Hello my Posy Gang!
Excuse me if I sound a bit breathless. I’m still coming down from the high of participating in the Fleurs de Villes Spring 2018 Mannequin Series!
Fleurs de Villes is a Vancouver-based event company that stages one-of-a-kind floral art events, most notably their annual Mannequin Series. This year, they're bringing their 5 day long, eye-popping installations to 6 malls in 4 provinces. Each mall showcases 15 local designers who create fresh floral dresses for their own mannequins.
If you’re just learning about the Fleurs de Villes Mannequin Series now, bookmark it for next year. There’s nothing quite like turning a corner in the mall and coming upon a forest of these gorgeous figures all dressed in flowers. Those of you in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary – you still have a chance to see it this year! Find out more at fleursdevilles.com and spread the word.
My own mannequin adventure began just seven weeks ago, when a last minute call for submissions to the Vaughan Mills show came across my desk. As soon as I read the e-mail, I knew I wanted to do it. So I rifled through my mind’s eye for something I’d want to wear, put together a quick plan, and pressed send.
Thankfully the fantastic organizers of Fleurs de Villes didn’t keep me waiting long for an answer. In what felt like a flash, I was a part of the show, and then the real planning began.
As the April 19 opening night approached, I found myself staring into the distance a lot, designing and re-designing dress underpinnings that would allow fresh flowers to last for 5 whole days in a mall environment with bright lights and an abundance of airflow. Gang, this had to be good. Most weddings don’t demand so much of flowers!
My mannequin was delivered a week before the show. I named her Viola in honour of one of spring’s first flowers. Watch her get dressed:
Of course, sometime between the second and third pictures, the ice storm happened. Then, as the ice melted, the basement flooded. Haha! I'm thankful the water only flowed for one day and I was there to do something about it. I also got the good news that my mannequin was going to be sponsored by the Korean beauty and skincare giant, The Face Shop. Cool!
With the dress finished on Wednesday night, the biggest challenge still lay ahead. Everyone wants to know how we got Viola and her dress to Vaughan Mills. Good question! I too wondered how it would be done. In short, we were very careful. And I should have rented a cargo van. The trickiest element (because it was heaviest with flowers and had to remain upright) - and the one photo I didn’t get - was Viola’s legs, sewn into the bottom half of her skirt. A full week has passed since this all happened, and I’m still experiencing waves of relief that the skirt arrived at the mall intact. Thank you, my magical clown car, and thank you, my superhuman husband.
On opening night, after all the set up was done, the floral designers and their supporters gathered again to marvel giddily at each other’s work and celebrate a job well done. Champagne flowed and hors d’oeuvres were nibbled (inhaled). Know this: Fleurs de Villes throws a great party!
Not surprisingly, as much as I enjoyed the party, the most rewarding part of this experience was returning to the Vaughan Mills over the next few days and chatting with mallgoers as I tended to my flowers. As people wandered among the mannequins trying to decide which was their favourite, I frequently overheard, “Oh the flowers are real?!” “Omigosh it smells so good in here!” “<sharp intake of breath>”.
And then, five days after Viola and her 14 friends made their debut, it was all over. I dismantled my mannequin, brought the dress back to the workshop to recycle and compost what I could, and sat down to write to you.
Is it crazy that I’m already planning for next year’s Fleurs de Villes? I’m thinking more seasonal, more Ontario-grown, more fantastic for 2019...
In the meantime, it’s back to seeding and transplanting. Out in the garden, I’m starting to get plants into the ground (and fighting with the squirrels to keep them there), the narcissus patch is about ready to burst, and the tulips are doing their very best to make it to the May 12 Toronto Flower Market season opener!
Yes! This year I’ll be back at Shaw Park with the TFM gang on May 12, May 26, and October 6! Get excited.
When I write to you again, my post will be full of SPRING. Until then, thanks for reading, Gang!
I am Allison, intrepid leader of Posy Gang. Let's have a conversation about flowers and weddings and small business and everything else! I'll start with my thoughts...