Alongside the excitement of London Fashion Week, Neill explains his passion for fashion and its influence on his floral work.
When I established the brand Neill Strain Floral Couture in 2008, I had a light-bulb moment when it came to naming the business. I have always loved fashion and I chose the most fashionable neighborhood in London as the location for my flower boutique. With Tom Ford and Valentino around the corner on Sloane Street and being a stone's throw from Harrods, Belgravia seemed the right place for a young Irish lad with a passion for design to settle in London!
I watched and admired Haute Couture for many years and I realized that combining this prestigious, glamourous style to floral design was the perfect way to convey the essence of my floral work. Our signature style is elegant and opulent, as is Haute Couture.
As you can imagine, September is one of my favourite months... while I love the autumnal flowers, the ripe berries and richly-coloured foliages, it's the London Fashion Week that inspires me most. I am delighted to see on the catwalks this month many florals for the 2015 Collections.
There are bold floral prints, delicate embroidery-like florals, a blending of different textures, long sinuous lines reminiscent of Art Nouveau. Sometimes delicate. Sometimes demanding. Exotic and exquisite.
Haute Couture has inspired me to make lavish gowns of fresh flowers. When a bride dreams of a wedding that really stands out from the rest, or when a celebrity or hostess wishes to be dressed in a gown that is unlike any other, then we create fresh floral Haute Couture. What could be more unique than a gown that will last for only one day, one occasion...
The influence of Haute Couture in my work is not limited to creating fresh floral dresses and wedding work. I take the current trends of using colour and texture in fashion and transpose these into our Hand Tied Bouquets and Arrangements in the boutique. I am very influenced by the seasons for our choice of flowers but I also like to play with colour palettes and varying textures to create a "wow" factor or dramatic effect. For example, I found Christopher Kane's use of colour in his recent Collection quite inspirational. Tom Ford is another of my favourite designers for his talent with texture. I like to bring the drama of the catwalk into my floral installations.
If you have a special occasion which calls for something really unusual, please pop into the boutique or give us a call and let's discuss ideas for a fresh floral gown or floral decorations inspired by your favourite fashion designer.