I was absolutely gutted last year when I saw online so many wonderful photos of Chelsea in Bloom, that this year I put it in my diary and made sure I could go and see as many displays as possible. For those of you that don’t know what this event is, it’s Chelsea’s prestigious annual floral art show, and there is no better way to celebrate the start of summer than visiting Chelsea in Bloom.
There were so many fantastic individual events happening as part of the entire main event, such as British artist Rachel Nettles collection of her beautiful and incredibly life-like fruit and vegetable sculptures showcased at Anthropologie on the Kings Rd to store specific meet and greets, pop up shops, champagne, cake and biscuit tasting, and private shopping previews at stores such as Liz Earle, Kate Spade and Anya Hindmarch.
Of course the highlight of the event is the actual floral displays themselves, that are created in all manner of ways. You could take a tour of the entire event by foot, or by Rickshaw making sure to not miss any of the entrants and participants, which lead all the way towards Knightsbridge. You couldn’t really miss the key highlights such as the giant Amazonian Parrot by the Saachi Gallery, to the Carnival beach and head dress outside the tube at Sloane Square. All you had to do was look for colour to see who was participating and entering the window display competition.
As we tied this into our trip to the Chelsea Flower show, we decided to visit that first and then take a tour of the streets afterwards. And we weren’t disappointed in the slightest. Wow, some of the displays were just amazing, so I’ve captured a selection of my favourites below, most of which focused on a real street carnival theme with bright, bold colours.
Incredible entrance into Anthropologie, with a delicate, intricate yet awe inspiring display of paper cut flowers.
Jigsaw’s fun and playful windows and the Amazonian Parrot.
Foliage backdrop by Joseph, and a simple decal by Zara.
M&S’s fruity display, and Sweaty Betty even partaking in the action.
Inspired by the traditional Brazilian carnival flag bearers, Monica Vinader won Best Floral Display.
Hackett putting on a pretty impressive exterior floral display, and winning Silver. They also had some fantastic displays within the windows, where mannequins acted as part of a musical band playing instruments such as drums and trumpets all filled with flowers and set of a backdrop of bright coloured stripes. Very eye-catching!
Peter Jones creating a Carnival themed window, inspired by the varied choice of colourful cocktail drinks and laid back party feel at the Copacabana Beach in Brazil.
Liz Earle won the People’s Champion Award for this Carnivearle display adorning the front of their store, while Sarah Chapman won an Innovation Award for her quirky exterior display.
Gorgeous, lush green displays by Rag and Bone act as a great backdrop and outside showcase for the product.
Smythson, featuring plenty of floral and paper parrots, featuring both outside and inside the window.
Tiffany created little, vivid and colourful displays to nestle their small yet expensive accessories on.
Gorgeous displays by Emma Hope and Tom Davies opticians.
A fun display of floral swimwear by Heidi Klein, the well known floral heads by Poetry, and this entirely green headress made from foliage outside the door entrance to Moyses Stevens.
Two final displays which reminded me of some of the grass style topiary I saw at the Flower Show. This cute elephant curated and styled out of moss making his way out of the window of The Little White Company was really clever, I liked the way he looked like he was coming towards you as the shutters opened. Then I finished by seeing Brora displaying speakers and a musical display representing the Notting Hill Carnival blasting reggae music out as their way of showcasing a Carnival themed window with a British edge.
What I think is really lovely about this event is firstly how it allows smaller and some less known brands to showcase themselves and get noticed, but it also allows collaboration between different artisans to create amazing displays. So here we have artists, and florists working alongside Retail creative and VM teams to create these amazing showcases. It also allows the art of window display to shine through, and I think is a celebration of how important window displays still are to the retail save and high street. It’s great to see brands participating, smaller shops getting involved, and even restaurants such as The Ivy adorning the out and inside of their restaurant in flowers. What I also like is the 3D nature of the event, allowing displays to spill out onto the pavement, and allowing stores to not be restricted by their inside space, but to allow them to come out onto the pavement and in turn entice us in!
You can see more about the event, and also more of the displays I didn’t showcase and who won the awards at the Chelsea in Bloom website. You can also see previous years showcases in the archive section, and see amazing displays such as the incredible flamingos by Kate Spade! Can’t wait for next year!