Over this past year I have been growing more and more obsessed with flower arrangements created and inspired by Dutch Master's Still Life paintings. I even considered taking a floral design class about creating such arrangements last March that was run by The Little Flower School in Brooklyn. The leaders and teachers of the school, Nicolette Owen (Nicolette Camille) and Sarah Ryhanen (Saipua) are leading the Dutch Master's trend that we're seeing in weddings lately, as their style intrinsically belongs within this realm of dark, lush and romantic styling. Looking at their work on Instagram [Nicamille] + [Saipua] makes me drool every time. This obsession needed to be included in my reality of work, so I was so excited when I realized I could use this concept for my Holiday Decor theme at Bergdorf Goodman on the Decorative Home floor! It ended up working perfectly, as we were pushing for a more traditional style design from last year's Malachite, and also wanted to remain within the company's initiative to utilize the overall conceptual theme of "BG INSPIRED." Since the windows were inspired by the Arts, one of the floor's decor could naturally be inspired by traditional still life painting.
As you will see in the inspiration images below, there major decorative elements that must be included in the design to achieve the look, they are:
- Produce - Fruits & Vegetables
- Styling that is over abundant, romantic, heavy & loose
- Dark, deep, moody colors
I also, explain each element in further detail so read on....
So how is it that we can use these elements to create the look? After I gathered the list, I analyzed each element and came up with a plan for how to incorporate each.
1. PRODUCE - In order to get the produce element right, you want to think about using fruit and vegetables that is close to being within season - Oranges, Pomegranates, Apples but also to make the produce seem different from the typical dried fruit often used in holiday decoration, you want to add unexpected ones too. Figs, Grapes, and artichokes are often represented in Dutch Master's Paintings and they're not as often used in Holiday arrangements.
2. TAXIDERMY - It's really tricky to hang dead animals from garlands and may not be the most festive and welcoming idea. So to get around that while still evoking the theme, you can add the feathers from the birds that are commonly shown in these paintings. You can also, put these taxidermy birds on tables or walls to create beautiful, festive vignettes. My favorite birds and feathers come from Pheasants, Turkeys & Roosters.
3. FLOWERS - Flowers are a very important element to pull of this look and I'm sure you're curious about which flowers to use and why does it make sense to put them in holiday decor. I decided to choose something that could realistically be saved and reused for the holiday. That's where hydrangeas come in - I hope saved your dried blooms or are able to pull some lasting bits from the bushes outside.
4. STYLING - Dutch Master's Still Lifes are all about over abundance. They portray romance through heavy and loose styled arrangements and table settings. One last trick that we did in the center of the hall, which I think is really fun - replace your table cloth with a persian rug! The major key to pulling off this look is, more is more.
5. DARK COLORS - Most Dutch Master's paintings are very dark and moody. We of course, can't and don't live in candlelight in present life, so in order to create that mood all of your added elements and decorative finishes should be dark and moody. Use dark rich colors for your table clothes and napkins, if you're adding gilded elements the dark golds and even unpolished silver mixed with polished silver will enhance the feel.
There you have it, I hope I've sparked a few ideas for your holiday decor this season. Make sure you stop by the store on the 7th floor for an even closer look. Thanks for reading.
Design, styling & photographs by: Lauren L Caron / additional design support styling & merchandising by: Valerie Raskin