Lewis Miller On His Wildly Creative Flower Flash Pop-Ups

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A floral creation by Lewis Miller
A floral creation by Lewis Miller

What if you’re walking the streets of a crowded city and all of a sudden come across a stunningly gorgeous display of flowers? Instead of being arranged in a vase, hundreds of brightly colored peonies, tulips, and lilies fill a garbage can creating the ultimate life-size flower arrangement. Would you stop and smell the roses? Most likely, yes—at least that is what floral designer Lewis Miller is betting on. About once a month, the New York City-based flower guru hits the streets with a truck full of flowers. He arranges them in the wee hours of the morning, in unexpected places—around the subway entrance, draped over a park bench, and in cardboard boxes.

Miller's Flower Flash with Tory Burch's blooms
Miller’s Flower Flash with Tory Burch’s blooms

“I’ve started doing what is called Flower Flashes,” Miller told Haute Living of his lush floral pop-ups at a recent event at Salvatore Ferragamo. “It’s a little unorthodox, and it’s pushing my creativity against the wall. It’s also about giving back and breaking barriers creatively and also doing something that people can enjoy.” His over-the-top everyone-can-enjoy arrangements have caught the eye of many of the city’s top tastemakers. When fashion designer Tory Burch had a surplus of pink carnations leftover from her runway show, she gave the blooms to Miller. He turned them into a fabulous and fun Valentine’s Day Flower Flash.

An impromptu sidewalk arrangement
An impromptu sidewalk arrangement

Why does he think the world is so infatuated with flowers? “I think it’s the exact opposite of what everyone is holding in their hands. You know our little black mirrors,” he says, referring to smartphones. “Tech constantly runs our life, and flowers are ephemeral. They’re fleeting, and they’re natural, and they’re soft, and they’re beautiful, and they’re luxurious. Our schedules are all so crazy, and technology is just driving us all bonkers, and we’re living on the edge of all having nervous breakdowns. Flowers are a comfort. They’re beautiful. Anywhere we can bring that back to counterbalance the realities of modern living is a good thing.” Big brands agree with Miller’s point of view. Tiffany & Co. has tapped him to create a series of Flower Flashes in collaboration with their recently released Paper Flowers collection.

Flower Flash
Flower Flash

For amateur florists who want to replicate the Flower Flash aesthetic at home, Miller says that “you do it fast. Go to the farmer’s market. Don’t try to do anything unless you can get flowers in a certain amount of quantity. We’re approaching summer; flowers are going to be available to everybody at the farmer’s market. Get as many of the same five flowers as possible. Then, learn some basic skills. Learn how to clean off the dead leaves. Learn how to condition your stems. And then be haphazard about it. Don’t be so anal retentive about spinning them or making a dome or trying to make the perfect round bouquet. Have this sort of jolly chaos and then choose the right container.”

To get a better look at Miller’s Flower Flashes, follow him on Instagram.

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