Last week, Nigeria welcomed one of the world’s most celebrated floral designers for an intensive floral masterclass of luxurious proportions- the very first of its kind on African shores. The Jeff Leatham Floral Experience, hosted by The Bridal Circle’s own Sade Awe, was an event of epic excellence. Drawing an ensemble of Nigeria’s best and brightest from near and far, the Floral Experience was held at the upscale Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos. The event brought beauty, expertise, a heightened expectation for elegant creativity and elevated design to the creatives and purveyors of luxury gathered for the occasion.
Affectionately dubbed the ‘rock star florist’ by Martha Stewart, Jeff Leatham swiftly won Lagos, Nigeria over with his irresistible charisma and charm. A beacon of light, Jeff’s mere presence brings laughter, love and evokes contagious joy. No matter the ambience, Jeff’s boundless energy transforms a space as completely as do his fabulous floral installations. Everything Jeff touches is infused with inspirational excellence, leaving both experienced designers and fresh talents alike motivated to pursue greater and grander endeavors.
The Floral Experience began with a spectacular video of Jeff’s artistic exploits from around the world. Installations, incredible floral feats of extravagant scope and beauty, bouquets and more wowed the audience and energized the crowd. With Rhianna’s hit single, ‘Work’, blaring, Jeff danced into the room as attendees leapt to their feet to cheer him on.
The space itself was gorgeously appointed. Music and lighting set the ambience for an event like none other, while the decor spoke of opulence, intimacy and… rock and roll. This unique flair was beautifully balanced to encourage a mixture of elevated luxury and indulgent entertainment. Gorgeous rows of fresh flowers were lined up, ready to be arranged. Roses, hydrangea, anthuriums, carnations, orchids and bundles of calla lilies not only filled the room with glorious color, but also the beautiful scent of fresh, open-air expanses. Naturally, Jeff himself was the centerpiece- an artful individual in the midst of the room with hundreds of flowers at his command to choreograph into an exquisite ensemble.
As guests sat anticipating what to expect next, Jeff offered a brief introduction and then invited attendees to come up and work alongside him. As Jeff explained the importance of creative thought while designing statement pieces, attendees were welcomed to follow his creative process. Witty, humble and down to earth, Leatham graciously answered attendees’ questions. Whether pertaining to his personal journey, to design tips, to art or floral design, not a single question posed was off-limits for Jeff. The masterclass session concluded as Leatham demonstrated his signature design for attendees- the iconic flowers tilted to the side- which Jeff avowed was created purely by accident.
As the sun set, the masterclass room was transformed into a floral haven with a beautiful array of flowers heavily gilded to create the most exquisite centerpieces. Bollinger Champagne sponsored a VIP cocktail hour during which guests had the opportunity to mingle and chat with Jeff Leatham while enjoying a glass of bubbly. Cocktails led into a five course dining experience, expertly designed to tantalize the most sophisticated palate.
A stellar line-up of entertainment for the evening included Lagos’ own famous comedian, Bovi, as the Master of Ceremony. Fashion designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi unveiled a stunning 10-piece collection inspired by Jeff Leatham’s own peerless creations. Nigerian A-list singer, Chee, performed an incredible rendition of one of Jeff’s favorite songs by one of his favorite artists- Whitney Houston. Chee’s version of Whitney’s “I have Nothing” was tremendously moving, leaving guests speechless with the powerful emotions her voice evoked.
The Floral Experience ended with closing remarks from Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle and The Inner Circle Experience, thanking the incredible partners; Ink Heart Studios, Angelika Home Store, Saro Events, Jide Alakija, No Surprises Events, Mystique Lounge, sponsors; The Wheatbaker, Bollinger Champagne, media partners; Mania Magazine, Ebony Life TV, Vanguard Allure, Guardian TV, CNBC Africa, and 53 Extra, guests and Jeff Letham and his right hand man Alessio Minottofor coming to Lagos and making the Floral Experience possible. As the evening concluded, Jeff thanked the everyone for all of their love and support. Jeff also thanked the beautiful and effervescent Oghogho Adedoyin of Aralia by Nature, our floral sponsor, with an emotional speech that left the group teary-eyed.
With the Jeff Leatham Floral Experience behind us, it has become clear that Jeff has left an indelible mark on the luxury industry in Lagos. It is also true that while his incredible creativity and genius design intuition have brought him to the forefront of the luxury industry worldwide, it’s his infectious joy and unhindered spirit that endear him to all he meets. Jeff has truly blessed us with his gift for floral design, but he has also changed our lives forever with the gift of who he is.
We LOVE you Jeff Leatham!