Q: This month we’re getting ready for the annual HD Expo and without giving too much away, flowers will be on set. How and where did the inspiration to incorporate flowers come to be?
Allison Barry: In an effort to remain relevant, I try and stay up on fashion, art and pop culture. This is especially doable in a different city, with a different time zone and a Netflix account. In the fall, I stumbled across the documentary by Frederic Tcheng called “Dior et moi” aka “Dior and I” (for the single lingual such as myself). It was beautiful and followed Raf Simons and the production of his first haute couture collection for the house of Dior. What struck me was Raf’s incorporation of art and flowers into his show and how totally immersive it was.
The visual experience within this documentary stuck with me and I started thinking about flowers as the backdrop, as the canvas and as the main attraction… and that is all I shall say about that! (Stop by our booth during HD Expo, booth #2923 to see how it all comes to life.)
Q: You’re an avid traveler, right? Where are some of your favorite floral adventures?
Allison Barry: I still like to get on a plane, yes. My Mom was a TWA flight attendant for over 30 years and my brother and I used to walk the aisles, collecting cans and passing out mints. Not much has changed.
As for floral adventures, my favorite is actually the local farmers market. While it sounds like a Nancy Meyers film (love those BTW), if I’m home on Sunday morning, we get on the bikes and pedal over to our favorite stand, run by these two gentlemen from Central California. They have such a varied offering of flowers including Ranunculus, Bells of Ireland, Lisianthus, Daffodils, garden roses, Hydrangeas and if luck is on our side, Peonies
Casting a wider net for floral domination, I’d suggest the Keukenhof in Holland for tulips, I vote the French kind. Earlier this year, I gained a new found appreciation for Protea following a life-changing trip to South Africa. I love the Paris flower markets, especially when they have Celosia, the flowers that look like brains and Singapore Botanic Gardens have orchids that are unmatched! If you want Birds of Paradise, pop into the Napili Farmers Market on Maui and if lavender is your thing, Santa Ynez, CA offers a glorious farm. And when in doubt, go to Trader Joes…everything comes up roses in that place.
Protea from South Africa
Q: If you were going to create a signature floral fragrance, what would be in your mix?
Allison Barry: Oh, the pressure! I’d say anything warm and musky. Jasmine, tuberose, vanilla, and amber have all got my number. If I’m leaving it to the experts, I’d suggest the following:
Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford, Fracas by Robert Piguet, Datura Noir By Serge Lutens, Acqua di Colonia Vanilla by Santa Maria Novella and Millesime Imperial by Creed. I’ve clearly come a long way from my Electric Youth days!
Q: Obvious question, but we have to ask – do you have a favorite flower?
Allison Barry: Peonies as they are rare-ish, bold and delicate with great color! Ranunculus because of my Grandfather, the horticulturalist, and gardenias and jasmine as they remind me of home.
Family time at the Napili Farmers Market
Q: Who are your favorite artists? What artists/works would you have in your dream collection?
Allison Barry: Rene Magritte, Fernando Botero, Henri Matisse, Edite Grinberga and anything painted by my son, Oliver. My dream collection, pending much larger walls at my house, would include anything by the aforementioned artists with the addition of The Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, currently housed at Musee de l’Orangerie.
Q: If you were hosting a dinner party for 6 people – who would you invite? And what would the centerpiece be?
Allison Barry: Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, Madonna, Abraham Lincoln, Audrey Hepburn, and my Grandmother, Omi. The centerpiece would consist of a large bouquet of “just opened” peonies, an odd number of them and all in a single color. Que the champagne and French fries and voila, Bob’s your uncle!