Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.
Every spring, Meryl Streep's disparaging words from The Devil Wears Prada echo through my mind as people trade muted knits for flowing floral patterns, gardens begin to bloom, and my social feeds fill with spring-themed images.
It seems we are incapable of moving away from from the florals in spring trope, but who can blame us? Florals make us happy, and they project a romantic side for even the edgiest dressers. A floral dress paired with a pair of black combat boots is feminine with a don't-mess-with-me vibe that many jump to adopt. Prettiness beside practicability; style beside functionality.
I've never been able to settle on a favourite season. What I really love is the transition between seasons. This is especially true of spring (or rather, winter-to-spring), and I've found myself noticing it far more the past two years, spent as they were in partial or full lockdown and spending more time at home and in my own neighbourhood than ever before. I found solace in my daily walks in March and April of last year, watching as flowers began to bloom and grow again out of the literal dead of winter.
Our fascination with flowers isn't novel. We know that Ancient Egyptians made decorative floral arrangements and that lotus bouquets were a traditional offering to the departed. Ancient Greeks wore blossoms in garlands and wreaths and Renaissance painters became fascinated with capturing elaborate still lives of the new varieties of flowers being imported and discovered.
When you search "flowers" in Google Arts and Culture (one of my favourite places to glean inspiration, by the way), over 20,000 results immediately come up. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City alone has 25,352 references to "flowers" in its online catalogue. And today, we give flowers as a sign of love, friendship, congratulations, sympathy, or "just because".
I've enjoyed getting to know some of the varieties in my neighbourhood and find myself able to identify more when I wander. I certainly have a while to go, and my florist/gardening friends would laugh when I get excited about knowing what a hanging basket contains, but it's fun to learn new things!
Every year in late spring, I wish I had planned a floral shoot for when we have fresh flowers to work with. By the time I get around to it in between other work, the bright blooms are already fading and the time to post floral shoots has come and gone.
Not this year.
This year, I gathered together a small team including my childhood-friend-turned-makeup-artist Megan who I've had the pleasure of working with on a few creative shoots, and an emerging model from John Casablanca's agency in Vancouver, Tess K. We planned, organized, and were able to put together a beautiful creative floral shoot from my home studio.
We hope you enjoy this series of images dedicated to spring.
The calla lily was originally native to South Africa and Malawi and traditionally symbolizes innocence and purity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for "beauty" or "beautiful" , kalos.
Peonies (one of my favourite flowers) are said to symbolize romance, prosperity, and good fortune. They are native to China and are closely connected to luck - a full bush can predict good fortune, but having a peony bush with an odd number of blooms is considered back luck.
Our flower crown for this last look, made by MUA Megan, was created from her collection of dried pink. purple and cream roses. The pink rose symbolizes gratitude, appreciation, and gentleness.
Dried flowers were once thought to denote sadness or death, but now are recognized as a beautiful and innovative way to preserve floral arrangements.
I received a beautiful dried bouquet from a friend on my birthday 3 years ago and I still have it as a decoration in my home!
I hope you are able to enjoy some flowers this spring, and maybe finding this post is your sign to buy yourself a bouquet.
Keep enjoying florals in spring - I dig the cliché.