With a portfolio that boasts best-selling books, work for high-profile clients, and frequent television appearances, it is more than likely that at one time or another, you have encountered Preston Bailey’s immaculate work. It is hard to imagine that the first ten years of his career as a floral designer were spent working out of his one bedroom New York apartment. Years later, Preston Bailey Designs would come to occupy three floors of a building in New York City where Blush was invited to shoot our Fall|Winter 2012 cover in collaboration with Preston and his team. Although his work has been shared on the covers of several international publications, his work with Blush is the first cover that Preston has done with a Canadian magazine.
While it has taken some time to establish and develop a relationship between Preston and Blush, everything seemed to change drastically, over one weekend. We had introduced ourselves much earlier, had visited the studio and e-mailed, but it was only upon meeting in person that our future would be determined. A special guest at the Edmonton Bridal Expo, Preston also launched his most recent book, Flowers, in Edmonton. At the end of his trip to Edmonton, Preston extended an invitation to our editor-in-chief to work together; an invitation that she graciously accepted. Speaking in reference to Blush, Preston shares that when he saw the magazine, he said “‘oh my god this is beautiful’ and being the subtle person that I am, I said ‘why don’t we do a cover?’”
Like many in the wedding and event industry, Blush is amongst the many admirers of the awe-inspiring work of Preston Bailey. His opulent designs and intricate floral mastery inspire brides and the event industry alike, so to be granted an opportunity of this magnitude was completely unexpected. We wanted to share the news with everyone that Preston Bailey, The Preston Bailey, had invited us to work with him on the most elaborate cover and photo shoot Blush has ever done, but we waited until we were finally in New York. As a result, this was Blush’s best kept secret.
We are excited that Alberta’s brides and grooms will be introduced to the remarkable work of Preston Bailey, through his collaboration with Blush. With six months of careful planning, we shot our cover at Preston’s New York studio at the beginning of April. We travelled across the continent to meet the final members of our New York based team, a team that we had only met over the telephone and e-mail.
The day before the shoot, we were invited to visit the workroom where preparations were underway. Buckets were filled with the 435 beautiful stems that were flown in from California and transported from New York’s floral district the day before. The finest blooms of peony, hydrangea, roses, calla lilies, stock, and poppies were used on the two headpieces and cascading bouquet designed specifically for our cover. It is hard to believe that the pieces were designed on set, without so much as a sketch. With a floral designer and an accompanying assistant, it took approximately ten hours to assemble the headpiece alone. When asked how long it typically takes to design something like this, Preston responded saying: “you know the time, it’s interesting. People always ask how long it takes to design something. It doesn’t matter, because it’s fun and seeing it come to life, it’s such a pleasure.”
There’s something very Rio de Janeiro about this design. Inspired by Pantone’s colour of the year, tangerine, we wanted to incorporate the sophisticated, yet playful colour. Traditionally an autumnal hue, the seductive colour suited our overall inspiration for the cover of this special edition. Adhering to the exotic nature of our colour palette, Preston designed a headpiece reminiscent of something adorned by Carmen Miranda. We paired Preston’s exquisite floral design with the “One & Only” gown from designer Reem Acra’s Royals line; the chic ruffled skirt, another touch of Rio. The texture of the various flowers used, the layers of the bridal gown on the surface of the white wall and old hardwood floors combined to create increased depth in the photograph. This was our first destination shoot, and quite possibly the most prestigious first shoot that we could have ever hoped for. I may be biased, but I don’t think that this shoot could have been more perfect!