The Floral Studio is Blooming Announcing 2nd Location Silvermine Art Center
April 18, 2018
Peonies Make Dreams Come True
June 5, 2015
14 New Floral Design Classes
September 7, 2018
Magic, Fashion and Floral Art
February 1, 2015
Kurt Rausch, premier floral designer and interior advisor to the fashion elite, with clients including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, and Barneys New York and A-list New Yorkers, sat down with me on a cold and blustery afternoon at Mangia Cafe’ to chat about our passion… flowers, the floral design industry and the 28th Street Floral Market in the Big Apple. For close to 2 hours I was in floral heaven with talk about flowers, floral art, sources of inspiration, code of ethics and current floral trends.
Kurt is a graduate of the Master program at the exclusive Fachschule fuer Blumenkunst in Weihenstephan, Germany. On arriving 20 years ago in the US, he found that his classical European training and education along with his impeccable sense of style set him apart from floral designers of the day. His code of work ethics of offering his client the most exquisite flower sourcing, combined with master trend setting floral styling has Kurt designing in the rarefied air of fashion icons. He made the point that being on time, proper dress attire, polished shoes, respect of clients time and property are among the keys to his success in creating works of floral magic for the world's most recognizable names.
Magic… and the rest was floral design history.
Kurt Rausch at Yves Saint Laurent
Kurt’s career began in a Speedo bathing suit in the swimming pool of publisher Bob Guccione. His design challenge was to decorate the pool’s surface with fresh floating flowers without them being sucked into the filtering system. Now that was no small task, for the pool had a running stream of water down the middle. His first work of floral art here in the states was thought to be magic. Magic indeed - by attaching each individual flower to thin fishing line and anchoring them to the bottom of pool, Kurt created the appearance of flowers floating effortlessly on the surface, and the rest is floral design style history.
As a fellow floral designer I wanted to know what inspires this megawatt designer at 5 am in the 28th Street Floral Market week after week … what makes it possible for him to design at the level of excellence his clients require for over 20 years…what makes this master craftsmen tick? And my burning question: do Flowers follow Fashion?
In answering, Kurt shared with me that for his fashion clients he takes his inspiration from their current fashion collections for the up coming season. The creative process begins with having access to show rooms and look books along with one on one discussion with the designers themselves regarding how the brand is to be portrayed for the upcoming season. Kurt finds this process always gives him “a key tone or color hue that can be beautifully transferred into an outstanding floral design”.
…Like is it modern or modern with a twist.
For the private residences of his elite clientele and always fabulous fashion events, his inspiration springs from his understanding of the architecture of the space to be decorated…like is it modern or modern with a twist... and whether his client’s personal style is contemporary or traditional. Also taken into consideration is which color, texture and proportions would work best in creating floral art for the room or event.
Talking about floral material Kurt made a point that for his trend setting clients he always takes the seasonal approach, meaning he designs only with the freshest and most beautiful seasonal flowers available in the 28th Street Floral Market. “The intrinsic value of that moment when a flower naturally grows is very important to me as a designer… I am a designer that likes a flower as it is. I do not like a flower to be tortured, twisted or wired…bent out of its natural shape in any way”.
His photographic memory of his client’s space, what arrangements need to be designed and the budget are all thrown into the formula when he goes to the market at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning to source floral material. “I try not to repeat material… I try to be current. I try to be on the cusp of a season… so when peonies do come into season I have the first bunch so the client feels special - it's exclusive, no one else has it at that moment”. Kurt continued to say that to be able to offer his clients this exclusivity in floral material is the very reason he is in the market so early in the morning, for there are limited quantities of top floral material available, unlike the floral markets of Europe where designers have access to the best quality and the newest hybrids of floral material on a daily basis.
…Not just a one- night stand
Addressing client relationships with regard to budget, his mantra is less is more. “This approach may not be the best economical approach on the outset, but when a designer is true to his client, true to themselves, this makes clients very, very happy. We are talking here about a lasting relationship, a twenty -year relationship… not just a one-night stand. It is more fun when you are true to yourself…the true florist, the true artist. When you create with this in mind it makes sense for you…when you stay true to your training, your taste and your personal style…. you are in very good shape for a successful career”.
I discussed with Kurt my feelings that to be a success in this business you have to love, love, love what you do and his response was yes - it must be full throttle. “For new designers they need to know if they are to thrive and survive they must love each day. I am in it 110% for 35 years and it sill does not bother me to get up at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and get to the floral market… I show up ready to rock and roll and do the tango. As a matter of fact I was in the Flower Market at 5am during the last blizzard here in New York…the Market was completely closed, the city was completely shut down. But I was ready”.
Part Two of this amazing interview will be posted March 1, 2015. For more info and pictures check out: www.kurtrausch.com and follow him on Facebook and Instragram.