This story is a case of serendipity. I was cleaning out my Vogue Pattern magazines just before I went to New York and found an article in the June/July 2023 issue about a firm that made flowers in New York. Tore the article out and showed it to our intrepid tour leader Brenda. She said well we are going to be the garment district, let’s see if we can find it. Off we went and into a building and confirmed with the man on reception that we were in the right place and took the elevator to the 7th floor to M.& S. Schmalberg Inc.
We could see flowers through the window and were bussed in by Adam Brand and welcomed to the showroom It got better. Adam could see our enthusiasm and also see us peaking around the corner into the shop floor. He asked us if we would like to be shown around. We didn’t think twice. We were treated like princesses. There were box after box filled with wonderful fabric flowers. It was like being at a smorgasbord banquet where the wonderful food exceed what you can possibly consume. We hardly knew where to look next. Along came Warren who guided us through the shop. We saw machines that cut the petals from fabric. We saw dies that would then shape the petals. We saw people working at assembling the flower petals into groups and we saw the flower centres being added and the luscious results.
The flowers are used for many purposes. Some turn up on costumes for theatre, some for gowns that stars wear to the Oscars and in movies. Some are used for wedding dresses and couture outfits. Some are used in napkin rings, for wedding decorations,bouquets and boutinneres. They are great pins and can be used on hats and in hair ornaments. I wanted one of everything. My friend and I took many pictures and you can see them above. They show the process better than I can explain.
Warren and Adam could see how delighted we were and we each came away with a box of flowers. Luckily I brought an extra suitcase. i am looking at them now and enjoying the artistry and craftsmanship of the work There are endless combinations of fabrics, dies to cut petal, still other moulds to shape the petals and many ways to assemble them. Literaly there is no end to creativity in this business and the showroom and flowers reflect this. Their website is as eye popping as the showroom and you can see the details of how the petals are marked and the finished products.