NEW YORK – Between growing up the granddaughter of modern master Marc Chagall and earning a Ph.D. in Medieval art history from the Sorbonne, Bella Meyer has always kept art and beauty at the forefront of her life. As founder and creative director of Fleurs Bella, the Greenwich Village shop she opened in 2005, she brings her experience and keen eye to the world of flowers. Meyer, who hosted a floral arranging workshop at Sotheby’s this past Sunday, also created signature entrance pieces for Sotheby’s Designer Showhouse and Auction, on view now in our New York galleries. “They’re quite minimal and organic, with a big explosion of wavy branches and white blooms," she says of the flora she chose for the Showhouse. "I wanted them to look modern, young and alive." We spoke with Meyer about her aesthetic, arranging tips and why every home needs flowers.
BELLA MEYER, HOSTING A FLOWER-ARRANGING WORKSHOP AT SOTHEBY'S. PHOTO: COLIN MILLER
What do you think flowers bring to a space?
Joy. Peace. Life. Beauty. A very special warm feeling.
How would you describe your aesthetic as a florist?
Even though I try to be as minimal and monochromatic as possible, I always tend to have some whimsical touches. It’s very important to me that each arrangement tell a story. I enjoy pretty arrangements, but I also want mine to have movement and exude energy.
You have a strong, very direct connection to art – how has that affected your work?
More and more I realize that when I talk about arrangements, I speak in artistic terms – colours, movement, energy, story. In a way, it’s as if I were painting. When I realized quite late in life that I wanted to work with flowers, it was really to use the texture and mysterious richness of each bloom to beautify the world.
What’s your advice for people who are just learning to arrange flowers?
Choose very few or only one colour – you should try to respect each flower’s colour and texture. I like for them to talk together if there are different varieties in a single arrangement. Don't just group them for no reason. Also, remember to cut the stems right before you put them in fresh water so they can drink. Even the highest-quality flowers will die if you don’t take care of them.
Do you have any tips for integrating flowers into a room?
If you are in a space with art, you have to consider the feeling of the artwork and the room. Do you really want to put an Elizabethan kind of arrangement next to a Warhol? It might not fit.