Frida Kahlo Inspires Belgravia in Bloom

During the recent RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Belgravia was in full bloom with designs inspired by Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, in light of an exhibition of her personal belongings opening this month at the V&A which is sponsored by Grosvenor.  Neill shares with us his spectacular Frida-inspired installation for which he was awarded Overall Best Floral Display in Belgravia In Bloom.

Neill Strain Floral Couture was awarded Overall Best Floral Display in Belgravia In Bloom with his Frida Kahlo inspired design.

The theme for Belgravia In Bloom this year was "Frida's Belgravia."  Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, was an inspirational theme for me primarily because I love the bright, bold colours of Mexico and the wild textures of Mexican landscapes, the tropical flowers, plants and cacti.   Her 47-year life was rich in experiences as an artist, as a feminist, as a Mexican traditionalist and a political activist, while her personal style was so distinctive that she left us many elements to explore creatively. 

There were several aspects to our Frida installation and I would like to share these with you.  Firstly, the bold arch over the entrance to the boutique is figurative of Frida's floral head-dresses for which she is renowned.  In the luminous colours of Mexico and in Aztec-style shapes, I recreated a giant head-dress with blue Hydrangea, red Anthurium, orange and pale green Dianthus, pink and purple Vanda Orchids, green Chrysanthemums, berries and yellow Bromelia flowers. 

In front of the arch, the display of Birds of Paradise, Sunflowers and Succulents is representative of Frida's garden at the Casa Azul, where she was born and lived with her parents and three sisters, and later returned for the last nine years of her life until her death, aged 47. The blue base of this display is similar to the blue walls of the Casa Azul, as are the blue back drops in our two windows. In this design, I adore the lushness of the blazing coloured flowers against the parched, barren look of the sand and bark with the succulents at the base.

An additional detail in the windows is some fabulous cacti I sourced especially in Holland as no Mexican theme would be complete without cacti! Frida of course had several in her garden at Casa Azul.

Sourcing at the Cacti grower in Holland...

Let's move inside the boutique now and enjoy the colour theme that continues throughout the store meandering across the ceiling to the central and back pillars.

Along with a lavish array of extraordinary flowers, our Frida-themed bouquets and arrangements including some stunning Succulent designs could be viewed to the sound of Mariachi music playing in the background!  Remember, we also have our Frida Collection which can be viewed and ordered online from now until October. 

Magnificent range of cut Orchids are displayed under the rainbow of Mexican Frida-inspired flowers.

The Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up exhibition will open imminently at the V&A on June 16th revealing the iconic artist’s personal artefacts and clothing never seen outside Mexico before.  Frida's Belgravia in Bloom has been a teaser for this exciting exhibit and, as you can imagine, I am absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Overall Best Floral Display.

On another note, you probably know that our Belgravia boutique is currently under refurbishment.  The work will be completed soon but in the meantime you can continue to visit us at the boutique, at our concession at Harrods, order online or give us a call on 020 7235 6469.  

Let's hope Frida brings us a lovely hot Mexican summer!

Florally yours,

Neill x