Ariella Chezar is the author of Flowers for the Table and The Flower Workshop, and a Master floral designer whose work has graced the covers and pages of Martha Stewart Lving, O Magazine, Smitten, Sunset, Garden Design, Better Homes and Gardens, Domino, Real Simple, Sweet Paul and many more.
Ariella started her work in the Bay Area where she was lured by the beautiful flowers. All the unusual vines, garden roses, and fruit on the branch. In that Mediterranean climate I discovered such abundance and so much inspiration. It was there that I started my business. She then traveled to NYC and shortly after arriving was approached by Chronicle Books to write Flowers for the Table in 2002. With book in hand, she made her way to all the New York magazines and began working on stories with them. At the time, the trend in NY flowers was tight and contained.
Ariella teaches workshops all over the world and has also designed flower arrangements for the White House. In the fall of 2017, Ariella came onto the FlowerSchool New York staff as Artistic Director and Master Designer.
Shane Connolly & Company has been creating timeless, artisan, floral arrangements and decorations for over twenty-five years, and still get excited about the next event. Shane Connolly set up his eponymous company in 1989 after training with some of London’s leading flower designers.
Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Shane read Psychology at university but a lifelong passion for plants and gardening eventually led to a complete career change.
Subsequently, he has built an enviable reputation as a floral designer with a small, dedicated and talented team of florists, artists and craftsmen working from offices and a large light-filled studio in North Kensington.
With two Royal Weddings under his belt, who better to teach the secrets of wedding design than one of the most sought after florists in England, known for his natural, elegant style. Shane served as Artistic Director of Flowers for the Wedding of His Royal Highness, Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton.
L’Olivier, the sleek floral design atelier on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a long way from Brignoles, the Provencal village between St Tropez and Aix en Provence where Olivier Giugni grew up. Yet the warmth, whimsy, style and bursts of color this floral artist brought from his native Southern France are unmistakable. His mantra: life is color and color is life. And Olivier has been adding sumptuous color and life to New York City, his adopted home, since 1986.
Describing his signature style Olivier explains, “My work has movement and depth. It is never flat.” He pioneered the leaf wrapped vase, an innovation that adds a striking sense of architecture. Considered one of the city’s most prestigious floral artists, Olivier’s first name alone now suffices to refer to this talented Frenchman. A-list New Yorkers from the worlds of fashion, finance and fine arts call upon his dramatic, one-of-a-kind arrangements to transform home and work place. From the renowned restaurants of Chef Daniel Boulud, to the public spaces of the legendary Carlyle Hotel or the model apartments of the city’s top real estate developers, New York is all the lovelier for Olivier’s weekly additions.
Robbie Honey has been immersed in botanical pursuits since he was a young boy roaming the wild grasslands of Zimbabwe. These adventures developed his already keen visual and olfactory senses and instilled in him a lifelong fascination with flowers and their scents. By the age of seventeen, he was studying horticulture and went on to work in the floriculture trade in Holland and Kenya. Honing his creative sensibilities further, he studied interior design and photography at art school in Cape Town. Moving to London he trained with floral designer Ming Veevers Carter and gained a thorough grounding in event floristry.
Setting out on his own at twenty-five, Hermès was his first fashion client, followed by Dior and Armani, establishing Robbie Honey as an in-demand florist within the fashion industry. With this rare combination of expertise: in botany, floristry and the visual arts, he started lecturing around the world on floristry and writing for the Wall Street Journal.
Bella Meyer was born in Paris and grew up immersed in art and painting. After having attained a Ph.D. in Medieval Art History in Paris, she moved to New York where she focused on puppetry as well as creating theater costumes, props and masks. Over the years Bella incorporated flowers into her work, and in 2005 the studio was born. Flowers have always been close to Bella’s heart. Their unique ability to inspire people to smile, or to bring a moment’s peace, is important to her. Bella creates arrangements much in the way an artist paints, just as she had watched her grandfather, Marc Chagall, paint bouquets that brought joy to the world. Bella is the Founder and Creative Director of fleursBella.
Born and raised in California farm country amid olive, almond and peach orchards and gardens full of cabbage roses, sweet peas, and wisteria, Lewis Miller developed a respect for nature early on. At 18, he moved to Seattle where he studied horticulture and landscape design. After seven years of successfully pursuing his interests in design, flowers and event planning, Lewis moved to New york in 2000 where he worked for one of the city’s top floral boutiques. In March of 2002, Lewis’ vision of a country life in a metropolitan setting inspired him to create LMD New York, Lewis Miller Design. The company incorporates his love of quality, his enthusiasm for detail, and his ability to dazzle using the grandest and simplest of materials. His passion for floral design is nurtured within the walls of a stylish East Village Studio, where his attraction to the curious, the antiquated and the historic is modernized and brought to life.
Celebrity Floral Designer Oscar Mora, of Oscar Mora Floral Art & Design, is most noted for his stylish integration of modern and classical design, which has graced the pages of top editorial magazines, adorned the runways of New York Fashion Week, and embellished top movie premieres.
Mora’s creations have been hailed as “exquisite” by top fashion designers such as Valentino and L’Wren Scott. Many celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Karl Lagerfeld, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, and Marc Jacobs have received his customized floral creations. He has recently become a regular guest on the Martha Stewart Show, sharing his unique designs and expertise with millions of viewers.
Oscar Mora is highly regarded as an expert in tropical floral design. His special affinity for all things tropical has been strongly influenced by the natural surroundings and culture of his native Venezuela. Born and raised in Caracas, his early inclination toward the arts revealed itself through his passion for colors and textures, which he quickly put to work as a young painter designing for photo sets and fashion boutiques, and creating decor for private parties. “Now spaces and vases have become my new canvas,” says Mora, who went on to receive his degree in Interior Design from the Academy of Las Mercedes in Caracas, Venezuela.
