spontaneous, “grab-and-go” products.

The unexpected is unequivocally achieved in these examples, which, surprisingly, utilize plastic foliage strippers inside the pyramid vases and as an alternative to ribbon. A ceramic cylinder also achieves the unexpected with a spontaneous combination of Anthuriums and steel grass.

MATERIALS: Gerberas from Flower Transfer; Pyramid Vases from Syndicate Sales; oval ceramic vase from Tribeca Potters; orange saucer from Jackson Pottery Ltd.; The Flower Strippers™ from Floral Marketing; Natural Bind Wire from Smithers-Oasis; Anthuriums and steel grass from favorite suppliers.

“A precise ‘youthful’ style is TBD—to be determined—because today’s youth are so reactive; everything moves so quickly in their lives. They like anything that’s unexpected. It’s cool because it’s so different.”
— Kim Morrill, AIFD; Silk Botanica; Brisbane, Calif.

“Today’s youthful looks are oftentimes reinventions of the old novelties but with a fresh twist and quirky new products.”
— Holly Money-Collins, AIFD; City College of San Francisco; San Francisco, Calif.

“Color is becoming stronger, and bright contrasts are back. Purple will combine with orange, and yellow will combine with pink; they’re bold combinations that pop!”
— René van Rems; René van Rems International; Vista, Calif.

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