Sensational Bouquets by Christian Tortu: Arrangements by a Master Floral Designer


Christian Tortu's floral arrangements do not sit passively on tables waiting to be admired. With operatic flair, they celebrate the drama of birth, death -- and everything in between -- with equal enthusiasm. Tortu's floral arrangements reflect his admiration for each stage of a plant's life -- the newborn bud, the proud blossom, and the wilting flower, which germinates to start nature's cycle again. Life virtually bursts forth from his dynamic arrangements.

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Christian Tortu's floral arrangements do not sit passively on tables waiting to be admired. With operatic flair, they celebrate the drama of birth, death -- and everything in between -- with equal enthusiasm. Tortu's floral arrangements reflect his admiration for each stage of a plant's life -- the newborn bud, the proud blossom, and the wilting flower, which germinates to start nature's cycle again. Life virtually bursts forth from his dynamic arrangements.

Sensational Bouquets by Christian Tortu beautifully documents how Tortu bends the rules of traditional flower arranging to design exciting and throroughly contemporary bouquets. His strong opinions and design sensibilities are gathered in this volume like an illustrated manifesto, featuring stunning arrangments of unexpected plants in wicked combinations that are not for the faint of heart. Exploiting the enormous dramatic potential in floral design, he encourages readers to look at flowers with an open mind. Calling upon his childhood memories of a country landscape, Tortu looks to nature for its visual diversity. In his hands, every plant is worthy of a bouquet. From green tomatoes to tea grass to water lilies, Tortu's bold combinations surprise and delight with their spontaneous elegance.

Tortu, who has designed flowers for the great fashion houses of Dior and Chanel, as well as for the Cannes Film Festival, has dazzled followers the world over with this ability to create novel compositions that show off the shapes, colors, textures, and singular beauty of individual flowers and plants to their ultimate advantage. This lavishly illustrated volume is a feast for all flora lovers.

About the authors
Christian Tortu was born into a family of market gardeners and developed a passion for plants early in life. He has revolutionized floral design by introducing elements of raw nature into his arrangements. Internationally famous, he has opened shops in major cities around the world and he designs backdrops for fashion shows, as well as for the Cannes Film Festival.

Sylvain Thomas is a photographer of design and decor who works for the French periodical R├ęsidences D├ęcoration. His love of plants and flowers makes him the perfect photographer for Christian Tortu's designs.

Corine Delahaye is an editor, writer, and communications consultant. Sensational Bouquets, on the personal and creative development of Christian Tortu, is her first book.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Lovers of design, sculpture, and gardening will all find inspiration in the gorgeously photographed Sensational Bouquets. This stunning volume showcases the talents of floral designer Christian Tortu, who has created arrangements for major fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior. Tortu's use of unusual flowers, fruits, and vases, along with his revolutionary approach to color and form, has earned him an international following.

Sensational Bouquets is divided into several thematic sections, each illustrating various elements of Tortu's creative vision. The section entitled "Genesis" showcases Tortu's flair for combining flowers in all stages of development -- delicate buds, rich, mature blossoms, and even flowers that have withered and died -- into a unified, glorious arrangement that symbolizes the eternal cycle of the plant world. In the section "Revolution," Tortu's mastery for innovative form is highlighted. Some of these designs feature blossoms floating in trays of water, while in other arrangements hundreds of tiny flowers are packed into a single vase. Other photographs display Tortu's unusual monochromatic arrangements, including a series of all-green designs -- representing the ultimate homage to nature -- and a gorgeous, if somewhat surprising, all-black design.

Sensational Bouquets is an excellent introduction to Tortu, an artist who seeks to encompass the entirety of nature in his designs. By willingly subverting the traditional color palettes and flower combinations, throwing in wild exotic plants, fruit, and weeds, Tortu has truly set himself apart as a designer who fuses the sculptural and the floral. (Julie Carr)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810957312
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 172
  • Sales rank: 366,249
  • Product dimensions: 10.25 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    Intriguing New Ways to Look at Flowers!

    I enjoyed this book very much. Sensational Bouquets is rich in new thoughts about what flowers and plants represent, filled with novel arrangements, and is enriched by outstanding photography of those arrangements. After reading and viewing this book, you will never think about nature and natural beauty in quite the same way. You will be the richer for the experience, because your sense of beauty will expand as a result. Christian Tortu grew up on a truck farm in Anjou, and is proud of his agricultural roots. Now he designs backdrops for fashion shows and the Cannes Film Festival. He operates floral shops in major cities around the world. Let me share a little of his philosophy, as described in the many sections he wrote for the book. 'Each plant is a fragment of a landscape . . . .' In his arrangements, he creates that sense of landscape in a way that I have never seen before in flower arrangements. Nature is palpable in them. 'If man were to stop rushing around for one moment, he might take a look at flowers -- and then take a closer look.' I remember having that experience in the orchid garden in Honolulu. I was enthralled with the beautiful blossoms in my 20 minute self-guided tour. As I was about to leave, an elderly gentleman asked me if I would like to have some help in looking around. I agreed, and spent the next three hours going over the same ground with him. Except I saw about 100 times as much with his help. I was astonished at how many delightful orchids I had totally missed in my haste (and I had thought I was being leisurely). 'In time, his convictions would crumble, and he would realize classification is fruitless even beyond flowers.' People love to judge, and that judgment gets in the way of really seeing and experiencing life. So these arrangements are a metaphor for breaking down our closed mental sets. The basic premise is that 'all flowers are created equal.' Weeds and shrubbery get as much attention as rare orchids. And the moment of perfection is not all that is explored. ' . . . [E]very stage of the flower is a moment that deserves attention.' One bouquet even captures burned foliage and flowers after a fire. Seeing these images makes one realize the truth of these observations. ' . . . [I]n the name of harmony, each one [arrangement] has its own touch of anarchy.' Mr. Tortu changes things in terms of color, type of composition, and form. I was especially fascinated by his many monochromatic arrangements, especially the green bouquets. The book is done in sections: Genesis; Revolution(s); Crossroads; and the Chronicle of a Black Bouquet. Using these themes makes it easier to appreciate the statements his designs make. Here are my favorites in the book: Agave foliage with euchasis in gray wax vases; Green tomatoes and basil, tomato flowers, dog rose fruit and vine foliate; Green arum lilies, tea grass, viburnum, and narcissus buds; Garlic flower and nasturtium; Nasturtium, wild strawberries, and blackberries; Privet berries and King Arthur orchids; Lime tree branches and iris; Violets; White hyacinth, and catmint; and Osage orange, pears and chayote, quince, eggplant, and begonia. After you enjoy this delightful book, I suggest that you take some other element of nature and see how arranging it differently changes your perceptions. Now that it is spring, you could start by taking fresh shoots and making arrangements of them in new combinations, new shapes, and in different types of containers. Open your mind to the potential of new combinations, expressed in new ways! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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