• Sandy Rose
  • Sandy Rose
  • Sandy Rose
  • Sandy Rose
  • Sandy Rose
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock
  • Tic Tock

By Kristen Toscano Messina

In celebration of spring, we decided to talk to some of our floral designers. These are the people who a Set Decorator relies on to provide some of the final details in just the right color and mood for a set. One day it may be a "Friend's" wedding, the next the perfect floral arrangement for dinner on an alien planet. These are the people who help tell the story in flowers.

We asked them all to respond to the same questions and here is what they had to say...

Q: What is your favorite flower?

"My favorite flower is, and has always been a gardenia. They evoke memories of my Mother's and Grandmother's gardens....they embody everything a flower should be: fragrant, delicate, cherished, fleeting and mysterious!" (Corrie Levelle of Sandy Rose Floral Design)

"'A rose by any other name'..Call me a traditionalist, but without shame my favorite flower remains the rose. 'The' is an understatement because the rose family has thousands of cultivars ... My favorite is SENSATION. A multi-flowered, caramel-y orange; with the most heavenly aroma. Mmmmm. (James Rainbow of Rainbows, Flowers & Fantasies)

"We adore peonies for their perfect roundness, their pinkness, their lushness, Casablanca lilies for their fragrance, French tulips for their disorderliness, orchids for their exotic shapes that lend drama and anthropomorphic strangeness, We love the delicate paper thin petals of Icelandic poppies, the deep brown velvet and aroma of chocolate cosmos." (Claudia Rovner of Dave's Flowers & Gift Baskets)

"Wild Sculptural Forced Forsythia in January, French Blazing Red & Yellow Parrot & "Niaomi" Pencil Tulips in Feb,Early Spring bulb flowers (hyacinth & narcissus) in March , "Venus" Peonies in April, Local Dutch tulips in May, Garden Roses in June & July, Zinnias and specialty dahlias in August, elegant but treaturous arching rose hips in September, "Antique"Hydrangeas in October, Bittersweet in November, Apple Green & Blood Red Skimmia & "Royal Velvet" & "Germa" Amaryllis in December." (Wendy Goidell of Wendy Goidell, Inc.)

"I think nature has given us so many beautiful blossoms, that each and everyone of them has it own beauty. I think my favorite of all time are roses for they different colors and varieties, hydrangeas for color and fluffiness,and cymbidium orchid for being unusual." (Eddie Zaratsian of Tic-Tock Designs)

Q: What is your favorite season?

"Fall for its fabulous colors and textures. I love Fall's leaves, berries, branches, mosses, vegetables as well as flowers...My co-favorite season, if there can be such a thing, is Spring. In spring we are able to get all the fabulous bulb flowers we don't see throughout the rest of the year. We can also get away with some color combinations that might be thought gaudy or too sweet at any other time of the year." (Corrie Levelle)

"Our favorite season is spring, because many of the bulb flowers are flowering branches in bloom. We find it so amazing to see pink trees, cherry and corral quince. We like to place just flowering branches in a vase this time of the year, and let the petals fall on the table. We feel a sense of renewal and rebirth. Our favorite holiday is Christmas, we enjoy using fresh flowers and fruit to create magical Christmas trees and décor…. the possibilities are endless. Imagine a Christmas tree, twinkling with red lights covered with a thousand black magic roses, or a gift box wrapped in origami paper and crude brown twine, ornament with a cymbidium orchid bloom…." (Claudia Rovner)

Q: What has been your most interesting project?

