Think fresh flowers as a fashion accessory, says Julie Earle-Levine
FT, May 21, 2004
By now, anyone who's ever picked up a fashion magazine knows the idea this spring/summer is to recreate, via print and cloth, as closely as possible, the look of this week's Chelsea Flower Show. Be a rose! Grow lilacs from your shoulders! Splash out on spirilium!.
Well, apparently many are saying: fie to all that. Why settle for a vibrant copy when you can have the real thing? (ok, they don't last very long, but ignore such practicalities for the moment). The floral explosion has extended to fresh flowers as a fashion accessory, à la handbags and shoes.
Nicole Kidman has been wearing flowers (in particular, gardenias), a lot lately because they remind her of summer in Australia, but lots of ordinary folk have picked up on the same fragrant idea.
Example: Rebecca Widness, a travel publicist who spends time in Hawaii and recently returned to New York with a tan and a tuber rose tucked behind her ear to meet friends for drinks. "It just makes you feel like you are on holiday," she says.
Similarly, Carole Klein, a true southerner (she has lived in Memphis for more than 50 years), has for years worn a creamy magnolia blossom in her hair.
Kimberly Perrone, owner of Bloom Flowers, a florist in Manhattan, believes flowers are becoming a fashion accessory as never before. "At the moment, the flower for New York is the orchid," she says. "The more exotic the better. A cymbidium, or wild orchids, are feminine, but also very sexy."
Perrone also recommends mixing traditional roses with purple orchids, hydrangeas or peonies for variety. Flowers should never compete with clothes, but add to the total look, she says.
Raquel Corvino, a New York florist whose clients include Julianne Moore, believes flowers are helping to revive "Old Hollywood glamour".
Large orchids "that are simple in texture, either white, or bright in colour, for contrast against the hair are popular", she notes. "One bold bloom is best, an orchid or gardenia."
In Paris, according to Karin Merchez at Christian Tortu, it's all about white and pink orchids to wear in the hair for special occasions. Recently, there has also been demand for blue orchids. Meanwhile, at Wild at Heart florists in London, women are ordering orchids and roses.
"We've had orders for white and pink orchids and did some pink for Naomi Campbell," said Venetia Nathan, a store manager. Roses are "very London" she said, but she hopes that sweet peas, "which are terribly pretty" might also be worn this spring.
In Hong Kong, Stella Ngai of Bloom and Blossom florists said single roses or orchids were popular for special occasions and to go to the horse races.
Flourish, a Sydney florist, reports women are ordering one large coral, or dusty pink dahlia to wear in their hair. For those more spontaneous Australian women, especially those who live by the sea (that is, more than half the country), frangipanis - which can be plucked off a tree, smell sweet and stay intact in the heat - are the flower of choice.
Info: Chelsea flower show:
www.wildatheart.comwww.christian-tortu.comRaquel Corvino, New York: (212) 255-0114Blooms and Blossoms, Hong Kong: (852) 2721 4851
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