By Jill Brooke
In honor of Women’s History Month, the gals at Fleurs de Villes launched the Bal Harbor Shops Florida show with the clever and educational concept of “FEMMES.”
Floral artists were asked to create floral mannequins inspired by iconic women such as Audrey Hepburn, Billie Jean King, Caroline Astor, Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo, Gloria Estefan, Izumi Okunj, Jane Austen, Joan Didion, Katherine Graham, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Anne of Great Britain, Sarah Bernhardt and Grace Kelly, who was also a source of inspiration for the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2019.
These incredible artists interpreted them with thousands of orchids, anthurium, pale pink lush roses along with tall delphiniums in ivory and cobalt blue. Then there are the magenta carnations and chrysanthemums and layers and layers of baby’s breath pasted on bodices for dramatic effect and oodles and oodles of cascading hydrangeas and roses in a rainbow of hues. It really does make you swoon. And you can’t help but love how the golden billy buttons are used to make button embellishments and dyed eucalyptus leaves and ferns add inspired details.
Here is the line-up of floral artists interpreting iconic women and some stories behind the installations. Enjoy.
Aniska Creations, who won first prize at last year’s show, continues to impress with this interpretation of Audrey Hepburn from the movie, “My Fair Lady.”
“Audrey Hepburn was the embodiment of pure joy and her radiant spirit lives on through her movies and humanitarian legacy,” notes Barkley. “The style icon looked as chic and glamorous in a Givenchy gown in Sabrina as she did in Capris and ballet flats. During her storied career, Hepburn was one of only a few actresses to win an Emmy, Tony, Grammy and an Academy Award.” And she spent the rest of her life also championing humanitarian efforts for UNICEF.
Writers, journalists and editors were very much represented in this interesting line-up including Maya Angelou, my favorite poet, Jane Austen, Joan Didion as well as Oprah Winfrey and the great Katherine Graham who bravely led the Washington Post when she inherited the paper turning from a self-described wallflower into a trailblazing fearless publisher.
Says Barkley, “this incredibly detailed floral embodiment of the once most powerful woman in journalism, Katharine Graham, was created by @primroseflorals.” This interpretation was from the iconic Black and White Ball held on November 28, 1966, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Hosted by author Truman Capote, in honor of Graham, it is one of the most legendary parties in history.
Graham was the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, the first female newspaper publisher in the US, and the first woman elected to the board of the Associated Press. Under her watch, the Washington Post became the most influential newspaper in Washington, and one of the most powerful in the country. She had the courage to allow her reporters – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein- to challenge President Nixon and lead to his resignation for Watergate. She also energized the style section showing that fashion, flowers and entertaining were also to be viewed as art forms.
Oprah Winfrey, who we will always have a soft spot for in that she gave Flowerpowerdaily’s mission to bring joy, wisdom and beauty through flowers a full-page shout-out in her magazine when we first started, was reimagined by @petalprod.
Oprah’s accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today. A trailblazer for Black women in the media, she founded her own TV station, Oprah Winfrey Network, as a joint-venture at the pinnacle of a business career that broke hundreds of boundaries. Purple is also her favorite color and these alliums and orchids are just fab.
Writer Joan Didion is interpreted by @bloominescent_.
Joan Didion was a celebrated American writer and essayist known for her works detailing the 1960s and ’70s counterculture in California. Her observational yet seemingly personal writings touched readers globally while maintaining a uniquely American voice. When her husband and daughter died, she used her talents to mine grief and resilience which connected her to a whole new generation of readers.
Taking inspiration from the colorful and inspiring life of Maya Angelou, @lechatroses has created this beautiful floral tribute. She truly is my favorite poet and these two observations inspire millions.
1. “You may not control the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
2. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And now this installation will inspire many as well.
And for anyone who enjoys costume dramas, the queen that created these stories was Jane Austen, interpreted by Petunia’s Flowers. There is only pride and not any prejudices in this lovely installation.
Entertainers represented include Gloria Estefan interpreted by Luxury Flowers Miami as well as Jennifer Lopez whose floral artists were Plan Design Events.
Look at the anthuriums on the dress hem of Gloria!!
And the lush greens in Lopez’s ensemble.
From her start in 1991 as a fly girl dancer on ‘In Living Colour’, Jennifer Lopez has entertained as a singer, dancer, actor, businesswoman and a champion of dreams.
And here are other notable installations –
Billie Jean King by @jassiandcocreative.
During her ground-breaking career in tennis in the 1960s and 1970s, King was the #1 woman’s player for a total of six years and won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 20 at Wimbledon. Both on and off the court she has been a tireless advocate for gender equality and social justice.
A stunning floral-take by @anthologyco on one of the most well-known female painters of modern times, Frida Kahlo is bound to get many admirers. Museums around the world get upticks in attendance for any show using her works. This can be seen at the @ritzcarltonbalharbour as well as another interpretation @ritzcarlton Mexico City which pays homage to Kahlo, and the Mexican Surrealist movement in its colorful decor.
Frida Kahlo is famous for her ground-breaking self-portraits that explored her own life and death as well as the role of women in society. Her celebration of unconventional beauty (for example, her unibrow) was ultra-progressive for the time, and she took to wearing traditional embroidered Tijuana-style Mexican dresses and elaborate hairstyles.
Another cultural icon is Izumo no Okuni, known for inventing Kabuki, a classical style of theater and dance, at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1867), a time of great artistic and cultural development in Japan. This installation was created by @andresaguilardesigns.
Forming her own troupe of female performers in 1603, Okuni’s style of dance-dramas, given the name Okuni Kabuki, soon took the city of Kyoto by storm. Okuni’s dramatic and enticing style lives on today in the costumes, make up, and plotlines of Kabuki theater.
Overall, this was indeed one of the most memorable shows the Fleurs de Villes produced with wonderful stories spanning generations of inspirational women.
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 and floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and a contributor to Florists Review magazine.
Photo Credit: Veronica Castillo from By Veronica Photography