Postal Petals Flower Duet LA Flowers Without Borders

Professional sports meets botanical couture, portrayed at an iconic Los Angeles venue

            Four Southern California Slow Flowers Society members from distinct facets of the floral marketplace teamed up to reinterpret a gold-and-purple #24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey — in flowers — as a tribute to both the late basketball player Kobe Bryant and to the city of Los Angeles. Captured on film at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and modeled by Talia Boone, founder of Postal Petals, the glam jersey “shift” has a regal, multi-colored botanical train appropriate for the grand sports venue.
            Like the NBA Lakers, the Coliseum arena is an instantly recognizable symbol of the City of Angels. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in conjunction with the 1984 Summer Olympics and is also home to the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans football team.

            The L.A. narrative came to life when Talia partnered with Yoni Levenbach, owner of Flowers Without Borders, a Southern California wholesaler who specializes in local and domestic sourcing, and Flower Duet, a design studio owned by partners Casey Schwartz and Kit Wertz. The creatives shared their ideas and talents, not to mention a passion for Los Angeles, culminating in a photo session that captured the Coliseum’s soaring architecture as backdrop to the brilliant floral garment.

LA Inspired Sketch for Botanical Couture
The inspiration sketch from Postal Petals

            Originally, Talia responded to our request to showcase the best of Southern California with the Lakers jersey idea. “I’m a homegrown Los Angeles girl and I’ve always loved the Lakers,” Talia explains. “Immediately, when we thought of something to represent Southern California and Los Angeles, I knew we had to do a Lakers jersey and I just thought it had to be Kobe’s. You see jerseys worn as short dresses and this always looks cute, but I wanted step it up to have a high fashion-couture look with the train.” She noted making a floral ensemble to celebrate American Flowers Week aligns with Postal Petals’ mission of sourcing exclusively U.S.-grown flowers for its DIY flowers-by-mail product line.

Kit and Yoni
On location with Kit Wertz (left) and Yoni Levenbach (right)

            Flowers Without Borders is the flower-sourcing arm of Talia’s mail-order business, so Yoni naturally assumed the task of procuring flowers. That was particularly challenging after Mother’s Day when the fields and greenhouses of many local farms were cleaned out. Working all of his grower contacts, Yoni procured about 700 stems, mostly California-grown flowers, including a number of options that he harvested from his own garden, including blooming elderberry and California oak.

production at Flower Duet
Production day at Flower Duet

            When Flower Duet agreed to join the project as producer of the design, owners Kit and Casey tapped into more than a decade of event production know-how, including past endeavors ranging from large-scale floral installations to life-sized animal topiary. The production took place over two days, as Talia joined the Flower Duet team at their studio in south Los Angeles County.

on location with Talia
Behind the scenes at the LA Coliseum

            The design uses vivid gold strawflower heads to cover most of the jersey’s front, with purple and white statice cut from Kit’s garden to create “stripes” and spell out the Lakers’ logo and Kobe’s legendary #24. The jersey’s neckline is edged in a row of craspedia; its hem is finished with a band of gerbera blooms in primary yellow. The project collaboration hit a full court drive when Kit and Casey saw Talia’s sketch of a floral train, and they then quickly moved into event-producers’ engineering mode.

This dress is a great way to illustrate what can come to life when we collaborate and work together.

            Considering the requirements for the train, they came up with a few ideas, deciding to make a separate train that could be easily transported and attached on site. “I thought of Susan McLeary’s use of faux leather for her floral collars,” Kit says. “Netting or muslin wouldn’t have worked; we needed something that could handle the weight of all those flowers.” She found a 60-inch square remnant of faux leather and cut it into a diamond shape. Working on a flat surface at the Flower Duet studio, Kit, Casey, Talia, and several Flower Duet team members attached hundreds of stems to the rougher side of the faux leather, creating chevron bands and a center medallion on the train. “We had the side stripes to carry the purple and gold through for the Lakers theme,” Kit explains. “And in the middle, we mixed all the flowers — the kangaroo paw, asters, gerberas, and more — to show the different cultures and diversity of Los Angeles.”

Long and short versions
Long and short versions of the botanical ensemble, modeled by Talia Boone of Postal Petals

            The top point of the train wraps over a chicken wire “bustle.” (Kit covered the raw-cut edge with duct tape, hand-stitched the bustle to the train using a needle threaded with dental floss, and then stabilized the attachment with zip ties.) Talia wore a construction back-support brace under the jersey for attaching the train. “It was like a corset,” Kit explains. “We cut two little holes in the jersey and used small carabiner hooks to attach the train to the belt. At one point, Talia also posed with the train as a cape, using her fingers to hook through the carabiners. I wish we had weighed the train because I know it was very heavy to wear.”

We mixed all the flowers — the kangaroo paw, asters, gerberas and more — to show the different cultures and diversity of Los Angeles.

            This project came together in just under three weeks, thanks to a collective willingness to create a stunning botanical couture addition to the American Flowers Week series. Members of the creative team didn’t know one another, and yet their goal of supporting the Slow Flowers Movement inspired them to collaborate. “There were some nights when I didn’t sleep at all because I was trying to figure out the mechanics,” Kit jokes. Adds Casey, “On the busiest, busiest floral holiday of the year, I was out shopping for supplies on Mother’s Day!”
            To Talia, the train represents the vibrant melting pot existing in Los Angeles. “I think it came out beautifully. And [this dress] is a great way to illustrate what can come to life when we collaborate and work together. That’s the part that I enjoyed most, because it’s something that I would not have been able to do on my own and I’m not sure if Yoni would have been able to do on his own. It was a great experience for all of us to work together and pull this off.”

Creative Team:

Floral Palette: Seasonal California-grown flowers in a yellow, purple, orange, red, green and white range. Grown by CamFlor Inc.,, @camflorinc; Ocean Breeze, @oceanbreezefarmsca; and Tutuli Flower Farms,
Flower Procurement: Yoni Levenbach, Flowers Without Borders,, @flowerswithoutborders
Design concept: Talia Boone, Postal Petals,, @postalpetals
Production and engineering design: Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz, Flower Duet,, @flowerduetla
Flower Duet production team: Suhair Alnabulsi and Mandy Hughes
Model: Talia Boone
Hair: Brandy Rice, @Thatchick703
Makeup: Maria Castro, @LuzBeauty
Stylist: James Carroll, @svint.jvmes
Photographer: Randy Schwartz,, @randyschwartzphoto
Venue:  Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum