The Art of the BOUTONNIÈRE
For as long as man has sported a buttonhole in his jacket lapel, he has had an opportunity to wear a flower. In recent years, thanks to the emergence of floral jewelry, the standard single-stem boutonnière has evolved into floral art. Challenged to create something fantastic, allowing men to showcase their unique personalities, floral designers like Alan Masters, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, a floral instructor at Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School in Houston, Texas, and Thaddeus Servantez, AIFD, CFD, owner of Westminster Flowers & Gifts in Westminster, Colo., have begun to create wearable floral art with the hope of creating a lifestyle change in men’s accessories.
Thanks to social media and Servantez’s love of wearing over-the-top boutonnières, his brides started to request unique florals for their grooms. “With today’s weddings, we are not seeing men wearing flowers,” explains Servantez. “Men really only get a tuxedo and maybe a piece of jewelry or an old pocket square. If they wear anything, it is something different. What I love to do is create something stylish and artistic for the groom that really stands out and is noticed. Every bride wants an element of art. A boutonnière can become an artistic piece that gives the groom a more visual presence.”
By incorporating decorative wire, the focal area is shifted from the flower to a more masculine element. “The boutonnières, even though unique, still complement the overall vision of the wedding,” Servantez explains. While wedding work has enhanced Servantez’s flowers-to-wear market, Masters’ dedication to creating one-of-a-kind boutonnières began differently. “It all started with my grandmother, who had a standing order for a pink feathered carnation corsage with lavender ribbon that she wore to church every Sunday,” Masters shares. “However, it wasn’t until I was doing a garden club program six years ago on the importance of people wearing flowers that my practice changed. Someone in the audience commented that I was telling everyone to wear flowers but that I was not. Since then, I wear a boutonnière to church every Sunday.”
Masters’ creative expressions are constructed from single-stem flowers to deconstructed botanical materials and decorative wires. “Yes, I have made boutonnière from a single rose stem,” he admits. “But what can you do if you take a rose petal and make it into something interesting using the same techniques of making glamelias from Gladiolus or orchids? I can take a huge Cymbidium and use just the throat and design a fantastic boutonnière. I also love working with Alstroemeria and using the petals as greenery.” For both designers, these floral wearable art pieces have also become a marketing tool. “This wasn’t the intention, but now the ushers at my church also wear flowers every Sunday, and we do 160 corsages for a widow’s banquet once a year,” Masters shares. “This also has grown to more parishioners and churches ordering flowers for the altar.”
“My prom guys began seeing pictures of wedding boutonnières on my website and started ordering similar items for prom,” shares Servantez. “These young guys like to have fashion statement pieces to wear. Metallic wire, for them, is their shiny ‘non-bling’ bling.” Be it for Sunday, weddings or even every day, men who are embracing their individual voices and unafraid to express their personalities now have at their accessory fingertips – thanks to designers like Masters and Servantez – the beauty of masculine yet stylish flowers to wear.