I am so sad to learn the news today that floral design visionary Jane Packer has passed away. I was fortunate enough to have worked for the company when they first opened in New York. The experience changed the course of my life. Not only did I meet other talented designers that I still call friends, but it allowed me to peek inside the workings of a successful design business and hone valuable flower making chops. Most importantly it gave me the confidence to take my own jobs which eventually led to...well, this phase of life.
I only met Jane in person once but I remember clearly the impression she made. It was of an lively, funny, smart woman with a clear vision. She was the only florist I knew of at the time that used black tissue. She had custom made black square bags with long cords to place the flowers in - no boxes, no cellophane, no raffia, no colored ribbon. It was very chic, very modern. She said to me that she wanted the gifting of a Jane Packer arrangement to be the floral equivalent of getting a box from Tiffany's. I have one bracelet from Tiffany's that I got on my high school graduation. Unfortunately I don't remember the bracelet making that much of an impact on me but I sure remember that blue box. Brilliant.
I remember 6am calls at the Ritz Carlton Hotel doing what seemed like 100s of bud vases for the room service trays and making massive branch arrangements in crystal urns that I feared would fall on my head. I learned how they got water out of those heavy urns (suck in on an inserted rubber hose and quickly deposit into a bucket unless you get a mouthful...easier than it sounds). I perfected my spiral. I folded lots of aspidistra leaves. I saw how it's done.
Thank you Jane and your incredible team for so much inspiration throughout the years. Your new book is a must have.You will be missed but the beauty you brought to the world will live on.