Designer Spotlight on… Tess Casey of Aisling Flowers
For this month’s designer spotlight, we’re chatting with Tess Casey of Aisling Flowers to get a behind the scenes look at how she crafts her camera ready flowers for hit movies, TV shows, public events, and private clients. Working on sets for Sex and the City, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Devil Wears Prada, Gotham, Rock’n’Roll, Girls, Boardwalk Empire, and more, Tess has become a seasoned pro at creating not only stunning arrangements, but historically accurate set designs and floral creations.
“When I work on a project, I rely on old photographs and books. I love history so drawing inspiration from these sources is always rewarding. When I was doing The Wolf of Wall Street, I had my own photographs from the 80’s from work I had done in The Carlyle hotel.” Other inspirations for Tess stem from the characters and settings she works with. “For The Nanny Diaries, it’s on the Upper East Side so we used beautiful classic flowers from a high end florist, but for something like a nightclub scene we’ve done something more hip and contemporary. Each character in Sex and The City had a unique style and personality so we tried to reflect that. For Boardwalk Empire we stayed with the flowers that were popular in that era.”
Faced with constant challenges on television and movie sets, like sticking to historical accuracy, coordinating elaborate settings, sourcing props, and working through long hours and bright lights, Tess’ energy and enthusiasm truly shines. “It’s so rewarding to work on so many different movies and TV shows,” says Tess. “Each day is a different challenge and there are always lots of logistics to work out. When I work on a wedding for a client it is over in just a couple hours; shooting weddings for movies can take days, so that plays a big part in design and structure. We were doing a wedding for Unforgettable and it was being shot over two days at Oheka Castle in the summer heat, so we had to problem solve and bring in tons of artificial flowers to get the look we wanted. I pride myself on problem solving without the panic.”
Another thing Tess prides herself on: sustainability. “Sustainability is something we can all help with,” explains Tess. “Aisling Flowers has its roots in green and sustainable design. I also really believe in supporting local flower growers and small businesses. I have been shopping on 28th street for 28 years or so now and have developed great relationships with the various vendors. I’ve been a customer at Jamali since it opened and have seen it develop into a wonderful source, and I think it really stems from the fact they have listened to their customers and their needs over the years.”
We asked Tess what her ‘go-to’ Jamali product has been over the years. “A classic urn. It covers all time periods and can so easily be painted to change the look and style I need for the moment. I’ve used them for real weddings, for a 70’s era movie, and in a bank that got blown up on set. That was dramatic! I recently painted the urns white and filled them with simple Baby’s Breath for a modern, soft wedding style.”