Laura Dowling ~ floral designer extraordinaire and owner of Intérieurs et Fleurs ~ frequently travels to France seeking motivation and inspiration for all of her fabulous designs. Today, she is generously sharing some of the latest Parisian trends with us!

from Laura

On recent trips to Paris and the German countryside, I found inspiration for my flower designs at every turn – in a rustic country garden that provided an idyllic backdrop for an international master class, in the fashionable Parisian neighborhoods of St. Germain and the Marais, and at the haute couture shows during Fall Fashion Week.

The new floral aesthetic focuses on creating a rustic, vintage look of casual elegance using flowers from the woods, meadows, vineyards, and gardens. There is an emphasis on incorporating contrasting elements – colors, materials, textures — into the bouquets and using organic elements (such as folded leaves, bundled twigs, etc.) in innovative ways to form couture finishing touches. While nature provides inspiration and the raison d’etre, trends in haute couture fashion and the decorative arts continue to influence the poetry and artistry of l’art du bouquet.

The overall effect of combining simple garden and woodlands flowers with stylish embellishments is fresh, elegant, and natural. Here are some new ideas, trends and color combinations – inspired by the French garden style aesthetic — that I find compelling for the upcoming season.

Jardin Rustique

photography courtesy of Open Air Photography

For a rustic, garden-style approach, the key point is to emphasize a rich mix of textures and a muted, monochromatic color scheme. Try combining woodsy elements such as twigs, moss, pods, and grasses with flowers in shades of cream, green and brown to create a sophisticated, pastoral look.

In this bouquet of roses (above,  left), pinecones and ferns, found objects and materials– branches and twigs gathered from the garden — are fashioned into bundles, and then entwined around a square-shaped Italian mason jar to complement the design.

For the lavender bouquet (above, right), fallen oak leaves are rolled into cylinders to create an organic container which is then filled with a mix of beige/lavender roses, wheat, English lavender and several types of foliage.

Jardin Nostalgique

photography courtesy of Open Air Photography

The nostalgic flower garden celebrates classic, timeless look – these bouquets feature abundant masses of old-fashioned garden flowers such as snapdragons, roses and hydrangea arranged in classic urns, retro-inspired color schemes, (e.g., peach and green, pale yellow and cornflower blue, amber gold and red), and are accented with either vintage containers or stems and vases decorated with natural elements. In the examples below, nostalgic garden flowers are paired with mixed foliage and berries to create a charming natural style that transcends fads and trends to articulate a fresh and original look.


photography courtesy of Open Air Photography

Jardin Simplicite

Jardin Simplicite Laura Dowling

photography courtesy of Kevin Allen Photography

Simplicity in design has universal, enduring appeal – not only is a pared down aesthetic accessible and attainable in terms of technique, it’s more cost-effective than highly intricate and complex designs. To achieve this look in bouquets, use a single kind of flower in a monochromatic hue, and arrange the stems loosely in chic, coordinating containers. By incorporating interesting details and selecting unusual colors and materials, it’s possible to embellish basic designs with artistic elements to create simple, yet distinctive bouquets.

Jardin Couture

Jardin Couture Laura Dowling

photography courtesy of Kevin Allen Photography

Many flower trends are derived from the runways of Paris, the fashion capital of the world. And, this July, there was a palpable sense of excitement in the air during Paris Fashion Week. In current collections, there is a focus on contrasting color and texture – bright fuchsia or purple paired with black, deep plum and chartreuse, gossamer gold and brown, and the bold use of vivacious hues and patterns that evoke baroque and byzantine influences.

photography courtesy of Open Air Photography

Already, you can see these Parisian fashion trends translated into bouquet designs – in striking displays of pink hydrangea and deep burgundy calla lilies arranged in black ceramic cylinders and presented on mirrored pedestals at the Georges V, in chic, garden-style bouquets of purple and white hydrangea wrapped with passion flower vine at Hermes, and in poetic arrangements of summer flowers in shades of amber, orange, fuchsia, and red at a chic cocktail party on the Rue de Rivoli.

photography courtesy of Open Air Photography

Bottom line: Parisian Floral Trends

What’s new this summer is to emphasize contrasting elements in design – placing rustic flowers in elegant settings, using organic materials as couture finishing touches, integrating a pared back aesthetic with more opulent displays, and juxtaposing a wild, country-garden style with sophisticated and fashion-forward trends. From vintage chic and rustic elegance to high-style haute couture, flowers in the French garden style are inspiring and reflect all of these sensibilities.

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Thank you SOOOO much, Laura for continuing to bring us the most fashionable updates in the world of floral design.  Your creations are truly exquisite and your expertise is delightful!! Laura is a French-trained floral designer based in Washington DC. For more of her incredible work, visit her website and blog. She has several more images of Summer 2009 French-inspired bouquets on her blog.