Floral designer Katya Hutter left the fashion industry after nearly a decade of production and design experience to pursue her passion for creating lush, abundant installations and designs. Inspired by ethereal, natural bouquets that combine masterful color combinations, it didn’t take long before Katya was recognized by her peers and praised for her ability to capture emotion through texture, color and varietal pairings.
“I am deeply inspired by the wonder and beauty of nature and try to be a versatile creator just like nature itself,” she says.
And it was that appreciation for natural beauty and talent that catapulted Katya to great heights this year. She won first place in Alexandra Farms’ annual Garden Rose Design Contest (her submission is seen to the right) and was then commissioned to create an installation using Alexandra Farms varieties for the 2022 International Floriculture Trade Fair, which was highly praised.
“When Alexandra Farms contacted me to create a floral arch similar to the one that won first place in the Garden Roses Design Contest this year, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “To be asked to create a large-scale floral installation for one of my favorite growers, using some of the most beautiful roses, it sounded too good to be true!”
A last-minute success
The Garden Rose Design submission that led to Katya’s success at IFTF was no small feat, and was produced within an unimaginably short amount of time by a team of stealthy, experienced designers. But Katya had more than 10,000 hours of training in her portfolio, guided and inspired by Master Florist Atsushi Taniguchi, whom she admires greatly.
Leading a team of 6, Katya sprang into action when a recent David Austin Exclusive Marketing Event she was attending had wrapped. Katya and her team were able to use 3,000 donated roses donated by David Austin Jr., and an additional 3,000 stems of other flowers, to create a wedding bouquet and floral arch for a photoshoot. With the help of a model, temporarily loaned wedding gowns, a make-up artist, photographer, and a stylist, the roses were in the spotlight, and an award-winning submission was born.
“The shoot was so memorable,” she says. “When I saw the pictures, I thought, ‘We have to show them to the world!’ And to my surprise this image was appreciated.”
During the judging process of the contest, the Alexandra Farms team was stunned with the intricate and thoughtful design Katya submitted.
“Katya's entries for the 2022 Garden Rose Design Contest were fantastic,” says Teresa Schafer, Alexandra Farms Marketing & Communications Director. “From the skillful design work to the models and photography, her entries highlighted the true beauty and timeless appeal of garden roses!”
Connection through installation
Preparing for the IFTF installation was no small feat, but a welcome challenge for Katya. It’s through new projects that she credits increased confidence in her creative flexibilities and the excitement that new projects afford daily. Katya has honed her process and welcomes new opportunities to try something new and exciting.
First, she considers the emotion of a project before creating a plan. The plan includes all aspects of the design, including a “visual master list of flowers” and color scheme so that she can see the combination of colors and textures play kindly together. It’s in Katya’s plan that she visualizes the shape and volume, and calculates how to achieve the vision.
For the IFTF design, she knew she wanted to include as many varieties as possible. Her signature style.
“It’s like looking at a painting of Gustav Klimt or at a summertime meadow,” she says. ”So many different flowers, textures, leaves, all dancing in an ethereal dance.”
Katya also wanted to include a nod to Alexandra Farms’ Colombian heritage, using bright colors in the arch. The roses would then be shaped almost asymmetrically, although not without “emotional” imperfections, which she acknowledges are a key signature mark in her designs.
The emotional aspect Katya is so proud to share in her designs was largely felt at this year’s IFTF, too. “I was told that they were queuing to take a picture next to it, so my emotional message was heard,” she says.
While there was concern with the amount of time the roses needed to hold their shape and strength, Katya was provided with strong Alexandra Farms garden rose varieties for the duration of the event - three days.
“I must say the roses opened so well and they absolutely didn’t let us down,” Katya says. “We even were crazy enough to transport the whole installation to a styled shoot afterwards and the arch performed a day longer.”
During the show, the reality of the installation’s success filled the air. It’s the emotion, communication, and energy that Katya uses to continue building on her success in design.
“I just know that right now we all are enjoying this space we’ve created together: the roses, the people, and this great beauty that flowers share with us,” she says.
And as each event wraps, another design or installation is complete, and Katya is left invigorated for what’s to come. She’s ready to take on new challenges, learn from her peers and mentors, and dive into beauty every day.
“... I’m starting to get this saying by [Fyodor] Dostoyevsky that beauty will save the world,” she says. “I could never get it really, only after such experiences do I understand this better.”
(Floral design and photography/videography: Katya Hutter Floral Design)