Once in New York, floral design became Mora’s main outlet for expression. His ability to actualize and showcase his talent through the use of space and object art has propelled him to the top of the floral design industry.
Sullivan Owen began her career in visual merchandising and store environment design for fashion companies after studying Fine Arts in college. She spent her years in stores studying customers and understanding the impact furnishings, lighting, scent, sound and color have on how people feel in a space. After attending FlowerSchool NY and training with some of New York City’s most prestigious floral and event designers, She opened her studio in Philadelphia in 2011. Within one year, she was named the Best Florist in Philadelphia. Her work ethic, determination and great style has put her at the top of the field.
Matthew Robbins runs the New York–based events design and planning firm Matthew Robbins Design with his partner Luis Otoya. His firm designs and plans events all over the world. Matthew has been a contributing editor for Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine for over 15 years as well as a contributing editor for Flower Magazine and Sweet Paul Magazine. He regularly contributes to various publications including InStyle, New York Weddings, O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Food and Wine Magazine, Garden Design and Martha Stewart Living. He’s a contributor to many online publications such as Huffington Post, Style Me Pretty and StyleList. He also contributes regularly to the Martha Stewart Weddings blog and has been a featured guest on both The Martha Stewart Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio and The Today Show. His first line of tabletop designs debuted in 2013 with a collection of unique vases in collaboration with Teroforma. His first book, Matthew Robbins’ Inspired Weddings was published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Matthew speaks at many international conferences focused on weddings and events. His most recent travels include speaking engagements and workshops in China, Japan, Guatemala and Germany. Matthew Robbins Design was recently featured on the exclusive Harpers Bazaar list of America’s Top Wedding Planners as well as the Martha Stewart Weddings list of best planning companies. Matthew and Luis recently launched their new extension of Matthew Robbins Design with RobbinsOtoya for Destination Weddings with a special focus on Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico.
Emily Thompson was raised in the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont, a place of uncompromising beauty. She brought her sense of this place, its ruins and its wilds, to her work as an artist, even as she traveled to the Pennsylvania Academy for the Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA, where she earned her MFA in sculpture.
Emily is fascinated with the decorative arts and their history while she continues to collaborate with the rough hand of nature. Emily’s flowers and banquet decor balance the uncultivated organic world with the delicacy of classical ornamental design. They burst with unconventional materials like wild smilax, peaches, and real butterflies, and always maintain sculptural grace. And, most importantly, they are built in harmony with the space where they are displayed as if they grew there.
Emily likes to cite William Gilpin, the 18th century theorist of the picturesque, who directed builders of follies and artificial ruins to do so as if these ruins were not designed, but naturally chosen. “What’s more,” writes Gilpin, “they must be in magnificent style.”
Emily’s work, like her ideal faux ruin, evokes nature in magnificent style.
Christian Tortu has revolutionized his profession and changed the code of his craft forever. He has brought new meaning to the title “florist” and dazzled followers all over the world. In each bouquet, there is the part you sell and the part you give free : emotion.He is widely regarded at the innovator of modern floristry and considered to be one of the best floral designers of all time.
Christian Tortu was the Creative Director of Flowers at Takashimaya in New York City and largely considered to be the leading seller of flowers in New York City. He currently has three signature flower shops in Japan. Christian has designed flowers for many of the couture houses in Paris as well as weddings of royalty.
Meredith Waga-Perez began her career as a fashion designer after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York. Having honed her aesthetic sensibilities in the Haute Couture world of the fashion industry, her love of texture, color, and composition reflect the romantic, classically modern aesthetic upon which the Belle Fleur brand is built. Belle Fleur’s distinctive style is refined, abundant and luxurious.
Her passion for all things floral has been validated by an impressive following that includes celebrities, fashion designers and socialites. Together with her business partner and mother, Marilyn, Belle Fleur has blossomed in to one of Manhattan’s most influential and sought-after floral and event design firms.
In 2006, Meredith launched Belle Fleur Home, a sumptuous collection of floral inspired home fragrance products. Glowing reviews for her scented candles have rapidly propelled the collection to the forefront of the luxury home fragrance market.
Remco studied Art History and Graphic Design in the Netherlands, a background he applies to his event designs. In 1994, Remco came to New York City to work at Cas’ company Dutch Flower Line, New York’s most reputable flower importing company. Upon moving to New York City, Remco spent 6 years working with Chris Giftos, event pioneer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, before being given the prestigious opportunity to become his successor. Along with being the decorator for in-house events, Van Vliet and Trap creates the stunning colossal urn arrangements and the bouquets in the Great Hall at The Metropolitan Museum of Art which Remco personally designs every week.
Today, Van Vliet & Trap is proud to be the preferred event design company for some of the most prestigious Institutions of the Arts in New York City.
Van Vliet & Trap provides their clients with all aspects of event design to create a unique look that spans from classic to contemporary.
Atsuchi Tanaguchi is a young florist of breathtaking talent. He opened his first shop in Ashiwa, Japan at the age of twenty-five, his second in Tokyo several years later and in 2015 a shop in Paris. He gets his inspiration from nature and his flowers have the lush look of a warm spring day with the air scented by lilies and roses. He has been photographing his bouquets and has created several books featuring them. The look that comes to mind is romantic, poetic and clearly in harmony with the naturel world.
He supplies flowers for private customers, large-scale events, boutiques and hotels, one of them being the ultra-hip boutique hotel in Paris, Hotel des Bains.
Atsuchi teaches both in Paris and Tokyo and we are honored to have him teach for us at FlowerSchool New York this spring in April.