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Floral Fusion: Interview with Mark Colle

Designer Mark Colle, one of the most sought-after florists in the world, knows how to transform long-forgotten flowers into amazing installations. This has gained him international recognition and made him the No.1 choice for top couture houses. LIGANOVA met the man behind the Fashion Flowers.

Floral Fusion: Interview with Mark Colle

Behind-the-scenes view of floral business: Mark Colle, who runs flower shop Baltimore Bloemen, has designed floral arrangements for the biggest names in fashion, from Raf Simons at Jil Sander and Dior, to Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten he is the flower whisperer of the fashion world. Mark Colle captured the audience at presentation of Jil Sander Fall/Winter 12/13 in Milan by highlighting the collection with flower arrangements in plexiglass cubes. The Belgian flower designer talks about flower trends, creative work process and teenage.



Credit: anothermag.com / Header: Andy De Decker


When did you get first in touch with flower business?

Some eighteen years ago, at the age of 15. I was a bit of a juvenile delinquent at the time, I had way too much energy and was constantly running around doing things kids that age are not supposed to. Eventually I started helping out in a local flower shop to earn some extra cash. I actually liked it a lot right from the beginning, I learned how to concentrate and therefore it calmed me down. I`ve been working with flowers ever since.



Credit: Mark Colle // Chantal Hughes 


How would you describe your creative work process?

I’m not really sure if there is a process as such. Something just grabs me in a split second, and this can really be anything: the chorus in a song or something in the opening credits of a television series, even the way someone’s groceries are arranged in his or her shopping cart while walking down the aisle in a supermarket or just plain and simple the mood I’m in when I have to make these certain artistic decisions. And then I hang on to this or that feeling or image or whatever it is that struck me in the first place, and take it from there.



Credit: Mark Colle 


What are your associations to springtime?

Obviously a fresh start. Winter always depresses me but spring definitely has something promising, refreshing and energizing about it. And people are in general a lot nicer to have around you.


 Would you say, that you occupy a niche by collaborating with designers like Raf Simons?

I’m not sure if I’m interested in occupying a niche. I very much enjoy doing my own thing. The pressure of having to please everybody all the time is very hard. Considering I’m a florist I know that is what I’m supposed to do but the real beauty of the collaboration with Raf is that there was this mutual understanding and trust in each other. We did not have to discuss each and every single detail in order to make the whole thing work. It just happened. It was beautiful.



Credit: Mark Colle // Evi Karatza Adores


What is your source of inspiration? Do you have any role models in the flower business?

If I’d have any rolemodels, they would not be situated in the florist world. I’m still very much into anarchy. To me it’s just more interesting to have something clash rather than to have unity. People immidiately say: oh these flowers don’t go together at all, but in doing so they fail to notice a certain beauty and that bothers me sometimes. I guess my true role model (and actually the reason I called my store Baltimore) is American film director John Waters, whom I’ve gotten good friends with over the years. One of the last few people I know who puts stuff out there without being afraid of the concequences. People are just too scared of opinions nowadays.



Credit: Mark Colle


Fresh flowers are short-lived. What ist the special challenge in creating flower arrangements beside the limited lifetime?

The only real challenge I see in creating what I do is unleashing emotions. I do not consider myself an artist at all but eventually what I really aim for is for people to be moved by what I do. Maybe even in a bad way, I don’t know, aslong as they don’t stay neutral.


What are the latest flower trends?

Current trends are that people tend to go back to a more natural approach, for example flowers are arranged like you would have picked them yourself in the garden and just tied them together like that, rather than having complicated compositions. Almost in a childlike manner so to speak, beautiful chaos. Also, people want color color color (maybe because these are rather hard or depressing times we live in at the moment).



Credit: Mark Colle


Do you have a flowerbed yourself in the garden?

I have a rooftop terrace where I keep plants in pots. I would really like to have a garden. I find the idea of gardening very appealing and it must be very relaxing, a form of meditation even. I can see myself gardening, in a good few years, when I have calmed down a bit.


What are your plans for the near future? Maybe opening another flower shop like Baltimore Bloemen?

There are two shops now, both in Antwerp. There are no definite plans as far as more shops in Belgium are concerned. But there is definitely all kinds of stuff going on. There are other fashion collaborations in the pipeline, but I can’t really disclose any more information yet.

18 / 08 / 2014 // by LigaStudios Team


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