This florist-bandit is the hero we need right now
If you live in New York City—or lurk on social media even a little bit—chances are you've come across the following strange and wondrous sight: A huge, colorful arrangement of fresh flowers placed at a seemingly random location. Perhaps a larger-than-life bouquet of forsythia and sunflowers bursting from an empty city trash can. Or a mammoth garland of roses draped around a statue in Central Park.
These installations are so striking, they've likely caused you to stop in your tracks. They've also likely caused you to ponder the identity of the genius bandit behind these glorious acts.
The genius bandit, it turns out, is Lewis Miller, a florist known for his fantastical wedding and party arrangements. Over the last few months, he and his merry band of beautifiers have been stealthily creating what they call Flower Flashes. Their goal? Only to bring joy to their fellow citizens' daily commutes. "Gifting flowers to New Yorkers is a simple idea that I have been thinking about for years," Lewis says. "I am in the business of fantasy and flowers, and it's my job to transform key moments in my clients' lives into joyful, everlasting memories. I wanted to recreate a similar feeling for the everyday city-dwellers and tourists of New York City."
Below, Lewis gives Vogue a closer look at his Flower Flashes, and shares what else we can expect from his burgeoning side project.
"My team and I work really fast and very early in the a.m. Our call time for these flashes is 5:45 a.m., and we try to finish them before sunrise. We always recycle flowers from events when possible."
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"With our first one, the Imagine Mosaic in Central Park, we were surprised at how quickly a crowd had formed. And in this age of social media, we saw the fruits of our labor and were instantly rewarded via Instagram! We got to see how our idea translated in real time with hundreds of selflies and photographs documenting the flowers throughout the course of the day. It was really cool to see how people changed and altered the installation, sometimes by rearranging the flowers, other times by simply taking them!"
"I don't see us stopping anytime soon. These flashes are so gratifying and rewarding on many levels. There is something sort of 'Banksy-esque' about what we do, which is fun and exciting!"
"We never broadcast where our next flash will be. They just pop up randomly. We do have a hashtag that we spray by each installation: LMD x NYC. It is chalk spray paint, so it washes away in the rain. It's our way of saying #LMDWasHere."
"I can't tell you what's next, but I can reveal that we are thinking bigger and planning for that! I would love to get some funding to do these flashes on a much larger scale and reach a lot more New Yorkers. I'd also like to Flower Flash other cities. Chicago, Mexico City, Miami, Los Angeles . . . they are all on my list."
"Who doesn't love to get flowers? They are such a luxury, and New York City is a very gritty, fast-paced town. If we can bring nature—something wild and sumptuous—to New Yorkers and make them smile, the way people smile when they witness a random act of kindness, then that is a great thing. That is my goal. It's a really simple vision but powerful, I think, to try to create an emotional response through flowers."
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Photos: Courtesy of Lewis Miller