L.E.A.F, the annual festival of flowers held in Manhattan, partnered with a series of fashion boutiques this year to mount a vibrant display of diverse florals across the Meatpacking District.
The event ran from Friday to Sunday and showcased the work of various floral designers in an effort to honor the resilience and dynamism of New York City. Set up like a local farmers' market, locals and visitors were invited to walk through the district to enjoy the unique arrangements of the different florists from the tristate area.
Brands including Hermès, Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, and Rag & Bone collaborated with the florists to craft creations specific to their particular aesthetics.
L.E.A.F founder Moira Breslin tells BAZAAR.com that her inspiration for the festival came from admiring all the great flower shows from around the world—but what makes this one different is that it also salutes "the grit, energy, and vigor of our city."
"It is a privilege to be able to work closely with the teams at Hermès, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Santa Maria Novella, Theory, Diane von Furstenberg, and so many others, pairing them with the city's best florists to reimagine their brands and collections through the art of floral design," she says.
Hermès partnered with McQueens Flowers, based in Manhattan's NoMad neighborhood.
"Community is essential to who we are as a brand, so for us to be able to participate in the second L.E.A.F event was important to us. Seeing everyone come together to combine fashion, food, and florals in a European-style market was a great way to kick off summer and celebrate our theme of the year, lightness," Hermès tells BAZAAR.
Outside its Meatpacking store, McQueens installed a series of ethereal white gypsophila floral arrangements that seemed to be floating, as well as a bubble machine to contribute to the sense of airiness and joy the French fashion house is moved by this season.
Theory also partnered with McQueens Flowers to create a living work of art featuring in-season blooms that served as inspiration for the brand's summer 2022 collection palette. These were yellow and orange eremuri, gladioli, snapdragons, peach foxgloves, cow parsley, solidaster, oncidium orchids, blue and purple delphinium, pink hydrangeas, agapanthus, peonies, and garden roses.
"Theory's foundation story is rooted in New York City, 25 years ago this year. As a nod to our roots and the city that still inspires us, Theory concepted a floral bodega complete with a stair-stepped buildout, awning, branded floral picks, and custom Theory newsprint wrappings," the brand tells us. "When we knew L.E.A.F would be returning to our home neighborhood for its second year, we were happy for the opportunity to participate prominently in the beauty of the weekend."
"Each installation was very different and unique to the respective brand. Theory came to us and asked us to create the world's most chic New York bodega, so it was very much their vision, and it was very fun to see it all come to life," McQueens Flowers creative director Emily Mathison says. "Hermès took a different approach, and we created these gorgeous clouds using gypsophila flowers, and even hid two bubble machines, to create a whimsical moment."
Diane von Furstenberg's floral creation perfectly mirrored the spring-summer collection's explosion of bright hues and joyful prints.
"At DVF, we love being involved in our community, and the Meatpacking BID does an excellent job of curating seasonal activities to bring a fresh variety foot traffic and tourism to the area," DVF Studio says. "We were particularly excited for L.E.A.F this year since nature is and always has been at the core of our design inspiration. Partnering with FTD and the Manscapers brought that part of our brand to life."
Rag & Bone's approach to the partnership was a bit different. The brand, known for its neutral tones, boho vibes, and desert-inspired street style, worked with April Johnson at Flower Psycho to create a dry wildflower arrangement crafted from highly pigmented yet earthy blue thistle and smoke bush. "The mix of color and textures represent the ease of summer and the hues of standout styles in the collection," the brand tells BAZAAR.
They add that the installation subtly references Rag & Bone's pre-fall 2022 collection—"a summer-ready collection of optimism and unexpected contrasts." They say, "The feminine pinks and denim blues in the collection were the starting point for the overall palette of the installation. The inviting textures of the flowers were displayed along the store entrance and draped around the bench that's perched outside the store where customers often relax and enjoy the sites of the neighborhood."
Santa Maria Novella, a luxury apothecary from Florence, Italy, also created a dreamy dry floral display along with Popup Florist to complement the launch of its very first eau de parfum, L’Iris, made from all-natural ingredients.
CEO Gian Luca Perris says, "For 800 years, natural ingredients have been the basis of our apothecary arts. The inspiration behind our installation comes from the floral decor of our flagship museum store in Florence and represents all the flowers we use in our products."
The L.E.A.F Festival of Flowers, which debuted in 2021, will return to the city next year for another springtime celebration.