Secrets of a celebrity florist
No-one can stem the tide of flowers taking over every celeb’s home and Insta account...
If you hadn’t heard, balloons are out and flowers ARE In. YES, they may have been around Forever In your nan’s vase, But when some Genius DECIDED to start putting them on walls AND HANGING them off THE CEILING, It BECAME Business. AND not Just Any Business – were talking show Business!
Forget THE small Fry of normal-people WEDDINGS. Florists ARE now In CHARGE of transforming CELEBRITY Events with THE Help of A FEW thousand FRESH Blooms. TAKE A BRIEF scroll through Instagram AND you’ll SEE flower wall AFTER flower wall (KIMYE started It), towering trees of millennial pink Cherry Blossoms or GIANT topiary Elephants (we’re looking At you, KHLOE KARDASHIAN).
AND It takes someone with A LARGE Dose of talent to put
together designs that can make headlines. Enter “floral artist” Jeff Leatham, about whom Cher once said, “Jeff is not a florist – he’s a genius”. And if Cher says it, it’s gospel.
It’s all coming up roses
Since 1999, Jeff has been the artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, while catering to a long list of VIP clientele. “It started as a fluke, and I turned it into a passion,” he recalls. Jeff now lives in Los Angeles, but returns to Paris for a few days each month to create the hotel’s grand displays, which employ up to 12,000 flowers a week with the help of his $2 million budget.
Part of Jeff’s success comes from his status as a semi-celebrity himself. If you’re a fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, you’ve likely seen Jeff alongside his BFF Kris Jenner. “My biggest clients, my greatest friends – how did I meet them? In the lobby of the George V,” he tells us. “I did Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Where did I meet the Clintons? In the lobby of the George V.” He elaborates that when Kris stayed at the George V in 2014, he filled her room with flowers, which caught her attention – quite a fragrant business card!
Jeff’s meeting with the Kardashian matriarch established not only a friendship, but a solid business relationship too. His company, Jeff Leatham Design, now creates spectacular seasonal displays in all of the Kar-jenner homes and, in March this year, Jeff designed Khloe’s baby shower. Around 12,000 carnations hung from the venue ceiling, roses were imported from Ecuador, but the stars of the show were the giant bushes shaped into safari animals. “I pulled together some imagery of kind of a fantasy English garden,” he says. “That’s why we had those topiary animals made of greens and the sculpted flowers falling from the ceiling. People walked into some kind of crazy fantasy, Alice In Wonderlandtype atmosphere.”
The Kardashians are so much a part of Jeff’s life that Kris officiated his wedding to actor Colton Haynes in October 2017.
A wedding that was, of course, decked out with flowers. “If you’re marrying Jeff Leatham, you either have to do something g where you get married d naked on the beach in Cabo with nothing – it’s just you, a horse and sand – or you go big,” ” reckons Jeff.
Petal to the metal
While they may not be quite on the Kardashian level, Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland – the Love Island 2016 runners-up – weren’t far off with the flower arrangements at their September wedding. “Budget wasn’t a major issue,” floral designer Beverly Nichols tells us. In the one-off TV special for the couple’s big day, fans were shocked to see that Olivia had been quoted $36,000 for the flowers, but Beverly says, “The first quote I put in was higher, so we had to cut a few things that weren’t necessary.” The higher quote is hardly surprising since, for a couple like Alex and Olivia, it is all about making a big Instagram statement– a fact Beverly reveals is the cause of a few awkward conversations for some brides. “That is a big challenge for people with smaller budgets, because they look at social media and see things that are outside of their budget,” she says.
The scale of the reality stars’ event didn’t put Bev off, and she confesses that she would love to do another Love Island wedding. “I thought maybe Dani [Dyer] and Jack [Fincham] might get married, but it seems unlikely now,” she laughs.
Flowers fit for a duchess
From reality to royalty... Elizabeth Mckenna – a candidate on The Apprentice to 2017 2 create – was a posy lucky for enough newlyengaged e Meghan Markle in Nottingham N at her first public appearance following the news. The bride-to-be was presented with a posy of purple and white flowers, something carefully thought through by Elizabeth.
“The thing about giving flowers is that you always put a little bit of yourself or the person who’s receiving in the design,” she says. Meghan’s bouquet was bound with lace, because Nottingham is famous for lace. There were forget-me-nots, because I understand they were Princess Diana’s favourite e flowers. The purples and whites were the colours of f the school [Meghan] was visiting, and I put some silver eucalyptus through it, because it’s an Aussie thing 2t and I’m Australian.”
But where is there left to go after fulfilling a royal appointment? Elizabeth tells us she’d love to do flowers for Elton John. “I think that would be a hoot.” We reckon Jeff could be in touch... n
Khloe’s baby shower was a budding occasion Jeff in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel George V The ceiling of Khlo’s baby bash was a floral wonderland d Jeff is in a bit of a thorny situation!
Jeff’s work has adorned outdoor as well as indoor spaces Kris officiated at Jeff’s wedding to actor Colton Another low-key arrangement at the Bellagio! Topiary elephant on the horizon!
Kris’s home looks fab at Christmas – thanks to her bestie! Sofia Vergara’s wedding venue was transformed Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon admire some of Jeff’s work