Wednesday 24 May 2018 - Waterford Castle Hotel and Resort - The Island, Waterford, Ireland.
Jeff Leatham, Celebrity florist, creates cool new vases for Waterford Crystal.
Waterford Crystal are continuously innovating, on this occasion they have continued their relationship with world famous American florist to the stars, Jeff Leatham. Jeff has teamed up with Local florist, Lamber de Bie who will source and arrange the flowers for these stunning new crystal vases.
I love Jeff’s take on these new designs as it is so clearly retro, almost Victorian in it’s palette but incredibly cutting edge and cool at the same time.
It was queen Victoria who favoured the stones of deep purple Amythest and Jet (a black stone) to create a sense of drama. Jeff has employed this very quirkey palette and applied it to the elegance of cut glass to create something that is truly unique.
This collection of vases have beautiful clean lines and a very sophisticated plunging arc at the base. As the colour is on the inside of the glass there is a lovely profundity to the surface which is further enhanced by the restrained but geometric cuts. These vases come in a range of sizes and shapes and work equally well with a bouquet as a few tall stems.
My excitement at being asked to create an entire theatrical spectacle with Jeff’s new designs for Waterford was a challenge that I relished. Jeff has a distinctive style of floristry and I was guided by this throughout the project.
The event in question was to be the corporate launch of the vases for Waterford crystal at a sumptuous dinner at Waterford castle resort. The dinning hall of the castle was to be resplendant with vases and flowers that were to wow editors from China, Shanghai, Japan and New York and publicatios from Vogue to Elle Décor.
The Glamour of this gala dinner was to be provided by the shimmering crystal and cascading blossoms. I started at the grand entrace to the castle and placed plinths with arrangements on either side of the ancient oak doors like senitals, this was the first glimpse that the excited guests would have of this grand reveal.
In keeping with Jeff’s style the flowers were tightly bunched and tall black Calla Lillies soared from the low, dense globes of perfect Rosa Lovelace and Vanda Orchids with clusters of giant Hydrangea being reflected in the dark crystal. The cut granite castle door suround was the perfect backdrop for the matt silk lilac rose petals and sparkling crystal.
This was but the amuse bouche for the sumptuous feast of flowers and design that was the star of the dinning hall that evening. I think the bit that I enjoyed most was the relationship between the collection of crystal vases that were clustered in the centre of each large round table. It took the same level of artistry to arrange these as it did the flowers within. Usually, the only conversation happening, is between the bouquet and the vase that contains it. In this case I had the relationship between the cluster of vases and then the different flowers in each vase and then how all the flowers conspired to make a large and abstact bouquet and the sophisticated contrasts of shape, size and colour of the different vases. The result was like a very masterful painting.
Candle light is always atmospheric but when used in a medieval dinning hall it takes on a new mysteriousness. Crystal is elevated to a new level by the muted flicker of the flame and the vases and flowers almost shifted like shape makers.
I have always been a big fan of bold and graphic arrangements and as such had a great afinity and respect for Jeff’s concept, inspiration and colour palette. Smokey grey crystal provided the perfect foil for the pale lilac large headed Rosa lovelace and the jet black Calla lillies stood upright in a tight bunch making their green stems luminous in the light. Working with giant Hydrangea is always special but the way they appeared to grow or morph form the crystal vases gave an almost cartoonish effect. Some of the Icon vases were in clear crystal and here the design was especially evident as the stems at the base of the vase created a parallax type optical illusion that was stunning. Even though there was a homogenous colour scheme both with the crystal vases and the flowers I still wanted to unify them further, I scattered a rich deep blanket of the Rosa Lovelace petals in a circle around all the vases and this served to heighten the gloss of the crystal and made the vases appear to almost become a shimmering illusion.
I am still excited remembering the exotic and decadent displays and how they transformed the hall, put the tables under a spell and entranced the guests. It’s the perfect triumverate Waterford Crystal, Jeff Leatham and the charming Waterford Castle.
Lamber de Bie – Master Florist - Ireland
Photography by Dylan Vaughn