By Jill Brooke
Bella Meyer’s “fleursBella” in New York City is a welcoming artistic studio.
In fact, she has a chair filled with flowers outside the shop doors with the sign, “Please take a flower.”
“Passerbys would call out their “Thank You’s” or children would cheer out loud with such delight having found a chair full of flowers,” says Meyer. “They would hold up the stems and announce who exactly they would. give them to when they returned home. The gift of receiving flowers, even a single stem, is an act full of romance and the sweetest of gestures.”
This whimsy and fun are so entwined in Meyer’s joie de vivre style.
After getting a Ph.D. in Medieval Art History in Paris, the granddaughter of artist Marc Chagall created a flower shop in 2005 to create “enchanted” garden-like arrangements that evoke fantasy and pleasure.
As Bella reveals, she “creates arrangements much in the way an artist paints” to express the sentiments of love, loss and possibility.
Instead of paint, she uses roses, ranunculus and lilies along with colorful twigs to create memorable landscapes and arrangements.
I met her while judging the Fleurs de Villes competition for Hudson Yards where she created a beautiful, autumnal, Central Park-themed display. “It’s inspired by a woman going to meet her lover in the park,” she explained. “She is bringing a basket with flowers and champagne.” How could you not love this sentiment? But flowers elevate all experiences and inspire not only fantasy but joy. Among the flowers used were a Baroness garden rose, cockscomb which was named for the red crest on a rooster’s head and a variety of orchids.
“Bella Meyer of Bella’s Flowers taught us to use bamboo stakes lashed together at right angles to create an asymmetric framework for our floral design to take shape from,” recalls Salvatore, noting how Meyer pointed out how her grandfather and his contemporaries at the Russian public art college he founded in Vitebsk, Russia valued “geometric angles and simplistic structural forms of the constructivism movement.”
Here’s an example of this philosophy where his granddaughter’s geometric forms create intrigue.
For this arrangement, she and her team used Gomphocarpus physocarpus, commonly known as hairy balls, balloon cotton-bush, bishop’s balls, nailhead, swan plant, or Moby Dick balls, a species of milkweed. Sultry and interesting, isn’t it?
Here were two other examples that show her use of various flowers that spark intrigue and floral contemplation. Notice the coral tones in the dahlia and calla lilies and the dyed eucalyptus. In the next image, the lavender roses mixed with the garnet-colored peony is equally as interesting.
In her hands, flower arrangements whether for a wedding or personal occasion have a signature feel. There is a wonderful combustion and cohesiveness of suspense, mischief and beauty.
As she recalls, she watched her grandfather Marc Chagall paint bouquets that brought joy to the world and now she works similar magic by doing it with live flowers. Although her work may not live in museums, her floral designs create memories that last a lifetime. Especially since her floral arrangements are not only enchanting but sultry and full of intrigue.
Of course, that isn’t a surprise. Bella is her name and it means beautiful.
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.