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What Happens When You Ditch Fashion for Flower Arranging

Flowers and fashion go hand in hand.

Flowers and fashion go hand in hand. Dior's Raf Simons famously covered the walls at his first haute couture show for the French house with over a million blooms, while Belgian designer and avid gardener Dries van Noten counts the flowers on his stunning 60-acre property as inspiration for his designs. But recently, actual floristry has come into play in the industry, with fashion pros leaving their day jobs to pursue it.

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Taylor Tomasi Hill, fashion mag vet and former creative director of Moda Operandi, stepped down from her position at the online retailer a little over a year ago. "After I left Moda, I started meeting with people, and as a thank you I would make miniature floral arrangements for a more personal touch," she told Fashionista via email in February. "All of a sudden, I hear that Honor Brodie [the creative director at Tory Burch] and others were passing on my information, and I was getting requests for my blooms. It's something I love and I found it quite therapeutic."

When she realized how popular the bouquets were, she launched TTH Blooms via fashion's favorite platform, Instagram. The street style star's talent for combining different patterns and textures as a stylist easily translated to her custom-made arrangements which feature ranunculuses, peonies, and daisies, many placed in mason jars wrapped with craft paper and finished with baker's twine. With orders swarming in from companies like Dior, Piperlime, and Zac Posen and prices averaging $250 per arrangement, she's built a viable business off her hobby. To top it all off, Tomasi Hill just partnered with Goop on its pop-up shop in Dallas.

A photo posted by @tthblooms on

But Tomasi Hill is hardly the only fashion insider-turned-florist. Prior to starting her floristry business Mariama, Kilee Hughes was the public relations director at Net-a-Porter. Hughes's background in PR helped lay the groundwork for her company. Between designing events and sending flowers as thank you gifts to editors, she had the opportunity to indulge her creative fantasies on occasion in her former role.

She describes her floristry style as something akin to organized chaos.

After leaving Net-a-Porter earlier this year, Hughes enrolled at FlowerSchool New York. The course requires students to take classes five days a week, followed by an internship with a reputable local florist; Hughes says it was an experience that provided her with the confidence to turn a personal interest into a profession. "After taking the courses," she explains, "I had a deeper appreciation for the time, skill, and physical strength that goes into creating an arrangement, big or small."

She describes her floristry style as something akin to organized chaos, mixing standout flowers with an organic approach to design. "Flowers were a childhood passion for me," she adds. "The beauty of nature and being creative was always celebrated in our home, and it really instilled a love of flowers in me."

The newest kid on the fashion florist block is Daniel Tyson, a senior account executive in the beauty division at BPCM, who began creating flowers for the PR company's events after higher-ups realized his special skill. Since launching La Fleur Garçon (French for "The Flower Boy"), a few months ago, he's teamed up on a flower stall with shaving brand Harry's and showcased his talents for Harper's Bazaar.

"I grew up helping in our garden and developed an appreciation for flowers."

"I grew up helping in our garden and developed an appreciation for flowers, but didn't start arranging anything until a few years ago," explains Tyson. "Things changed when my friend asked me to be her florist for her wedding, which I gladly accepted. The wedding was featured in Town & Country Weddings magazine, and they wanted to credit the florist. This is when I started to think about my own business. Slowly, through a few more side jobs, La Fleur Garçon started to form."

Tyson says he arranges by instinct: "I love specific flowers, such as peonies and roses, but I'm also really inspired by what's seasonally available. I also love the unusual textures of foliage and succulents, as well as the scent."

A photo posted by @bellefleurny on

While fashion florists are trending right now, they can all look to Meredith Perez as an example of how to do it right. Perez is the owner of Belle Fleur, one of the most popular and fashion-connected florists in New York City, who began her career as a designer at Calvin Klein after studying at Parsons. Perez's knowledge of couture construction, pattern-making, and fabrics inform her expertly devised arrangements, which have resulted in long-lasting relationships with designers and magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Vogue alike.

"The transition from fashion to florals was a seamless one."

"The transition from fashion to florals was a seamless one," says Perez. "I still love fashion and call on those roots as inspiration for my bouquet work. The lessons I learned in the industry and those endless design meetings with Calvin Klein has had a direct impact on all that I am today and the business decisions that I set for Belle Fleur. The vases selected, the floral choice, and the palette dictated are defined by the businesses that we represent. We do our homework and study the designers so that we can weave their style into ours."

Of course, it's helpful that fashion and flowers go together the way they do. "Take a sweet pea for example," she continues. "The ruffled silhouette of the petals mimics the gracefulness of cinched chiffon. With every flower and with every fabric or pattern, there are similarities and common threads. I remember my days interning with Oscar de la Renta, where bolts of fabric would arrive hand-painted with big, bold floral prints—as if Monet's garden was painted directly on the fabric. Fast forward to Carolina Herrera's spring 2015 collection, and huge parrot tulips are silkscreened on charmeuse. Art imitates nature."

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