Floral designer Dianthus on her love for kaftans and why gifting flowers will never go out of style.
Please tell us about your personal style …
My personal style is greatly defined by comfort and ease of movement, in delicious fabrics you want to touch and occasionally a beautiful print. I laughingly call it ‘homeless luxe’ and I cannot tell you how excruciatingly agreeable it feels.
How has your style changed over the years?
I think I would consider my past styles to be more flamboyant, wildly expressive, outlandish in colour, a high hem and possibly even higher heels in the days of olde. In these days of self-professed old-er, I prefer the understated sensuality and ease of a silk kaftan, an exposed shoulder, and maybe some sultry flats, on a sultry night. My ankles have finally earned their well deserved dignity.
Who are your go-to designers and why?
I love Camilla, because I adore slip dresses and kaftans with unabashed enthusiasm, they feel both liberating and alluring, plus there’s always an exciting print that tickles. Théa I delight in for its Grecian goddess-inspired designs- I do love that a seemingly large piece of silk, can be pleated and draped so intricately that Persephone might wear it to harvest wheat. And Kalita is wonderful for flowing silhouettes and holiday day dreaming.
Do you dress for work or does the job define what you wear?
I will say that I dress for work, and the job does also define what I wear. I find that if I feel a comfortable ease throughout the day, so do my flowers. If my choice of dress doesn’t obstruct and is without encumbrances, billows and floats about, it does encourage the work to move more fluently too.
Please tell us about your journey as a floral designer. Why a floral designer? You used to study literature.
Well! The beginning of this arduous journey, by all accounts would seem to be predestined. Born into a very established flower business, named ‘Flower of the Gods’ at birth, a name so overwhelming and unpronounceable at large, anyone would think it serendipitous kismet to become a floral designer, and at 36 I’ll finally admit that it is. If I had my way (all the way) I would be buried deep in books reading Romantic Languages, writing long letters to imaginary friends in longhand calligraphy. But as fate should have it, flowers are my romantic language in which I wax lyrical and where my interpretations of it can run wild and deep. The provocation of this well defined identity of florist/family business has made independence and artistic credibility my greatest pursuit to date. On the cusp of 37, there is a serenity in being known as and called Dianthus.
Please define your (floral) design aesthetic. What makes you different?
What makes me different I hope, is that I live, breathe and think in flowers. It is very much living art to me. My work aspires to be ‘always harmonious’ no jarring notes, very dreamy, seamless, and unexacting. This ostensibly effortless lushness takes more effort than I can say. I have a profound respect for these alive creatures I have the privilege to call my medium, and I want them to be their best versions always.
You’ve done numerous home décor for parties. Do you have any tips for decorating your home?
Yes, in fact, if I have a tip at all, I would say, focal points in a home will lead you in the wonderful direction of where to decorate. I love flowers, and to appreciate them better is to have them well placed, at just the right height for easy conversation, at the entrance for an ostentatious welcome perhaps, a touch of something scented in the powder room maybe, always a little detail without overcrowding is best. If you’re throwing a party, asking about potential allergies of guests is not only encouraged, but prudent. It would make for an effervescent evening to go with types of flowers that will not offend a sensitive palette. Nothing overtly perfumed for a dining table where people will linger- leave that for a foyer, for example.
Do you think flowers will ever go out of style as gifts? Are flowers overrated?
I hope that they will stay a relevant expression of gifting but perhaps as people become more creative with their presents, by way of service, product, donations in lieu, flowers may very well bloom in the shade every so often. In all fairness, there would seem to be no reason that they should suddenly become overrated, since they’ve always been a perishable type of giving, no surprises there, though they are rife with feeling! Living in the riotous din of a dusty city, having a touch of nature anywhere in the home, is a very grounding, calming feeling to have, so I’m quite certain they’re here to stay, to convey warm sentiments with their fleeting beauty.