HOW I MAKE IT WORK: FLORAL DESIGNER GEMMA HAYDEN BLEST
Gemma Hayden-Blest is a floral designer: a dreamy job description that means she uses botanicals as her medium to create everything from hand-pressed artworks to installations for major hotel and retail brands. A fellow Brit, Gemma studied fashion design in London (where she went onto train under Alexander McQueen and Christopher Bailey) before moving to Hong Kong and eventually ending up in LA - the place our paths first crossed. Among many other things, Gemma was responsible for the beautiful florals at the original pop-up of The WW Club. Here's how she Makes It Work.
Gemma Hayden Blest
Los Angeles // Hong Kong
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Being mesmerised by my subject on a daily basis.
AND THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF IT?
Patience. Manipulating a flower to do what you want takes a lot of time and understanding.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAREER OR INDUSTRY WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT?
Skill doesn't outweigh individuality.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT THUS FAR?
Any of the editorial campaigns I've worked on. I love seeing my flowers in print - captured before they wilt.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY UNIFORM CONSIST OF?
Vintage florals - on theme and sympathetic to pollen stains and dirt.
THE INDISPENSABLE TOOL OF YOUR TRADE
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
I started my career in fashion design and my research techniques haven't changed. Most of my colour palettes come from fashion editorials or artwork.
WHO’S YOUR PROFESSIONAL HERO (AND WHY)?
Alexander McQueen - I interned for him when I had just finished university and his attention to detail and beauty has stayed with me ever since.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNT ABOUT MONEY AND
If you focus on what you love, the money will flow.
HOW DO YOU STAY ORGANISED? ANY TIPS OR TRICKS OR ‘HACKS’ TO SHARE?
Lists, lists and more lists. For my line of work it's all about time management and leaving the flowers to the last possible minute - buying, cutting, arranging. In the rush to make sure everything is as fresh as possible, there is no time to have forgotten anything.
WHAT BOOKMARKED WEBSITE OR ONLINE ARTICLE DO YOU ALWAYS REVISIT? PLEASE SHARE THE LINK!
Most of the floral research I do is in art galleries, fashion magazines or Instagram. Some of the accounts I look at daily are...
@renhangrenhang / @chaufacetime / @theacademynewyork / @brrch_floral / @doctorcooper / @hotcactus_la / @thornmagazine / @sarah_winward / @frost_french / @zioxla / @ruby_marylennox / @arielealasko
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Pick up the phone. I'm terrible at it but some things need chasing.
WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
When clients stop giving you briefs and come to you for your ideas.