Ornate floral displays hanging from the ceiling and spiraling around the column in the middle of the central bar passed appetizers that celebrate modern twists on classic flavors, beautifully detailed backgrounds on each of the drinks on display: this is the setting you’re greeted with when you walk into Fleuriste St Germain.
In collaboration with Laura Kim, the Co-Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta, and James Whiteside, the Principal Dancer and Choreographer of the American Ballet Theatre, the Fleuriste pop-up is a celebration of the “hopeful future of art and design” post-pandemic. The venue featured floral arrangements lining every corner, and 4 specialty cocktails designed for the event: Rose-Colored Spritz, The Ballerino, Fleurita, and Spritz up your Spritz. The evening’s events also included a breathtaking ballet performance by James Whiteside, and a conversation between Laura and James. We had the chance to catch up with Laura Kim, James Whiteside, and Earlecia Richelle, the brand ambassador for St Germain and artist behind the night’s cocktails.
Earlecia, formerly a fashion student, stumbled into cocktail design when she entered cocktail competitions and won against the city’s best bartenders. She told us about her journey from those competitions to now becoming the national brand ambassador, and what her bespoke cocktails for each Laura and James were inspired by. For Laura’s “Rose-Colored Spritz”, she chose the designer’s favorite drink, rose, and added yuzu and a cherry blossom filled ice cube to pay homage to her asian heritage. Finally, the floral flavors in the drink reflect her illustrious career at Oscar de la Renta and their brand’s design. For James’ “Ballerino,” the Italian word for male ballet dancer, the shape of the glass evokes a pointe slipper. The drink’s base is a classic old fashioned, like James’ taste, but the twists reflect James’ boundary-defying interests like drag and ballet.
Laura spoke with us a little about her career journey, from interning at Oscar de la Renta to now being a Co-Creative Director. She moved around the fashion industry and once she returned to Oscar de la Renta, it “felt like home.” From a young age, Laura had been “addicted to looking at pretty things” and grew up in a really creative family, so was born into being a creative.
James chatted with us a bit about his upcoming book, Center Center, which releases on Tuesday, and how he’s been greatly inspired by his mother’s free spirit. He says he’s “awed by the work that goes into” costumes and clothing in both the ballet and fashion world. Creativity, to him, means freedom from insecurity, because true freedom comes from expressing ourselves – if we’re confident in ourselves, we will express our creativity with abandon. In addition to ballet, James loves drag, photography and creating pop-music, and now his book, published by Viking, will be available wherever books are sold. He recorded it as an audio book, and talked about how it was a fun and crazy experience to record his own words. We took a look at
the gallery wall representing James’ experience – a framed Roald Dahl book, his favorite childhood author, lashes from his drag shows, blak and white analog photography, pointe shoes, his illustrations – a “whole moment” that shows who he is.
St. Germain’s Fleuriste event is a lively affair celebrating Laura Kim and James Whiteside, creativity and the beauty in florals and nature, and is open to the public this weekend from August 13th to 15th! Stop by to sample the delightful cocktails and learn more about James and Laura, and St. Germain’s brand.