CRYS­TAL VI­SION

Florist Jeff Leatham launches two col­lec­tions for the House of Water­ford Crys­tal

VOGUE Living Australia - - CONTENTS - By Fiona McCarthy

There are few florists as fa­mous — or with as many In­sta­gram fol­low­ers — as their A-list clien­tele, but Jeff Leatham is one of them. Not only artis­tic di­rec­tor for both the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Los An­ge­les at Bev­erly Hills and the Ge­orge V in Paris (where he was knighted by the French government in 2014 for his ac­claimed work there), Leatham has also re­cently set up his own de­sign stu­dio and flower bou­tique in the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Los An­ge­les at Bev­erly Hills. Af­ter nearly 20 years in France, Leatham has come full cir­cle — his stu­dio is based right out of the very same space he first started in as a trainee in 1994. More rock star than bou­quet-maker, Leatham con­jures and sculpts flow­ers into gar­gan­tuan, mes­meris­ing art-like in­stal­la­tions. He thinks noth­ing of cas­cad­ing cur­tains of car­na­tions down from the ceil­ing, pack­ing gi­ant arches full of roses or filling long, tall vases with tightly bound bunches of calla lilies (set at Leatham’s sig­na­ture ‘tilt’

— “I like peo­ple to see the face of the flower”). His work in­volves wed­dings in Tus­can palaz­zos and par­ties at the Palace of Ver­sailles; clients in­clude fashion brands like Gucci, Alexan­der Mc­Queen, Elie Saab and Go­yard, and loyal friends like Kylie, Cher, Oprah, and the whole Kar­dashian-Jen­ner clan. This Novem­ber, Leatham launches Icon and In­fin­ity, two new col­lec­tions for the House of Water­ford Crys­tal — first pre­viewed ex­clu­sively for Vogue Liv­ing at a lav­ish din­ner held in the 16th-cen­tury rooms of Water­ford Cas­tle in May. The col­lab­o­ra­tion, which in­cludes vases, storm lan­terns and drinkware, not only show­cases the Ir­ish crys­tal house’s 200-plus-year-old his­tory of fine hand­crafts­man­ship, but also breathes new life into old pat­terns from the ar­chives. “I wanted to cre­ate pieces that look new but still feel like Water­ford at the same time,” says Leatham. For In­fin­ity, Leatham has over­sized an orig­i­nal ‘caro’ (or di­a­mond) cut to cre­ate what he calls a “punk stud”, now used to punc­tu­ate thick bands run­ning around the mid­dle of tall and squat bar­rel-shaped vases. A tra­di­tional ‘facet’ (or flat) cut has been rein­ter­preted so fin­gers and thumb sit com­fort­ably within the long, sleek curves of arches etched around the sides of the Icon cham­pagne flute and high­ball cock­tail glass (the de­signer’s two favourite tip­ples). “The joke around Water­ford is I wanted to get drunk with my own glasses,” he laughs.

Leatham was a job­bing ac­tor and model in the early ’90s be­fore land­ing the chance to learn the floristry ropes with Paige Dixon, the florist for the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Los An­ge­les at Bev­erly Hills at the time. In 1999, only four years later, the ho­tel group sent him to Paris to do the flow­ers for the newly re­opened Ge­orges V ho­tel. To­day, his bold, gen­er­ous de­signs are guided by the ‘Leatham Threes’: keep things clean, sim­ple and chic; never mix more than three types of flow­ers or three colours to­gether. “Min­i­mal­ism,” he says, “al­ways catches the eye.”

Yet as much as Leatham loves work­ing with flow­ers — “they bring such life and lux­ury to a space” — the de­signer has en­joyed cre­at­ing some­thing “that will last longer than four days”. He wants his Water­ford pieces to be used every day, mixed to­gether and con­tin­u­ously added to. “It’s about mak­ing col­lec­tions and mem­o­ries,” says Leatham. “I want them to still look fan­tas­tic on your ta­ble 20 years from now.” VL Jeff Leatham col­lec­tions are avail­able from Jan­uary 2019 at wa­ter­ford­crys­tal.com.au jef­fleatham­flow­ers.com @jef­fleatham

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT Water­ford Jeff Leatham Icon clear vase and Icon frame. Icon vase in Amethyst. Icon clear bowl. Icon clear flute.

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