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Hey, Quick Question: Why Are Fashion and Beauty Brands So Obsessed With This Flower Right Now?

The anthurium has upgraded from "corporate hotel flower" to aesthetically pleasing bloom.
Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Liang

Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Liang

Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion and beauty industries. Enjoy!

There's a weird, waxy flower that's been charming the fashion and beauty world lately. The anthurium, also called the "flamingo flower," is hard to miss, thanks to its spike-shaped, pebbled spadix and heart-shaped spathe, which can come in an array of colors, including red, pink and white. Its most recent sighting was alongside Adwoa Aboah for the latest Marc Jacobs Beauty campaign, but we've also seen the trendy flower multiple times at the Glossier showroom — and newly opened Glossier You fragrance shop in New York City — and among the floral arrangements at Mansur Gavriel's Soho flagship. It was also transformed into an earring by label to watch Barragán, which adorned the fashionable lobes of FKA Twigs for the cover of Elle Magazine. 

In the past, photographers Ren Hang and Guy Bourdin have also featured the anthurium in more provocative ways. But why are the hippest fashion and beauty brands suddenly aligning with this particular alien-like flower? We decided to go straight to the source: Brittany Asch, co-founder of Brrch Floral and go-to florist for Mansur Gavriel, Glossier and Sandy Liang, among other fashion people. Trips to Los Angeles first brought her attention to tropical flowers and over the past three years, she's been regularly incorporating anthuriums into her work. But for a flower that hit its peak in the '80s and was once synonymous with stale hotel lobbies, according to Asch, the now-aesthetically-pleasing bloom actually experienced some pushback at first from her clients.

"It wasn't what was trendy or mainstream," she tells Fashionista. At the time, popular arrangements boasted muted colors and a feminine or garden-style look, so it took about two years to sway her customers towards anthuriums. (She also notes that some of them found the flower to be "too phallic.") 

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"There was definitely some interesting sculptural work happening and there were a lot of poetic designers, but nothing felt overtly sexy I think," says Asch. "I sort of became attracted to flowers that had this kind of overt seductiveness."

But why the all-out obsession now? Like we said earlier, anthuriums were a huge hit in the '80s and as the fashion cycle goes, this particular decade was set to be the biggest fashion trend of 2017, after experiencing quite the heyday on the runways earlier this year. So it's only natural that stylistic trends of that era would expand beyond clothing. 

"I had a conversation with one of my wholesalers recently a couple of weeks ago, and she thanked me for using anthuriums because she's like, 'We can sell them now,'" says Asch. "It used to be you could only get them at one place and now I can get them at almost every place at market. There's definitely been increased demand and I see it being used a lot in editorials and younger florists starting out and it's interesting. But it's an amazing flower, so it makes sense, you know?"

Plus, with tropical prints as the new florals for next spring, we wouldn't be too surprised if anthuriums made a few cameos in our wardrobe and among retailers as well.

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