By Michael Mantalos, Louloudi Design
Summer conjures up a host of images, but the one universal impression is light. Our days are longer, the sun shines a little stronger and our world is literally ﬁlled with light. Summer is vivid, fresh and crisp and our moods often acquiesce to the inspiration of bright.
In our wedding world, that translates to fun. The subtle palettes of spring, the antique colors of fall and the austerity of winter typically convey other emotions, but summer canʼt escape being fun because it canʼt escape light.
As designers, dynamic colors conspire to bathe an art direction in that light. Be it a study in monochromatic simplicity or a bold statement of contrast color pairings, warmth is the consistent goal. The warmth of a brides smile as she says “I do”.
Certain ﬂower varieties are viable year round, but to seriously convey a devotion to summer, I always consider the seasonʼs gift to ﬂoristry, the Dahlia.
Few ﬂowers are grown with such a healthy palette that runs the spectrum of color as effectively as dahlias. Gorgeous deep oranges, glaring yellows, luminescent purples and a nuance on nearly every other primary color combination are a signature of the dahlia. Even the whites exude a precision of true color, pure and clean.
Although dahliaʼs enjoy a myriad of petal conﬁgurations, they mostly do offer a superior petal count and an easily manipulated bloom silhouette. That aspect of their natural “engineering” make them quite easy to work with from not only a color consideration, but also from a volume/proportion equation.
Santa Barbara has amazing dahlia farms and John James is a dahlia savant. Recently, John invited me to roam his ﬁelds and share in his passion for this ﬂower of summer. As we perused the crop aisles, John imparted upon me his philosophy of growing, picking and grading his “babies”. I was very impressed with his consummate approach to his art and the care he takes with each process in delivering his version of light. I easily fell into a zen, meditative state as I became one with the ﬁeld, surrounded by beauty and completely at peace.
That is until I found a row of enormous “dinner plate” dahliaʼs that are some of Johnʼs most cherished treasures. The blooms on this particularly immaculate white ﬂower were layered almost 8 inches in diameter. Prehistorically contemporary was my instant impression of these startling dahliaʼs redeﬁning the capability of white.
I exited the ﬁeld as if I had concluded visiting a Monet exhibition, so powerful was this muse. The power of light, summer and a horizon of natures colorful gift, the dahlia.
-Michael Mantalos, Louloudi Design