The inspiring Botanical Couture Collection is central to the American Flowers Week celebration. This beautiful series of wearable floral fashions was created with locally-harvested flowers and foliages by design teams around the U.S. For 2019, we have the largest collection to date — NINE Looks!

In the days leading up to the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), we want to highlight stories of the people, flowers, studios and farms behind these beautiful looks.

Let’s visit Alaska’s Prolific Peony Fields

The fanciful and feminine peony gown designed by Kim Dunshie Herning of Northern Lights Peonies incorporates hundreds, if not thousands of peony stems!

Kim is also on the board of Arctic Alaska Peonies, a sponsor of Slow Flowers, so we’re thrilled that she listened to her inner fashionista and came up with this fabulous gown!

We asked Kim to share how she created this wonderful look.

Materials list:
-Two layers of heavy-gauge chicken wire to form the base of the skirt
-Wire to fasten and attach sections of chicken wire
-Landscape plastic mesh to cover the chick wire skirt
-Spruce branches

Peony Varieties:
Festiva maxima, Sarah Bernhardt, Felix Supreme, Walter Faxon and My Love

Method: “I rolled out the heavy-gauge chicken wire to create the basic shape of my skirt. I realized that I would need two layers of the wire to make the base strong enough to stand up on its own in order to support the hundreds of peonies I planned to use!

“After I finalized the shape, I wired a layer of plastic landscape mesh over the chicken wire base (the openings in the mesh are comparable to the diameter of a peony stem). I also cut a ‘bendable’ door on the back/hem of the skirt that was large enough for my model to slide into.

“From the underside, I also wired on spruce branches to provide more support for the peony stems once inserted. Then, my team and I filled all of the holes with short-stem peonies that I had been saving during the season in our cooler.”

P.S., Kim says that because the Fairbanks weather was so mild last summer, “the dress lasted a good week!”

What’s next for you, Kim? “My head is spinning with plans for Summer 2019 with a bigger and better peony dress — or maybe two, this time! Who knows?”

We’re so thrilled that Kim’s peony dress caught the attention of The Daily News-Miner, Fairbanks, Alaska’s daily newspaper. Check out the feature story they just published about it!

Thanks, Kim! Download social media badges here and see all of our 2019 Botanical Couture collection here!

Creative Credits:

Design team: Kim Herning, Roxy Marcy and Tirzah Friesen
Venue and Flowers: Northern Lights Peonies, Fairbanks, Alaska, @northernlightspeonies
Lead Designer: Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies, Arctic Alaska Peonies @arcticalaskapeonies
Model and H/MU: Tirzah Friesen
Photography: Roxy Marcy with Alaska Alchemy @alaskaalchemy