By Jill Brooke
The Fleurs de Villes girls, Tina Barkley and Karen Marshall, pulled off another success with 26 pop-up flower installations and sculptures decorating the Bal Harbour shopping area in Miami, Florida.
The cameras were clicking and the smiles were beaming as the public oohed and ahhed over the creative talents of some of Florida’s most inspiring floral artists interpreting the theme of supporting breast cancer research. In fact, Bride Candy’s extraordinary peacock with feathery soft pink plumes became the go-to place for Instagram moments.
Along with Ross Johnson from Rosaprima, Jules Lewis Gibson from Florists’ Review and Olga Ramirez from JetFresh flowers we were asked to judge the winners in the categories of Best of Show, Most Realistic and Most Original.
In the category of Most Realistic design, Gilded Group Decor created this mannequin sponsored by Chopard. The judges loved the intricacy of the braided bodice. Many artists chose to use rose petals or pressed orchids, but this braided bodice was simple and elegant as was the flow of the dress.
Furthermore, the floral mannequin was adorned in a gorgeous rose necklace and earrings that delighted the senses. Also gaining raves was how she was next to a rose tree that brought the message of rejuvenation. Notice how the bottom of the skirt before it expands. has breast cancer ribbon designs done with greenery.
Artists get inspiration from many sources. I loved how Luxury Design Miami looked at this Lafayette 148. jacket and built the whole concept around it. The strips of greenery used in the poncho pants – which is trending – were so inspired and this outfit felt modern and fun. Another inside detail was how the artist had cascading orchids held together by water tubes. around the sculpture. Finding water sources to keep the floral sculptures intact for a week is a challenge and many use water tubes like these – but they are often hidden. It also shows you the painstaking amount of work to craft each sculpture. since each flower is individually placed.
Dvine Creations created this beauty whose lovely headpiece was made with vanda purple orchids and tendrils of amaranthus. So pretty and also liked the plunging neckline that was delicate and stylish. A necklace was made to match it with similar sheer pearlized leaves. Really loved this. It was both soft and elegant mixing the pale lavender and pink roses with the sky blue hydrangeas – something you can do in your own gardens. And the pocketbook made of moss and decorated with dyed blue leaves was so charming.
In the category of Most Original design, the winner was Hayal Flowers sponsored by the Fisher Island Community which raised $1.4 million to help those impacted by the pandemic. And here they are sponsoring a floral sculpture since flowers have been such a soothing comforting elixir to so many this year.
Wearing a modern jumpsuit and a skirt made of colorful tropical palms, lush roses and anthurium, it was also accessorized with a pearl necklace of white hypericum berries. The rainbow of multi-colored blooms infused in this creation was like a kaleidoscope of good karma and the headdress was also happy and chic.
Notice the detail of how she is looking at the mirror which the artist said is a message to encourage appreciating and reflecting on life this year no matter what comes your way.
A runner-up was this design created by Petal Productions and sponsored by David Yurman. It was indeed futuristic and used dyed soft colored grasses in the fluffy dress and was equally creative with the spiky jacket and headdress. But I’m a flower girl and still gravitate towards lots of flowers. Others really liked it.
In the category of Best in Show, Aniska Creations won for this fab floral dress with a zebra print top made of preserved fern in black and white – that matched the shoes. Her skirt complimented the animal print with hot pink roses that were finished with step grass to emulate the appearance of ostrich feathers. Cool right? This was done for Neiman Marcus. Those zebra heels are fab too. Also liked how this mother-daughter team inverted a rose as an earring. Nice touch don’t you think?
Of all the shows I’ve judged, this was very difficult to choose a winner and it was a group decision. Thus I will also share my personal favorites that didn’t necessarily make it to the judge’s circle but are winners by any standard.
When struggling with challenges, one needs a loyal companion. Alejandro Figueira created this floral dog sculpture with a variety of grasses. The furry dog became a companion to the mannequin who is inspired by a family member who fought breast cancer. Her bodice is made of fluffy white rose petals which was one of my favorite bodices in the show. The doggie collar is made of berries. Though in retrospect, the dog could have had more distinctive touches on the face but definitely was very popular at the show.
And we all know that one of the emotional triggers for people suffering from the disease is when one loses their hair. Check out how A Lavish Event’s Raphael Lopez and Harrison Gabor created a blowdryer out of dried bunny tail and moss to tell a story. In this sculpture, they used coconut husk to illustrate new growth of hair arriving and then a crown of hair blooming out of the scalp to show how a better tomorrow is around the corner. Loved the use of coconut shells as well in the dress and the dark calla lilies and garnet roses. The only critique is that I wasn’t such a fan of the magenta with red – but that’s a personal peeve. I would have preferred yellow flowers to match the red which would have trumpeted spring.
Another jaw-dropping exhibit was this one from La Feterie sponsored by Whispering Angel. The blue hydrangeas at the bottom were used since the company’s farm Chateau d”Esclans is lined with rows of memorable blue hydrangeas.
The hundreds of roses in the skirt were of different sizes, small, big, white ivory and pink, to reflect how everyone can be affected. The dress was glamorous with its design but the wings were purposely expansive. After all, we need angels in our lives to get through any challenge as we also need on occasion a nice sparkling glass of rose or champagne.
Speaking of drinks, because Hendrick’s Gin has notes of red roses and cucumbers, floral artist Casaflor made this mannequin with dark red roses and also created a gin bottle out of moss. Though it felt a bit dark for spring.
Other worthy mentions and beautiful displays include the following.
Ines Naftali’s mannequin was sponsored by De Beers and the floral artist had the mannequin looking at her hand as though she was bejeweled. She used a variety of roses and said this was inspired by a garden of eden sensibility. I just thought it was boho chic.
Oscar Mora created a mini dress crafted from baby breath flowers – which last a long time and are so pretty – as well as feathery details on top. His concept was having flowers flow from the vase – since Lalique was his sponsor – and naturally, there were many orchids which is his signature. However, would have liked a little orchid as a hat feature perhaps. But the focus was on the concept of flowers overflowing from a vase. Liked that he created a minidress which is why judges liked his work for the most realistic design category.
St. Germain created a pant outfit. This was sponsored by Diptyque The eucalyptus leaves and greenery were so lush. Did like how the pantsuit matched the hat but the drape of the leaves obscured too much of the outfit. Just a few inches less and more outfit would be my preference. But still so beautiful and dramatic.
Ovando went for the colors of Florida in soft peach and green which was glam and chic. Not sure about the hat though some thought it futuristic. Liked the bracelet detail too. How amazing though was that skirt just blooming with flowers in such a nuanced but impactful way.
Last but not least, another favorite was this flamenco-inspired creation by Simple Florals for Adrienne Arsht Center. Oh, this just made people want to dance in the aisles. Just look at all the details and imagine how many flowers were weaved and twisted to create any of these artistic sculptures.
She also had a beautiful necklace replicated with grass and dyed black mossy balls. And the skirt, with its overflowing layers of fire engine red roses, pink-tinted white orchids and bright leggy purple stocks was truly extraordinary and my runner up for best in show.
Because great design is not something that only delights the eyes, it should provoke contemplation and have an attitude and story.
Though of course, we should all be our own kind of beauty and these floral sculptures remind us of so many possibilities.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.
Photo Credits: Flowerpowerdaily