I first met the unforgettable Eric Buterbaugh when he came on the show I was hosting for a floral demonstration. I immediately fell head over heels for this world world-renowned floral designer.
If you don’t follow his cheeky Instagram account, you should. His bio there pretty much sums it up: Life is short. Stop and smell the fucking roses.
He’s known for his Reflex Open Roses…what’s that you ask? It’s basically when each petal is popped back to create what he calls a “power flower”.
It’s a very labor intensive process, each arrangement can take an hour and a half to create, but the result is oh so very worth it.
Now Buterbaugh is branching out with a show stopping floral fragrance and candle line.
He also recently opened Eric Buterbaugh Florals, a Midcentury Modern space on Beverly Boulevard that’s part fragrance boutique, part party space and part gallery and 100 percent chic & fun!
Photography by Johnny Smith
How did you get your start designing these floral masterpieces?
It was all by chance, flowers sort of found me…I had recently moved back to LA from London and a friend of mine was throwing a dinner party at her house and since I had some free time I offered to do the flowers. I went down to the flower mart and checked everything out and came up with a theme and had a great time doing it…following the dinner, many of the guests had asked the host who had done the flowers and she couldn’t wait to tell me that everyone loved them…I let her know that it was very sweet for everyone to be so kind, but I don’t do flowers…the host was relentless and ended up giving my number out to her guests as “the guy that doesn’t do flowers” from then on, it all just fell into place and has snowballed into the floral empire that it is today…
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
Well, I feel like just about anyone can put flowers in a vase, I think that the differentiation from the others comes from staying very much in tune with what is happening all around us. I personally feel as though flowers follow the same trends that we see in fashion. I can remember when we were doing very complicated floral arrangements 20 years ago with tons of different colors and wire treatments and wrapped vases – as it was happening in fashion, even if everything looked like a fruit salad. If you look now, fashion is very organic and uncomplicated – lots of whites and keeping things monochromatic – I feel that this is the current trend in flowers – although, that isn’t to say that creating a pave arrangement of just white Tibet roses is easy, it just takes the right talent that can hear my direction and then execute it just as I had envisioned.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I get to be around art and beauty all…day…long. I work and surround myself with a super inspired bunch of people that all bring something different to the table and are incredibly skilled at their craft. However, I have to say that the favorite part of the job is seeing the photos, emails or posts from the recipients of the arrangements who have been surprised and have had their day made by the gesture of someone in their life wanting to send them some floral love.
What’s the best feedback a client has given you?
That the flowers are on a different level. When I started this whole business, I knew one thing that was going to be true – I was going to be the best in the business and that comes with loving and respecting flowers and knowing the best possible way to artistically display them.
Tell me about this space you created.
It’s a heavenly oasis right off of Beverly Blvd., and it is pure magic. I had looked for months for a space that would have ample indoor and outdoor space and room for gardens so that we could grow the flowers represented in our fragrance line and valet parking in the back and at the time I had no idea that I was chasing a unicorn. Well as luck would have it, the unicorn existed and just needed a little facelift and voila, here we are at one of LA’s chicest destinations.
Why did you decide to launch your fragrance collection?
I grew up loving fragrance – especially anything from Paris, I was convinced that this far away land only had the finest of everything. I would actually spend my allowance as a child on fancy bubble baths at the local drug store – I was always drawn to fragrance. Over the years I’ve been approached by a few companies to do a one-off fragrance with them, but it never got me excited. Then I met with Firmenich and everything changed – they saw the vision that I wanted for my line from the hand-blown crystal decanters to the way that each floral was to be represented, they understood my vision and I couldn’t be more proud of the product that we’ve created.
What’s your favorite LA spot for shopping? For eating?
For shopping I currently am the biggest fan of Gucci, so I love their Rodeo location, but I also am always impressed with the curation that goes into Just One Eye and Maxfield’s…I never leave empty handed.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Trust your gut…
If you could sum up your current mood?
Restless…I get bored easily and always am looking for inspiration in everything
If you could have a dinner party with any five people, living or dead, who would you have over and what would you serve?
Alesandro Michele – He’s the cool kid of the moment
Gianni Versace – obvi
Jacqueline Kennedy – Onassis (later years – more fun)
Elizabeth Taylor – just to try on each other’s rings
Demi Moore – the wife to keep him in line
The dinner would take place in the colonnade at Chateau Marmont and the tablescape would be California romantic-chic with tall black candlesticks and black magic roses…
You can order his flowers, gift boxes, fragrances and candles online: