Emily Mathison, creative director of McQueens Flowers New York, breaks down the luxury brand’s most extravagant designs and the trends we’ll see sprouting this year.
Emily Mathison, creative director of McQueens Flowers New York.
McQueens has designed stunning florals and installations for many high-profile events including Vanity Fair’s Oscars afterparty. What’s been a career highlight or one of your favorite designs so far?
I love to do really large-scale installations. We did an incredible wedding in London where we hung 10,000 delphiniums from a ceiling and created this incredible canopy. It was the bride’s mother’s favorite flower—the bride’s mother passed away about four years previously—and [the bride] wanted it to be one area, like a moment to remember her mother.
More recently, as part of the McQueens Flower School, we did a three-day course in Mexico City. We had 50 participants, and we took over this incredible building in the middle of Mexico City. And it’s really, really beautiful… Over the three days, we built the most incredible installation. We had a hanging chandelier, a really elaborate staircase and incredible tablescapes… a flower geek’s kind of dream.
And we also did this incredible portrait of the queen in flowers [10 years ago]. It was sponsored by the Flower Council of Holland, and we did this kind of Andy Warhol-esque portrait, which was really incredible. It was massive.
What floral trends are going to be hot in 2022?
At the beginning of the pandemic, dried florals became more of a thing. But there is definitely this feeling of going back to fresh, seasonal flowers. Seasonality is definitely massive for our clients. Among a lot of our clients, there is definitely a feeling to go back to seasonality and locally grown whenever possible. A lot of people get into the idea of a sense of place, and so we have clients that love New York-grown flowers.
As far as colors go, we’re getting some really interesting color schemes… I think that a lot of brides [in particular] are being slightly more playful with their color schemes, which is not something that I’m used to, but it’s something I’m really enjoying.
What’s something out-of-the-box or an unexpected bloom that readers might not think about when ordering a McQueens arrangement, either for themselves or as a gift?
Especially at this time of year, there’s not that many flowers that are actually fragrant, so something we might recommend to someone [is] to go for a f ragrant foliage. Because flowers are such a primal thing, like when you give somebody a bouquet of flowers, they will bring it to their face and sniff it. And as a florist, and I know that none of those flowers I’ve given are fragrant, people always say, ‘Oh, these smell so great.’
What’s next for McQueens in 2022?
2021 was a really big year. We quietly opened in LA, and this spring we will be opening a storefront, which is very exciting. We have been in the Flower District in New York and will be expanding our New York studio to give us a g round space downtown—somewhere that we can make a really beautiful, very quintessentially British, very London flower studio. So we’re very excited to find two lovely little homes. We’re also going to be bringing the flower school team over from London to do really fabulous workshops here [in New York] early summer. Providing really beautiful, quintessentially British f lowers, lots of incredible parties that we’re going to h ave in New York—there’s lots of exciting things. There’s also so many brilliant weddings that we’ve got coming up. Lots of really gorgeous, flowery events.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF MCQUEENS FLOWERS