So, we’ve had two fairly sunny days, for anyone in the UK, that’s a sure fire sign that spring is here. This also means the return of adorable little lambs and FLOWERS. As you can tell from the title and the caps, we’re not discussing the cutie pie lambs today (sorry).
In a twist of fate, one of these sunny days saw the arrival of my monthly Elle subscription, which was accompanied by the first of its kind – an insert mag called Elle Flowers. Spring definitely wanted to be heard, and it worked, as I love flowers. I must admit that I don’t know all the ins and outs, and I don’t have one particular favourite, but there is something about these stunners of the foliage world, that just screams out to me.
This beautiful 75-page publication – that includes images of dissected flowers, looking so pretty I could frame them – made me think about just how much these peace and love proprietors are often underestimated and under appreciated (by me anyway), despite being massive impacts on all of my favourite industries.
When I hear the word flower, I think of nice bouquets dotted around the house giving that spot of life and colour. But that’s not even the half of it, we’re talking fashion, accessories, beauty, fragrance, skincare, art, interiors, furniture, crockery, and even the vases to put them in are becoming an ornamental force to be reckoned with.
I remember a childhood of pressing flowers, making crowns and arranging centrepieces. This little mag has all the ways you can take these childhood memories and turn them into oh-so-stylish adult decorations.
You can’t make it through a spring/summer in fashion without someone presenting you with some kind of floral accent. As sarcastically stated by Miranda Priestly: “Florals? For spring? Ground breaking.” Personally, I am not big on girly, ditzy flowers covering my clothes, they’d have to take on a more graphic design – which thanks to the myriad of talent out there, is no longer that hard of a feat.
High fashion houses have noticed the allure of flowers for decades. To this day certain types are associated with different designers because of their ample usage. Christian Dior held a fondness for lily of the valley. Considered lucky in France, he was often known to hide them in the hems of skirts to bring luck before shows. Protégé Raf Simons erected walls and walls of flowers for his debut Dior show in 2012 (totes the OG flower-wall-king, before the Kardashian’s came along).
Interestingly the camellia, which blooms only briefly in winter and has no smell whatsoever, was the flower of choice for none other than Coco Chanel. She was often seen sporting this delicate beauty as a corsage on her lapel or in her belt. Homage to Ms Chanel’s fave can be seen in many ensembles, most notably a 2005 couture wedding gown by Karl Lagerfeld – head to toe camellias.
Phillip Treacy, milliner to the stars, has a penchant for orchids so big he now has one named after him, discovered in Taiwan. You only have to look at a handful of Treacy’s hats to see how doted to flowers he really is. It only seems fair the man gets his own white petal, fuchsia spotted number.
So really, everyone but me has a flower of choice (I best get thinking). Dolce & Gabbana love a classic red rose, Dries Van Noten use lots of tropical yellow numbers, Comme des Garcons go the whole hog with 3D petal inspired layering, Erdem sprinkles on millions and Balenciaga takes inspiration from the old fashioned.
I’ve also been introduced to some amazing artists that use these exquisite blossoms as their muse. Tokyo-based haute couture bouquet seller (yes, that’s a real job) Azuma Makoto, quite literally takes his bouquets to places they wouldn’t normally go. From the deepest depths of the ocean, to launching arrangements into space, there is no place too far for this man’s flowers. Back on the ground, Makoto still has to bring something unusual to his work, like the hauntingly beautiful exhibition of flowers encased in blocks of slowly melting ice.
San Francisco-based, Tiffanie Turner interprets the nature completely differently. Studying each type of flower so closely before recreating them sculpturally in paper. The best part, she often makes them ten times larger than their original size – making them part of the environment that can no longer be overlooked.
Then there’s the genius idea that is guerrilla florists, a concept I definitely think should be initiated in every concrete jungle out there. Lewis Miller from New York and Geoffroy Mottart from Brussels, are two big names that prize themselves in stuffing selections of gorgeous flowers into public bins and the heads of statues. Giving dreary towns and cities that burst of colour, they so desperately need.
Another thing the publication introduced me to that I find so fascinating, is floriography or rather, the “Language of Flowers”. I’ve always known there has been some meaning behind giving people different types of flowers and in different colours, but I didn’t realise it was quite so confusing, until I read Elle Flowers. In this day and age it probably doesn’t matter so much. Roses are romantic, and getting someone flowers in general is a really nice thing. Right? Well, as Elle describes it, the sending of flowers back in the day was like the sending of emojis right now.
The hardest part of flower communication is that a lot of the same flowers have been interpreted very differently. A yellow carnation is said to represent rejection and contempt, orange lilies and basil, hate. Cyclamen however, could mean either farewell or a dedicated heart… you’d hate that one to be interpreted wrong. Myrtle is traditional for royals to have in their wedding bouquets, it symbolises love, and grows on their very own property in the Isle of Wight… so Meghan should be with sprig come May. Tulips apparently say a lot, with each colour being completely different – yellow ones represent happiness and warmth, purple ones symbolise peace and spirituality. There are so many interesting meanings and histories of how flowers have received their interpretations – I’m really considering getting myself a book on the subject.
All in all, thank you Elle, for feeding an interest in me I wasn’t even aware I had. And guys, take no notice of Miranda Priestley (pretty sure that was the moral of the story anyway) and give these lil’ hippies the love they deserve. Whether they’re on your body, in your house or on your wall, let’s make this spring the most brightly coloured, flower-power appreciated one yet!