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Exploring Diane James' Reimagined Artificial Flowers

Exploring Diane James' Reimagined Artificial Flowers

Discover the flowers that will never wilt

Jessica Harding
By Jessica Harding, Senior Creative Buyer

In the world of artificial flowers there are few names more respected than that of Diane James. Her collection offers a style that is very ‘gathered from the garden’ with incredible attention to detail, masses of botanical variety and colours ranging from pastel to powerful.

Hand-made in her Connecticut studio, discover why Diane James' flowers are a promise of petal perfection.

The Craftsmanship Behind Diane James' Faux Flowers |

Who is Diane James?

Deciding to channel her affinity with the world of flowers and maximise what she’d learnt in floral composition during her time living in Europe, Diane James launched her namesake luxury faux florals brand in 1997.

Her background in real foliage taught her all about the idiosyncrasies of each flower type, such as head weight, petal markings and stem curvature. And, so, when invited to create bouquets for vacation homes, she sought to find a solution to provide her clients with flowers that had staying power while also capturing the true character of a garden’s many blooms.

These projects were the earliest incarnations of the now prestigious Diane James artificial flower brand—a favourite home styling accessory of leading interior designers, including Michael S. Smith, Celerie Kemble, Mario Buatta and Nina Campbell.

The Craftsmanship Behind Diane James' Faux Flowers |

The Design Process

Designing at Diane James is very much a family affair. Diane works alongside her co-CEO twin daughters, Carolyn and Cynthia; together they dream up collections inspired by the latest home decor trends.

“Once we have the inspiration, we shop for the stems and containers at market in January (for fall) and July (for spring), which is a full six months prior to launching the designs,” explains Carolyn.

“We receive our stem samples after the shows and start pulling the collection together. Sample designs are made so that our six designers have a model to copy when producing the orders. We tend to produce most of our orders as they are received so that the designs are as ‘fresh’ as possible for the client.”

The Craftsmanship Behind Diane James' Faux Flowers |

Image Credit: Diane James

The trio’s earliest creations were sold in New York’s luxury department store, Bergdorf Goodman, and every collection since has been designed in the same painstakingly detailed way by their all-female team.

In the Diane James studio, only the finest materials are employed, coaxed into forming tightly packed peony buds or orchid plants whose stems drape gracefully from bamboo stakes.

The Craftsmanship Behind Diane James' Faux Flowers |

Image Credit: Diane James

Every aspect of the making process is performed by hand. Even the glass vases in which the flowers are presented are gently hand-washed and dried to ensure a streak-free gleam.

Other steps include hand-finishing (where some petals need to be slightly clipped back as they settle into their flower head formation), dipping and drying flower stems to promise colour-fastness, and hand-crafting sustainable bamboo grids to give the arrangements structure. The orchids even have raffia and preserved moss, just as you would see in a nursery.

The Craftsmanship Behind Diane James' Faux Flowers |