From elegant bouquets to sophisticated compositions, the floral creations by Agnès de Villarson adorn inauguration ceremonies, charity galas, Fashion Week shows and celebrity weddings. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, France-Amérique met up with this French florist, who has been working in New York for seven years.
Agnès de Villarson’s Upper East Side living room is a treasure trove of beautiful colors. Arranged in wide vases, some 300 red, orange, yellow, purple, white and black flowers fill up the small, ventilated space. The scents of Kenyan roses blend with the fragrances of Japanese buttercups and Dutch tulips. Agnès de Villarson is in the middle of finishing an order for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The institution asked for 180 table centerpieces for the inaugural dinner of the exhibition Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim [from February 10 to September 6]. “The museum sent me the names of the exhibited artists, and I gave free rein to my imagination,” she says.
Institutions, luxury businesses and other private customers make up 60% of the floral designer’s client base. Agnès de Villarson has, among others, designed black and white bouquets for Chanel, decorated tables for a banquet by Ladurée, and flowered fashion shows for Christian Dior. From law firms and medical clinics to hotels and private residences, many Americans have also been won over by her work. “The Americans are used to big, flashy, multi-colored bouquets with lots of embellishments,” she says. A former mathematics teacher at the Lycée Français de New York, she was trained in floral design at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. “My customers are looking for French elegance: simple, natural arrangements with bucolic tones and harmonious colors. I understand exactly what my customers want when they ask for a feminine, Parisian bouquet or a Provençal arrangement.”
Inaugural dinner at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on February 8, 2017.
© Agnès de Villarson
The florist offers a varied range of services. Her website includes table centerpieces, interior decorations, and bouquets for saying thank you, parties, weddings and birthdays, as well as funeral wreaths. Agnès de Villarson purchases her flowers in batches from a wholesaler on 28th Street, in the Chelsea neighborhood. After being picked across all five continents, the flowers are kept at 37°F and transported to New York in less than 48 hours. “The flowers I work with are incredibly fresh,” says the florist. “The ones you find in stores and supermarkets are generally picked in Latin America a month before. They are frozen, and spend one or two weeks in a container in Miami before being sent to New York.”
For Valentine’s Day, Agnès de Villarson is offering her customers some ten different floral compositions in red and pink shades, and ranging from $45 to $200. Red tulips are the star of this year’s Valentine’s Day. “It’s the Americans’ favorite flower,” says the florist.