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Luxury Floral Design With Larry Walshe

TOAST talks to luxury floral designer Larry Walshe about his creative approach to event design

A 6 metre wide world map, a selection of beautiful dresses and a tropical 20ft cascade, all made from fresh flowers. Oh and did I mention the baby elephant? It’s all in a days work for luxury floral designer and celebrity florist Larry Walshe. Here, the man himself talks to TOAST about his love affair with all things floral, and shows us how to create a fabulous festive wreath at home this year!



It may be the most wonderful time of the year but for most of us it is also the busiest. When Larry Walshe and I speak, he is in the midst of setting up an exclusive Christmas pop-up shop in South West London, whilst simultaneously installing stunning festive floral designs in some of London’s most exclusive fashion boutiques, hotels and private residences. And I thought I was busy.

We create everything! From entire storefronts clad with decorations to garlands, wreaths and fabulous Christmas trees, decorated with anything you can imagine!” laughs Larry who, despite his immense workload, manages to maintain a sense of humour.

But then he is used to it – having been commissioned by Royal Households, hundreds of brides and grooms, and some of the world’s most discerning brands (both home and abroad) all seeking a unique and creative approach to event design. 

I have always had a love affair with good design and luxury brands,” Larry explains. “I was also lucky enough to grow up in the countryside, surrounded by nature. Originally, I trained as an interior designer specialising in retail branding and from there I transitioned organically into floristry, after spending years working in the luxury weddings and events industry.”

Larry Walshe Image By Kate Nielen

These days award-winning florists Larry Walshe are one of Britain’s premier luxury floral design companies, and Larry himself regularly guest lectures at the prestigious Judith Blacklock Flower School in Knightsbridge. But despite being widely regarded as an international expert in his field, Larry still has his feet firmly on the ground. 

Most mornings I get up at around 5am and I go straight to the New Covent Garden Flower Market so that I can explore the most seasonally available flowers, and select ingredients for the designs I am creating that week,” he explains.

“And then in between meetings and crafting proposals for clients’ upcoming weddings and parties, I can be found in the studio putting together designs along with my fabulous team. I really like to create generously on every project - the actual style created is very much client led, however each piece is crafted with an abundance of texture and colour to create a strong and distinctive silhouette that makes the most beautiful statement.”

As well as offering beautiful bunches, super stylish wreaths and other fabulous gifts, Larry and his team not only work as luxury florists, but as floral designers. I ask Larry what the difference is.

Scale!” he explains. “As a floral designer, many of the designs we create are large scale and incredibly detailed, and can be created anywhere – from Heathrow T5 to Santorini.  Our larger designs also involve a great deal of engineering and logistics to install within the fabulous venues and spaces we are invited into.

World Map In Florals Larry Walshe(Image: Larry Walshe World Map in Florals, for Heathrow Terminal 5) 

And speaking of fabulous venues and spaces, Larry has seen his fair share; Blenheim Place, the Four Seasons Hotel, the Berkeley Hotel, Sky Garden, the Royal College of Art and London’s exclusive celeb hangout Nobu are just a few of the prestigious venues that Larry and his team work with.

Larrywalshe Floals Installation Image Kate Nielen

Larry Walshe Image Kate Nielen

Larrywalshe Incedentals

Floral Installation Marquee Larry Walshe

Larry is also the first designer to be commissioned on more than one occasion to create a bespoke flower dress for RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and in 2016 he was asked to create not one but two magnificent dresses made entirely from fresh flowers, in order to celebrate M&G Investments’ seventh year as title sponsor of the esteemed show. As someone who struggles to successfully arrange a few daffodils in a vase, I ask Larry where one even begins to tackle such a task.

Well in the first instance I was supplied with a rendering of Jo Thompson’s intended garden design, and asked to conceptulaise a dress with a 1930’s influence, as that’s is when M&G Investments was formed,” Larry explains

From here, I researched dress styles using vintage fashion books that I have collected for years in abundance, and began to create watercolour sketches of different possibilities, until I reached the final design that we created.  The use of a soft silk grey voille embellished with miniature blooms that were individually embroidered onto the garment resulted in an organic silhouette that motioned the fluidity and echoed the calmness of water, and the 1930’s drop waist created a seductive and romantic form. The overall piece emanated a Lady of the Lake aesthetic as the fabric and flowers blended seamlessly to create the beautiful dress.

"I love the fact that each and every project I create is unique and personal to the client I am working with.  Flowers are also such a wonderful medium as they are ever changing and evolving which allows for endless opportunities!” Quite.

Larry Walshe Chelsea Flower Show Images Kate Nielen

(Image: Chelsea Flower Show 2016 Designs by Larry Walshe. Images by Kate Nielen)

As well as creating jaw-dropping floral designs at some of the most impressive events around, Larry and his team also create bespoke floral designs for a multitude of other occasions – from weddings and birthday celebrations, to corporate dinners and brand installations. Despite his popularity, Larry likes to ensure that each and every event he works on receives an individual and personal approach.

Each of the schemes we create are so personal - I really do remember them all” he explains

For example this year we were thrilled to create two fantastic projects for Chelsea in Bloom 2016 – the first was an adorable baby elephant bursting from The White Company’s window, the second a 20ft tall tropical Rio inspired cascade from the façade of 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel. We also created the world out of flowers for Heathrow Airport – it measured over 6m wide and featured over 2,000 fresh fragrant flower stems – that was really exciting!

Baby Elephant Larry Walshe

Cadogan Hotel Larry Walshe

(Images: Baby Elephant Chelsea in Bloom, and Larry Walshe's Cadogan Hotel Rio Cascade) 

This year Larry has combined forces with luxury event suppliers Cutture London and launched a fabulous Christmas Emporium in Wimbledon Village, offering decorations, luxury gifts, gift-wrapping and of course – Larry’s fabulous, festive florals, such as beautiful wreaths and table garlands.

Metallics are really in this Christmas!’ he explains. “We are just loving the use of metallic colours either as a single variety or mixed into designs to create a fabulous festive flourish!”

Larry Walshe Metalic Wreath

And speaking of fabulous festive flourishes – Larry has put together a fantastic step-by-step guide to creating very own a beautiful Christmas wreath at home, exclusively for TOAST readers – you can find it over on TheEdit now. 

“It’s five easy-to-follow steps” explains Larry. “Just remember to have fun with your design and feel free to put your own stamp on it! And when you’re finished, hang the wreath up on your front door to declare ‘Merry Christmas!’ to all your visitors!”


Head over to TheEdit for Larry's How To or for more information about Larry Walshe check out his listing in our Little Black Book or visit www.larrywalshe.com.

Cutture’s Christmas Emporium can be found in Wimbledon Village at 14 Church Street, London, SW19 5DL and is open from now until Christmas Eve. 

 
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