There’s a chance you’ll come home with a floral arrangement the next time you go shopping for a handbag (or a sofa). Retail stores have a new best friend: the flower shop-in-shop concept, thanks to a design zeitgeist that’s currently flooded with florals (during this month’s NYC fashion week alone, designers Jason Wu, Ulla Johnson, and Tory Burch all had major floral installations at their shows), and thanks to a design zeitgeist that’s currently flooded with florals (during this month’s NYC fashion week alone, designers Jason Wu, Ulla Johnson, and Tory Bur
“Because we live in such a visual environment now, [flowers] are being given in a different context than they used to be.” Anyone can design a photo to their liking and then post it in this very public space. “Now there’s a bit more unique individuality coming through, and that’s enabled for flower design to be perceived in a different light—and for more of this type of collaborative creative processing to happen,” says Brittany Asch, creator of Brrch. In 2016, Asch worked with Mansur Gavriel to open a flower shop inside its Wooster Street headquarters, which she continues to curate. Asch is the collaborator behind accessories and fashion designer Mansur Gavriel’s singular, floral-heavy identity. Mansur Gavriel expanded their concept to the West Coast this week, launching a 2,500-square-foot store on Melrose Place in Los Angeles (complete with a homewares market and a café) where you can browse poppies and proteas alongside their merchandise.
Emily Thompson, a floral designer, recently opened her shop inside the new Roman and Williams Guild New York—a European-inspired café-marketplace-interiors store that Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch originally envisioned as a shop for their furniture—and she has a unique perspective on the industry’s deep love of flowers. “I believe there is a fantasy about being surrounded by [flowers], and I believe that’s what’s going on at Guild—supposed it’s to happen there.” You can buy something from the flower store or not, but you still get it for the time you spend drinking your tea and being on the premises. “I believe that’s enlightening,” Thompson adds.
Despite the fact that Guild was originally intended to be a furniture store, Standefer and Alesch, both experts of fantasy design, opted to place the flower shop right in the front. “When you walk in, there’s this riot of color and flowers that’s almost an installation, but there’s also something incredibly simple about it that makes you smile.” Standefer, who intended the shop to feel like a home, says, “It’s so amazing for that to be the first moment.” Thompson’s flowers reach far beyond her jewel-box-sized boutique, where her sculptural designs are tastefully positioned around Guild, acting as both décor and inspiration for guests.
Another Soho venue, just a few blocks away, has created a dedicated flower room that, like Roman and Williams Guild, aims to offer an all-encompassing experience. The RealReal, an online consignment retailer, sought out floral designer and Fox Fodder Farm founder Taylor Patterson when it established its first brick-and-mortar location late last year. “We adore Taylor’s more architectural approach to flowers. Rati Levesque, chief merchant at The RealReal, adds, “Her instructional approach to her displays also fits perfectly with our objective of developing an engaging community within our store.” Patterson says that this engagement extends to the Internet: “People come in and buy a stem here and there, but basically, it’s an Instagram photo op—they’ll take a shot and that’s their moment.” It’s difficult to resist a Japanese ranunculus.
Sézane, a French fashion company, has partnered with Flower Girl NYC to host a series of monthly in-store workshops focusing on using seasonal blooms in Nolita. Spring floral arrangements, flower crowns, and terrarium construction are among the upcoming classes.
Is all of this flower conversation making you want to bring some into your own home? With advice from three of New York City’s most sought-after florists, we’ve got you covered:
“[Mansur Gavriel] sells wonderful Murano glass vases as well.” I would strongly advise purchasing a vase and a single stem. “At that point, you don’t have to do anything—all the job is done for you.” Brrch, Brittany Asch
“Branches are long-lasting, make a significant impact on your area, and are often grown locally” (there are so many good things about that). Give them a new haircut, make sure they have fresh water, and keep them out of the sun for maximum longevity.” Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers, Emily Thompson Flowers
“Keep it simple, and keep it seasonally appropriate.” You don’t need a lot of flowers to make a statement. Going someplace and picking a few really lovely stems will give you the same pleasure as a big bouquet.” –Fox Fodder Farm’s Taylor Patterson