The Florist Fashion Designers and Hoteliers Love
For Olivier Giugni, whose New York company, L’Olivier Floral Atelier, is known for its original and bold arrangements, the holiday season is when one “can really express one’s creativity.” That is the time of year when “you can use a lot of glitter, and part of the reason I like to live in America is the glitter,” explained the French-born Giugni, showing a visitor around the Harlem, New York, studio he has occupied for the past four years—formerly the stable that housed horses belonging to Brooke Astor, one of the city’s most famous grandes dames.
Giugni is partial to making arrangements that incorporate twinkling lights, roses with a dusting of sparkles, leaves sprayed in gold or silver, coral dipped in silver, purple Vanda or snowy white Dendrobium orchids, and one of his favorite flowers—calla lilies.
“We work with them like jewelry,” said Giugni, who entwines the long stems gracefully around the handle of a silver vase. “It’s the time of year when it’s hard to do too much,” he added. That said, Giugni knows when to stop: Even his most lavish holiday compositions present a certain striking sculptural style. Giugni first came to New York 30 years ago, on a ten-day trip, to work as a florist for Pierre Cardin and open a small flower shop for the French fashion designer. “I had met Cardin when I was 20,” Giugni recalled, “and had never studied to be a florist. I lived in Provence and often worked in my grandparents’ garden. I always loved flowers and everything connected to nature, but never thought it would be my career. Forty years ago, a florist was not recognized as a designer, but now a florist is on the same level as an architect or a decorator.”