There are moments when recreating a historical design makes perfect sense (think of the convincing flower arrangements that tremendously help establish the period sets on Downtown Abbey). But when I’m designing for today, I much prefer to exercise my creativity and elaborate on old styles rather than copy them.
I had my fill of Gatsby-era florals when I did centerpieces for a gala over the winter. The vases of big, open white ‘Casablanca’ lilies and feathers shooting up toward the ceiling fit the event’s 1920s theme, but when left to my own devices, I’d go in another direction.
The design pictured here incorporates the staple ingredients of a 20s centerpiece: lilies and Phalaenopsis orchids. Instead of the whites, creams and muted pinks that graced Jay Gatsby’s Saturday night tables, I went with the stronger hues that complement Pantone’s color of the year, emerald. I even threw in some green viburnum to hint at emerald.
While the pastel colors of the 20s table are what most people think of, it’s the contrasting shapes of the flowers that made them as edgy as their era. Consider lilies, which are pointy stars with a punch of fragrance. And curvy Phalaenopsis orchids, which immediately bring exotic luxury to any place they’re put.
Orchids are so impressive, they stand alone in bridal bouquets. This vintage orchid bouquet features exceptionally large blossoms, hard to find but not unheard of. Add much more to this bouquet and it would be overkill–other flowers would distract from the detail of the orchids. But do it in color (choose from the many vibrant purples) and you have a modern take on the Roaring 20s.