Florist Jeff Leatham on dream jobs and bringing flowers to the world

 

Jeff Leatham Headshot

The words ‘superstar florist’  and ‘flower legend’ aren’t bandied around very much. But then not many flower arrangers are the go-to man for the Kardashians, Kylie Minogue, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Eva Longoria.

Jeff Leatham’s day job is artistic director of the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris – where his displays are on the list of the top ten things to do in Paris, alongside visiting the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

He also finds time to create incredible floral displays for his private and celebrity clients, as well as brands including Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Tiffany & Co. He’s even made arrangements for the Dalai Lama.

He spoke to us about his goal of giving people a truly new experience with flowers – and how designing a range with Waterford was a little intimidating.

Jeff’s creations may be extravagant but he insists they’re basically very simple and his style can be replicated at home. In fact, the former model stumbled into a career in floral arrangements himself when he strolled past a small flower shop while in Paris for a fashion show.

“I had a flash of flowers as works of art,” he said, “Tiny elements that could be combined to create something amazing.”

Turns out he had something of a flair for it. At the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, he developed his signature counterbalanced and colour blocked style and quickly rose through the ranks.

Transferring to the Four Seasons George V in Paris in 1999, as artistic director, he was determined to give the newly-renovated hotel an entirely fresh approach – creating ‘wow effects’ to ‘knock people over’ as soon as they entered  the hotel.

“People weren’t used to seeing 14,000 flowers in the lobby and arrangements that continued through hallways and up to their rooms,” he says, “They see that everyday at the George V.”

And the rock ‘n’ roll attitude doesn’t stop there. Jeff is the only member of staff at the George V who gets to wear whatever he wants to work – and his flower choices even lead fashion, with growers finding certain blooms selling out when Jeff has used them in a high profile display. He changes the displays every three weeks, thanks to a convoy of trucks that arrive weekly on Avenue George V, loaded with flowers from Amsterdam, some grown exclusively for the hotel.

Jeff-Leatham-Fleurology-Top2

As he said: “We really revolutionise the way people think about flowers around the world.

“We create situations, we create installations and we create celebrations that people will never forget.”

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