Fleurology

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Fleurology

During the fashionable spring racing carnival in Melbourne, it was see and be seen' at the races...but there was another event that saw fashionable fillies' dressing up for one of the most unique events of the spring season.

Black tie glamour was the order of the day at Myer Mural Hall, and the much coveted invitation produced a veritable 'who's who' of fashion designers, entrepreneurs, media and leading stylists who came together to welcome and celebrate one of the finest floral visionaries in the world today, Jeff Leatham.

Immaculately attired staff greeted guests at the door to Mural Hall with Veuve Clicquot champagne in three different types of crystal glasses, all neatly arranged in graduating heights on a silver tray.

There was a buzz of conversation in the air as guests enjoy delicious pre-dinner canapes. And in the middle of it all was the guest of honor, Jeff Leatham, looking resplendent and eye-catching in his white tuxedo. He's a handsome and charming American with a softly spoken voice and twinkling eyes and he mingled easily with guests before the double doors to the famous art deco ballroom were opened to reveal Jeff's creative talents.

Jeff's reputation had preceeded his arrival in Australia for the launch of the Waterford Crystal ‘fleurology' range. From his award-winning work as Artistic Director at The Four Seasons hotel in Paris to his floral designs for celebrity brides and clients such as Eva Longoria, Chelsea Clinton, Oprah, Madonna and Kylie Minogue, his talent seemingly knows no bounds.

But it's his exciting collaboration with Waterford on the ‘Fleurology' range of stunning crystal vases, that has brought Jeff to Australia as an Ambassador for the Waterford brand. The Myer Mural Hall, with its soaring ceilings, timeless architecture and priceless murals on the walls lends itself to grandeur. And oh, what a vision Jeff had brought to life! One long table had been set for 150 guests in a jaw dropping display of richly coloured flowers, abundant in both the number of blooms and the height and depth of their colour and vibrancy. Spectacular floral arrangements overflowed from a glittering array of over $65,000 worth of coloured ‘fleurology' Waterford crystal vases of differing heights and colours; red, blue, green and crystal clear.

The lighting has been set to maximise each facet of the crystal and several vases lay upon elevated mirrored bases, giving an endless reflection of the beautiful centrepieces. Interspersed between the vases were thousands of rose petals which formed a decadent and rich table runner. His collaboration with Melbourne florist, Flowers Vasette, produced a cornicopia of colour, with roses, orchids, Cala lily and peonies.

It was decadent, bold and opulent; everything you'd expect from a man as talented as Jeff Leatham, who's known as a visionary of his craft, a leader and a rule-breaker, and who's creative style (particularly the angled blooms at The Four Seasons Paris) has so often been imitated.?Such a luscious environment lends itself to a decadent menu and The Big Group had prepared a sumptuous three course meal of shredded duck topped with ribbons of green and white spring asparagus, a main course of butter poached lobster on a lemon and avocado creme followed by a hazelnut mascarpone and fresh blackberry semi-fredo dessert. And of course, there were the free-flowing wines (with a particularly delicious Pinot Noir!)

But it was Jeff the crowd wanted to hear from, and he didn't disappoint when he took the microphone. He was humble, sincere and at times, emotional as he talked about his journey.

We could hear the evident passion he has for his craft in his voice, but it's this passion, combined with his genuine charm and unbridled talent that's as intoxicating as any flower. It makes me look forward to seeing him in Paris next year, when I'll be able to see his floral art installations in person, in Paris, at The Four Seasons George V hotel. I'm already looking forward to experiencing the same sense of ‘joie de vive' he so freely shared with us here in Australia.