By Rachel TorgersonOut with the old and in with Michael! It's safe to say that Michael Gaffney has become a household name in the floral world—he's nationally known for his design work. He's worked on numerous television shows and movie sets (including Black Swan), New York fashion shows (B Michael America), and weddings and events around the country. He is the director of the American School of Flower Design (which has eight locations, including Minneapolis). And, he has now published a book—Design Star—in which he lays out the fundamentals of floral design and also recommends marketing and management strategies for starting your own freelance floral work or flower shop.
We caught up with him while he was back in Minnesota to ask about the latest floral trends, what he envisions in a fall wedding, and to get the dish on his new book.
In a few words, floral design has changed. Instead of going for one color, or one type of flower in a rounded shape (a "bowling ball" bouquet, as Gaffney puts it), brides are leaning toward evoking a feeling, an emotion, or an aura with their floral design—using multiple types of flowers, colors, and nontraditional plants. This means weddings are all about textures and mixtures. Fall weddings don't just have to be orange and yellow, says Gaffney. He adds bear grass and dyed, seeded eucalyptus for texture and drama in his fall designs.
"People want to see something new, and there haven't been many new flowers invented lately—but there are these greens that only the best designers know how to utilize," he says.
It's his opinion that you don't need many "props" for a wedding and that the flowers speak for themselves. But he doesn't mind a cedar branch, a pheasant feather, or some underwater LED tea lights for accents here and there. "Flowers add that other element," says Gaffney. "The most beautiful ballroom can be set with linens and glassware, then when you pop the flowers on the table, it's alive."
Gaffney's must-have flowers and foliage for fall:
- Seeded Eucalyptus
- Bear Grass
Want to learn floral design? Pick up Gaffney's book, available for pre-order now through amazon.com and barnsandnoble.com, and out on those websites Dec. 13. Or, enroll in one of Gaffney's eight-week courses, which adds hands-on experience and class time, at the Minneapolis School of Flower Design.
(Photos courtesy of Michael Gaffney)