Q&A: Floral Designer & Lifestylist Gillian Harding
The vibrant flavors of Caribbean food, music & people all conspire to encourage celebration! Which designer Gillian Harding definitely knows for as Oprah's go-to florist who was also chosen to do the floral decor for the Dalai Lama when he visited NYC. She recently channeled her joie de vivre into her own line of luxury kaftans & tunics inspired by her native Trinidad and Tobago, her travels and a New Year's Eve party in 2011 on the island of Mustique which she attended wearing a kaftan. "I felt sexy, beautiful, comfortable and breezy," she recalls. "When I arrived back home, I decided to create my own collection."
FASHIONTRIBES: What is the vibe of Gasparee?
Gillian Harding: Caribbean-Inspired of course. Kaftans are a summer must-have because you can dress them down, or if you're going to a fabulous party in the Hamptons, just spice it up with Jimmy Choo sandals and jewelry from my favourite designers, illmes from Trinidad, Jennifer Miller in South Hampton and Kelly Weaster Los Angeles. Gasparee is all about easy and breezy sophistication for any woman who wants a quick transport to "island luxury." Her only accessories need be her style and self-assurance ….although diamonds are always helpful. I could see Oprah, Christy Turlington, Jennifer Lopez and Kareena Kapoor Khan easily wearing these during summer.
GH: This depends on work and my mood. For example, this summer will include L.A. and the Hamptons. I’m an island girl at heart and love adorning my home with tropical flowers, especially live orchids. I also personalize my summer table setting with scented candles and beautiful accessories..
FT: Where do you draw inspiration for the line?
GH: My inspiration for Gasparee comes from my love of the Caribbean. The way I feel when I’m in Mustique and St Barts, the level of calmness, the sexiness of the water, the flowing of the fabric blowing in the breeze, the way you feel in the clothes - it all inspires you to eat, live and love.
...fashion accessory? I’m addicted to shoes so I’m always in my Jimmy Choos with some jewelry from one of my favorite designers.
...places to shop during summer? Calypso, Jennifer Miller, Kelly Wearster, Collette
...nightcap? Drink Bar in Trinidad and in Los Angeles, Cafe Habana Malibu & the Ivy and Cyril's Fish House in Montauk
...beach? In the Caribbean: Macaroni Beach, Mustique, Long Bay, Anguilla...actually any bay in Anguilla & any beach on Shelter island
...home store? Calypso
...summer novel? Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
...summer entertaining tips? Invite fun and fabulous people and put out lots of food-food-food! I’m a Trinidadian girl – so no one should ever go home hungry.
- interview by Kelly Croteau
About Kelly: She recently interviewed Hollywood stylist Anya Sarre for Fashiontribes, as well as fashion insider Laurie Pike of mystyle.com & model-turned-jewelry-designer Barbara Adler. Her work has also appeared in Ask Miss A, Project Lena & Malibu Magazine. She recently interviewed Pose co-founder Alisa Gould-Simon, one of Refinery29's Top 30 Under 30.