“Everyone has a story with a flower, be it good or bad,” says celebrity florist Jeff Leatham.
Leatham has amassed many flower stories — and stunning photos — throughout the years, and recounts a few of them in the pages of his new coffee table book, “The Art of the Flower.”
“This [book] is a real tribute to my staff, a tribute to my wonderful clients and flower lovers around the world,” says the florist of his fourth book, which he summarizes as a “love letter.” The book includes photos and anecdotes of various floral designs he’s worked on with his team in recent years, spanning hotel lobbies, weddings, events and other large-scale installations.
“When I flip through ‘The Art of the Flower,’ there’s obviously so many memories and so many anecdotes and different experiences that we had on each one of these jobs,” says Leatham, adding that while, yes, there have been a few “traumatic” experiences during his career — “just the whole rush of [the job],” he clarifies — he looks back on his designs with a sense of awe. “Because I’m in an amazing space where I really choose who I work with,” he says. “My relationship with my clients and my relationship with the Four Seasons has been so special that every page I turn to tells an amazing story in my head.”
Leatham currently has design studios at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles, where he got his start in the early ’90s, as well as at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia and Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. He maintains that everyone important in his life he met in the lobby of the George V, where he’s artistic director and oversees the venue’s dramatic floral arrangements. It’s where he met the Kardashian family, who has been a defining aspect of the past five years of his floral design business.
“When I came to Los Angeles, they really took me under their wing and we started doing events together and flowers,” says Leatham. “They’re such a huge part of my success now, and it’s such a beautiful, collaborative relationship and a beautiful friendship that we have,” he adds, noting that around 40 percent of the images in the book are from events for the Kardashian family. “They’re just amazing because they love to celebrate life.”
In 2021, he teamed up with Kim Kardashian to release the first of two collaborative fragrances, and Leatham thought it was fitting to ask the entrepreneur-influencer to contribute the introduction to “The Art of the Flower.”
“What makes Jeffso special is his ability to personalize and tailor each and every one of his creations with the most thoughtful details, personalized just for you. He is a true master of his craft,” notes Kardashian in her foreword.
Another friendship that Leatham forged in the George V hotel lobby was with Tina Turner. Leatham went on to design the flowers for Turner’s 2013 wedding and continued to stay in touch with the singer. “The last moment that I had with her a couple months ago. I was in Zurich, and I went to visit her,” Leatham says. “She always loved to see the beautiful installations I was creating. So we just sat there and flipped through the phone and she just…had a big smile on her face. And that’s the last memory that I have of being with her,” he continues.
One week before the release of “The Art of the Flower,” Leatham was in the process of creating a floral memorial for the late singer in tandem with the opening of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” in Los Angeles. “Her favorite [arrangement] was with these gold roses I used to paint, so we’re doing this huge installation with gold roses around her logo and her image up at the Pantages Theatre. This is kind of my way to say ‘I love you, Tina, and thank you for our friendship.’”
In addition to his book release, this month, Leatham is debuting a collection of lifelike silk flower arrangements with Williams-Sonoma. “Not everyone can afford or have one of my arrangements brought to their home, so this gives people a chance to have a little bit of Jeff in their house,” he says. At the end of the year, he’ll open a new satellite office in Las Vegas in partnership with the forthcoming Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel.
“When I thought life couldn’t get any better, it always does,” he says.