A Blossoming Beauty Business
City Life Magazine|April/May 2018

Fleurs de Villes founders, Tina Barkley and Karen Marshall, saw an opportunity to combine their passions of flowers, fashion and design into an international brand

Angela Rotundo

Imagine original dresses made entirely of fresh blooms. These days, anything is possible. Don’t miss the chance to witness floral fantasies become high fashion. The third annual Floral Mannequin Series, brought to you by Fleurs de Villes Inc., will be on display at Vaughan Mills from April 19–23. An experience like no other, this award-winning event brings both floral and fashion enthusiasts together. City Life caught up with Tina Barkley (TB) and Karen Marshall (KM) to discuss how some of the top local Toronto florists and leading brands will bring their couture creations to life and much more.

Tell us how the idea first came about for Fleurs de Villes.

KM: As lovers of great content and beautiful things, we both came to a point in our careers where we saw an opportunity to build something that connected the two — through flowers. Tina had been passionate about creating flower market pop-ups, and I, as a lover and keen observer of the partnership aspect of the Chelsea Flower Show, always wondered how we could do a smaller, more bespoke version here. Those ideas and brainstorms quickly led to us realizing we could combine flowers, markets, fashion, design, partnerships and more to create not only an experience like none other, but also an international brand.

What do you love about your exhibits? What is the reaction that people have when they encounter these installations?

KM & TB: We love the creativity our floral designers bring to each show — their imagination, their talent and their passion. People literally stop in their tracks and engage: they “ooh” … they “ahh” … they photograph; they tell their friends; some come back every day; and so much more. No two shows are the same, and we connect 90 of the top florists in the country. We are so, so proud to support our florists, these entrepreneurs and these artists.

What are some memorable projects and events you have worked on?

KM & TB: Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to work with the Royal Ontario Museum [ROM] in Toronto, to help promote, in flowers, its Christian Dior couture exhibit. We worked with our floral design partner Elevated Events to create a stunning gown, based on Dior’s 1951 Autriche dress. With over 1,000 fresh flowers and weighing over 300 pounds, this dress was a stunner — and right in the lobby of the fabulous ROM.

Tell us about yourselves. Were you always attracted to a career that involved flowers?

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