Deep, luscious piles of flower petals create streams of aromatic beauty. Voluptuous, monochromatic bouquets seem to float effortlessly over their vases. It’s as if all the purple hydrangeas from around the globe have been gathered together for one amazing display of pure, natural elegance.
This fairy tale scene was not created by the wave of a magical wand held in the hand of a plump little fairy godmother. Instead, this is the description of a floral installation created by a rugged-looking guy from Utah, wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
In spite of the delicacy of his art medium, Jeff Leatham could easily be mistaken for a construction worker who took a wrong turn in the hallways of the elegant George V Hotel in Paris, rather than the Artistic Director of this posh palace of hospitality. His rough-round-the-edges masculine look is a striking contrast to his floral design style, which has been described as “clean, simple and chic.”
Leatham never set his goal in life to be the world-famous floral artist that he has become. The thought that he would be commissioned to offer his creativity to world-famous personages like the Dalai Lama, Madonna, Chelsea Clinton, and Tina Turner didn’t enter the mind of this teenage son of a landscape designer living among the mountains and red rock canyons of the southwestern U.S. All he knew was that when he walked into the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles at age 18 that it was the creative use of flowers as art that captivated his attention. It seemed that the medium chose him, selecting him to be its curator, rather than the other way around.
Having discovered his passion for floral art at a Four Seasons Hotel, it was only natural that Leatham should begin his career as a floral designer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and to move from there to Paris, France and the Four Seasons George V Hotel.
Europe has truly been Leatham’s launching pad to world-renowned status, three times having been voted the Best Hotel Florist in Europe. Of course, the distinguished guests that enjoy the hospitality of the George V Hotel took notice of Leatham’s designs. Quite quickly his requests for custom design work for other establishments and events began to grow.
Leatham’s art has recently moved to new levels through collaboration with artists in a variety of other mediums. He has created an exquisite and delicate chandelier with Swarkovski, a crystal vase sculpture with Daum, crystal-covered orchids for Disney’s 80th Anniversary Celebration of Mickey Mouse, jewelry with Henri J. Silliam and has a vase collection with Waterford Crystal, for whom he serves as Global Brand Ambassador. In addition, Leatham has recently created a line of fragrant candles inspired by the beautiful floral scents he works with every day: “Voodoo Rose,” “Velvet Dahlia” and “Bois de Figue.”
In spite of the elegance in the displays that Leatham creates, he is known amongst his staff for his fun-loving antics, always encouraging them not to take things too seriously and enjoy their work. “I love to laugh,” Leatham says.
Still based in Paris as the Artistic Director for the Four Seasons George V Hotel, Leatham often is found jetting off to other world locations to share his gift with those who want to embellish their surroundings with his unique and touch of grand simplicity.