"We've been blessed to work with some of the best, and most interesting decorators in the business. Their talents and imagination inspire mine. One recent example: Mel Cooper called me with a proposition. 'I have a wedding reception," she told me, "and the flowers have to burn.' She added, sense of humor intact, 'Figure it out.' I love challenges like that! "(Mark Goin of Flower Art)

"...one of my favorite jobs of all time was on the soap opera, Guiding Light. ... a Bridal Fashion Show, whose inspiration was very Marie Antoinette. The scenery was very modern – funky rooftop garden, plexi and neon lit runway, the perfect foil for 'free-standing' 9 ft. arrangements of pampas grasses, tuberose, proteas, french tulips, feather plumes and of course, luscious 'cabbage' roses. For added drama we unified the arrangements with swags of pastel tulle and over-scale pearl strands. (See photo) Then, to whet any florist’s appetite; each bridal costume required its own specially designed bouquet!" (James Rainbow)

"...Grace's Wedding" on the show Will and Grace." (Eddie Zaratsian)

Q: What has been your most daunting project?

"...a reception & wedding ceremony scenes for "Twenty Eight Days"...there were so many things to make we had to start making them on Saturday AM and keep them perfectly open on Wed, Thurs. & Friday...it was 100 degrees outside I needed to work in an enormous refridgerator. All the designers came with sweatshirts and we worked inside the fridge for 4 days. " (Wendy Goidell)

Q: Current trends in flowers?

"Our job is to create florals that enhance a set and help define a character. We do our research. Who cares about the latest trends in flowers - unless, of course, either a set or character is, well, trendy." (Mark Goin)

"...Scandanavian and German floral designers are leading the way with designs incorporating lots of dried and preserved elements, even window screening and hardware cloth woven with industrial or organic items. These elements lend themselves to design in an area where the growing season is very short and the number of stems in any arrangement are very expensive and need to be featured and framed. The overall effect is very sculptural, unlike anything that mainstream American flower fanciers are used to." (Corrie Levelle)

"Current trends lean towards bunching one type and one colour of flower, usually in neutral colours of whites, creams, greens, or the darker brown to black-red tones; massing them in clear-glass, clean lined vases. These designs complement todays’ Fung Sui, Mid-Century Mod, and Bauhaus Moderne decors that are popular. Simple, clean, and lovely!" (James Rainbow)

"…minimal, clean arrangements of flowers, like a dozen parrot tulips or bloom red amaryllis in a vase filled to the rim with gray-green river rock... Bubble bowls of roses, garden lisianthis, English stock, tulips and hydrangea; romantic, full, monochromatic arrangements are also popular. Perhaps the unifying trend... that these distinctive styles share is an emphasis on uncommon and unusual flowers, and the best quality available." (Claudia Rovner)

Q: What never seems to go out of style?

"A dozen roses arranged in a vase." (Corrie Levelle)

Q: What do you wish would go out of style?

"A dozen roses arranged in a vase! "(Corrie Levelle)

Q: Inspiration?

"...anything and everything. A painting can often inspire me, so can a piece of music, a yard of fabric, a container, a certain flower or even a trip to the hardware store or produce department. I gain inspiration from a Set Decorator's excitement for a project or a storyline or an historical period." (Corrie Levelle)

"The wonderful thing about Floral Design is there are so many exotic flowers: proteas from New Zealand, parrot tulips from Holland, orchids from Thailand, dahlias from New Jersey (!) ...a cornucopia of shapes, textures, colours... (James Rainbow)

"... we are inspired by grand things like a walk through a landscaped botanical garden and smaller, more urban sights like the tiny red petals of a geranium as it strains to grow up, over, and through a silvery chain link fence. We are constantly amazed by color and shape and we try to find beauty in the unexpected... we are inspired the most when we pay attention to detail." (Claudia Rovner)

Thanks to:
Claudia Rovner of Dave's Flowers & Gift Baskets davesflowers@aol.com / tel. 323-666-4391

Mark Goins of Flower Art flwrartset@aol.com / tel. 310-273-3370

James Rainbow of Rainbows, Flowers & Fantasies rainbows@bestweb.net / tel. 212-727-0478

Corrie Levelle of Sandy Rose Floral Design www.floraset.com / info@floraset.com / tel. 818-555-1212

Eddie Zaratsian of Tic-Tock Designs www.tictock.com / eddiez@earthlink.net / tel. 323-874-3034

Wendy Goidell of Wendy Goidell, Inc. tel. 212-362-6168