Floral arrangements made easy with floral designer Cristina Lozito – Greeley Tribune
It’s easy to be intimidated by flowers – the fragility, the impermanence, the expense! Fear not: flower designer Cristina Lozito is here to share her secrets to creating delightfully organic arrangements.
Cristina Lozito is known for her delicate bouquets; works of art as lyrical as a Dutch still life. The self-taught florist credits the natural world, her mother, training in photography and her work as a photo editor to Brides Magazine for teaching her to âlet flowers be flowersâ. Based in Westchester, New York, she has styled flowers for hundreds of weddings, bat mitzvahs, photo shoots, birthday parties and gala cocktails. We asked him for advice that even the most hesitant botanist can bring around the house.
Greeley Tribune: Your colors are so soft and your arrangements look almost wild. What is your overall philosophy regarding bouquets and floral pieces?
Lozito: I tend to be drawn to softer colors, which inform a lot of my palettes. But even when I work with a brighter palette, I incorporate color gradients and a variety of shades. If a client wants a general red or yellow scheme, I use shades of reds or yellows so things don’t seem so fixed.
I also use floral varieties that naturally match the style I want to achieve. Look for flowers or foliage that fall gracefully. For example, I will always use a garden rose rather than a standard rose because the stem is so much more natural. I would never put anything stiff or tangy in an organic bouquet. I never try to force a flower to be something it is not.
Greeley Tribune: Where do you start to put together an arrangement?
Lozito: I always start with a color palette and what’s in season. I think about what is going on in nature at that time to find my inspiration. In spring, that means flowering branches: the tender, tender greens that are not present at any other time of the year. It’s my favorite season to organize because everything is so fresh. But even in winter, I supplement the flowers in the market with what is happening outside – dried herbs and branches.
Greeley Tribune: Once you’ve chosen your flowers, how do you go about building an arrangement? Do you think about the geometric shapes or the container you use?
Lozito: Nature tends to start every process. For example, if I was designing something in the summer, I might think what it would look like if you picked up a meadow of wildflowers. Wouldn’t that be so amazing !?
After having my flowers and my color scheme, I will proportionally think about the right container. Large flowers like hydrangea or peonies will dictate a larger vessel. You want the style of the ship to hold hands with the flowers.
Greeley Tribune: Your striking use of greenery never feels like a burden. How do you deal with this?
Lozito: It’s easy, I start with the greenery! I never think of it as a filling in my head. I think about the general shape as I place it, using the greenery to create the ups and downs of the arrangement, then go in and add the flowers.
Greeley Tribune: Asymmetry is your signature. How to make a floral vignette that is pleasant but never too âperfectâ?
Lozito: I have a bit of a formula that is inspired by my photography experience: I create the general shape of the arrangement using the rule of thirds. Instead of placing the focal point in the middle, I place a focal flower about two-thirds of the way up on one side of the arrangement and balance with another focal flower on the bottom third on the other side. It drives your eye without anything big looking at you from the middle.
Greeley Tribune: Let’s say someone comes to dinner with a bouquet of flowers from the supermarket. What can you do to make it look good?
Lozito: After expressing many thanks, the easiest way to relax is to put some greenery. Typically, a supermarket bouquet will not have foliage. Go out and cut something in the yard or cut down some greenery from a houseplant – I have a begonia and a geranium which are very useful.
Greeley Tribune: Are there any tools that make your job easier? What would you recommend to someone who does their own flowers at home?
Lozito: My favorite tool is a floral frog, the little device placed at the bottom of the container that holds the stems in place. There are all different types – glass, metal, pin cushion, cages – and everything will work, depending on the type of arrangement and the flowers.
Greeley Tribune: On a related note, is there one type or shape of ship that a beginner is easiest to use?
Lozito: Anything that has a wider mouth makes your flowers look smoother, organic. This eliminates most vases from the florist, which usually have narrow or tapered tops. I most often use wide vases rather than tall ones, as they sit on tables and the low vases make conversation easier.
Greeley Tribune: One of your Instagram captions says “there is rarely room for a little blue”. Is this something you are looking for?
Lozito: I think this is something I got from my time at Brides! I’ve been working in the wedding business for so long and it’s a nod to tradition – I love the idea of ââ’something blue’. There really isn’t a palette that doesn’t work with a bit of dusty blue. Sometimes I place it on the back of a bouquet so that only the bride can see it.
Greeley Tribune: Light tower! Can you name a particular flower or type of greenery that you work with over the seasons?
Lozito: For sure. Spring: crabapple branches. Summer: cosmos. Fall: yellow or pink foliage of sugar maple trees, which cannot be reproduced at any other time of the year. Winter: hellebore, also called winter roses. They are so friendly – they seem to be talking to the flower next to them.
Greeley Tribune: Is there a type of flower that you feel is too rigid or formal to work with?
Lozito: Standard roses are so processed that there isn’t much about them that is organic.
Greeley Tribune: Is there a must-see place in a home where flowers have the most impact? Or do you like to place arrangements in places that create visual surprise?
Lozito: I like both. I love an entryway layout – it’s such a cheerful greeting and a lovely way to be welcomed into a home. I also like to use small button vases in unexpected places. My mom always kept little button vases on a shelf over the sink, filled with tiny flowers, herbs, and even weeds. It would force you to stop and focus for a moment. She taught me that just a stalk or two can have a profound emotional impact.