When it comes to designing impressive flowers for holidays parties, never underestimate the energizing power of red. On-trend shades of exotic hot reds are slated to intensify in 2017. Follow the bold lead of fashion and use red to create dramatic events for your most discerning clients.
A fashionable client once commissioned floral designers Carolyn Shepard AIFD and the late Randy Baehre AIFD of Carolyn Shepard Wedding and Event Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, to dress a party in red inside a tent in the client’s backyard.
“This was a party that our client threw for her friend who owns a local women’s couture clothing store in celebration of the store’s anniversary,” says Carolyn. “Forty guests. Members of the national fashion press were in attendance. Vogue. Vanity Fair. WWDaily (Women’s Wear Daily), etc.”
Consider using the following decorating tips to create bold fashion-forward holiday themes for your clients.
The famous red room
“Our client wanted the party to have the same feeling as Diana Vreeland’s red room,” explains Carolyn. If you’ve ever seen photos of the former Vogue editor-in-chief s Manhattan apartment, you’ll notice how Carolyn and Randy replicated details of the Paris-born fashionista’s style in their designs.
The late Vreeland wanted her apartment “… to be a garden, but it had to be a garden in hell.”
According to a 1975 Architectural Digest article about the apartment, “But quite aside from the flamboyant scarlet-flowered cotton of the walls and curtains of the living room, there is undeniably an abundance of the color red: red carpets, red-lacquered doors, closet linings, and picture frames.”
While the “garden in hell” statement and resulting decor may seem dramatic, so was the ‘red room’ Carolyn and Randy created in the party tent where they replicated Vreeland’s legendary style.
Three adages for designing with red
These three adages seem to be the perfect advice for this impressive event and for creating your own.
1. When in doubt wear red
“Red is the great clarifier – bright, cleansing, revealing,” Vreeland said. “It makes all colors beautiful. I can’t imagine being bored with it. It would be like becoming tired of the person you love.”
Carolyn and Randy used a magical monochromatic mix of roses, garden roses, amaryllis, ranunculus, carnations, gerbera daisies and tulips in varied shades of red. Mountain laurel, bittersweet and hydrangea were used to base the copious arrangements designed in OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife.
What other red holiday flowers could work for this type of floral alchemy? Orchids, lilies, mini callas, berries, hypericum, gladiolus, carnations, dahlias, anemone, alstroemeria, celosia, amaranth, red aspidistra leaves and if you’re willing to pay out-of-season prices, peonies.
2. Don’t stop ‘till it’s over the top
It’s been said that “Less is more’ everywhere else, but ‘more is more’ in the South.”
For this chic Charlotte soiree, even the ceiling was incorporated into the decorated space. says Carolyn. “We draped the ceiling, walls and tables in different shades of red, black cherry and garnet.”
In addition, they literally rolled out the red carpet for guests by carpeting the entire floor in red.
“Randy designed Bittersweet and mountain laurel chandeliers that were suspended above the guest table with hanging candles,” Carolyn explains. This created an intimate dining space within the lofty white tent.
3. The devil is in the details
To replicate a mirrored wall in Vreeland’s apartment, one entire length of the 30 by 60-foot tent was mirrored floor to ceiling and decorated with a 60-foot long floral and berry valance made in a row of OASIS RAQUETTES® Holders, says Carolyn. Cable ties were used to secure the Raquettes to the tent structure for support.
RAQUETTES® come in 18, 27 and 36-inch lengths. This is a great mechanic for designing holiday flowers on mantles, tablescapes, church altars, wide windowsills, wedding arches and columns.
Carolyn and Randy added a bit of Vreeland’s theatrical flair with soft candlelight. The juxtaposition of sleek ivory candles placed in elegant silver candlesticks amongst round flower bouquets in and beneath elongated silver trumpets and a flow of flickering ivory votive candles highlighted the dark-hued tablescape.
Red Chiavari chairs upholstered in leopard print added to the wild and natural vibe of the intensely decorated table.
Worth the investment of time and talent
To accomplish this labor-intensive project, Carolyn and Randy needed a profusion of sketches, procurement lists, detailed worksheets, well-planned schedules, endless buckets of flowers and baskets of red fruits. The resulting décor was well worth their investment of time and talent.
Flowers have the ability to give instant pleasure to a recipient in a way that few things in life can. Known for using bold color and a touch of drama, Diana Vreeland is remembered for establishing magical moments with trends that have stood the test of time.
What memorable events can you create using on-trend and dramatic red flowers this holiday season?
What other powerful ways can red flowers be used? See these pins – pinterest.com/sharonmcgukin/red-flower-power