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With an impressive résumé behind him already, Neill Strain has made more strides in floristry than many others can boast. From celebrity arrangements to haute couture floristry, it seems there’s nothing the London-based florist can’t do.
It’s an understatement to say that Neill Strain has made his mark in floristry. Business is booming at the Neill Strain Floral Couture store, “The Flower Lounge”. Celebrity clientele keep knocking and creative projects continue coming his way.
While his talent and flair for design are undeniable, Neill’s passion for flowers began brewing at a young age. For as long as he can remember, he’s loved flowers. “I’ve always been infatuated,” he says. He’s pursued his passion for flowers around the globe, studied floral design at the highest international levels and today, when looking around his enchanting flower boutique in fashionable Belgravia, it’s easy to see that his hard work has paid off.
While his career may have reached heights that many florists only dream of, he’s certainly not slowing down anytime soon. So long as the creative projects continue to roll in, Neill is more than happy to put his floral artistry to work. With the likes of Valentino and Joan Collins listed amongst his clientele, he isn’t short of exciting projects to work on. “Given our international Royalty and celebrity clientele, we are quite spoiled for creative projects. This is one of the most exciting aspects of my business,” he says. Recently, Lady Gaga added herself to his list of celebrity clientele, with a floral commission for her close friend, Donatella Versace.
Lady Gaga asked me to create Donatella Versace’s initials “DV” from fresh Gardenias, Roses & Orchids.” “This was a spectacular assignment, including its delivery and set-up in Milan,” he says. Even when facing huge celebrity projects, he never lets the pressures of the job get in his way. “(It’s) pure excitement! I really enjoy working with this clientele as they are creative and allow me to embark on exceptionally inspiring projects,” he says.
While Valentino shops for Neill Strain Floral Couture flowers at The Flower Lounge when in London and Joan Collins enjoys popping in to view the seasonal displays, it’s not all about famous names. The haute couture floral designer oozes creativity and any opportunity to get his creative juices flowing has an immediate lure. “I love working with creative people and some of my clients work in other creative fields, beyond flowers, and our joint ventures are very inspiring,” he says. One recent project saw Neill work on an assignment for The White Gallery in London with award-winning dress designer, Ian Stuart. Together, the talented pair pooled their respective skills together to create an intricate haute couture dress, exuding high fashion sophistication.
"We created a gown that combined the grace and elegance of Marie-Antoinette with a contemporary London luxury look”, he says “Given our brand name, Floral Couture, making Haute Couture with fresh flowers is exhilarating!” Inspiration is a necessary evil when it comes to creative design but Neill has no shortage of avenues to search down for his creative boosts. “My main sources of inspiration are nature, with its distinctive seasons, and fashion."
Living and working in one of the world’s high fashion neighbourhoods, with big names such as Harrods, the Sloane Street boutiques of Tom Ford, Valentino, Prada, Fendi and many more lining the streets, inspiration is waiting just around the corner for the Belgravia-based floral designer. “I find inspiration in the trends of colour and texture as well as the styles and moods of each season’s collections.” “London in general, and Belgravia in particular, boast many green parks and I enjoy my short walk to work through Belgrave Square where the trees, shrubs and plants perfectly display the changing seasons,” he says. Looking to neighbouring countries for inspiration also assists his creative process.
“I also enjoy a privileged relationship with my suppliers in Holland who offer me an extraordinary range of the highest quality flowers and foliage,” “These alone are inspirational in every season,” he says. With such exciting projects behind him already, it begs the question – What’s next for Neill Strain? Are there intriguing projects ahead for us to look forward to? “Yes, but it’s too early to reveal at the moment!” he says. Better stay tuned then.