London-based florist Harriet Parry has a piece of advice for couples considering what flowers to choose for their wedding. “More drama, more theatrical,” she says. “I’d like to do more weddings with people that just say, ‘Run with it.’” Rather than churn out a series of delicate countryside bouquets and centerpieces, she prefers to work with clients who want to create a floral “piece of art for their day.” After all, if anyone knows how to elevate floral arrangements to the level of fine art, it’s Parry.
Whether it’s a Tim Walker photograph, a Barkley L. Hendricks painting, or a screengrab from The Darjeeling Limited, Parry has a remarkable ability to bring just about any image to life in floral form. It’s a skill she displays to dazzling effect on @flowerinterpretations, her Instagram account where she presents “art, film, and fashion reimagined as floral arrangements.” In Parry’s hands, the pale skin of a painterly nude figure is mimicked with sprigs of baby’s breath arranged to mimic a woman’s curves. A Degas ballerina is created from spindly branches flung out at angles approximating an arabesque.
Before discovering her unique flair for floristry, Parry worked as an interior stylist. “We threw a lot of fake flowers into our design schemes,” she recalls. “That was actually one of the things that sowed the seed.” After moving to London, Parry applied for a floral designer role that allowed her to learn on the job before launching her own business, which now includes weddings and events, editorial projects, and brand collaborations. Recent brides can also commission her to paint miniature watercolor portraits of the bouquet they walked down the aisle with. “They make nice gifts for a first wedding anniversary,” she explains.
All of that creative output requires an endless wellspring of inspiration, and Parry’s imagination can be sparked by just about anything—from a museum exhibit to what’s coming down the runway. “I’ve been looking at a lot of Rodarte, Gucci goes without saying, Shrimps…oh, Molly Goddard, of course,” she says. “It’s a funny old game. Flowers, interiors, we all take the lead from fashion.” Her dream collaboration? A meeting of the minds with David Lynch. His work has “that hint of the unexpected, that touch of the slightly off-kilter,” much like her own artistry.
For those ready to go boldly into the floral future, Parry suggests finding a florist that you really click with. “When I do weddings, I tend to work with people that I have a connection with. They sort of leave it up to me a bit, and trust me with my designs,” she says. Still, she’s always game to tackle an intriguing project description. One of her favorite weddings she’s ever worked on started out with a client seeking “an English country feel—but if somebody fell on the flower arrangement it might hurt them.” (The end result turned out to be a red rose-centric Salvador Dalí-inspired floral display.) Beyond that, the only rule is that there are no rules, except: “You can’t go wrong when there’s a feather involved,” Parry says.
Originally Appeared on Vogue