From fashion to floristry
Bloom Boy is making bouquets that go boom
Words: Damien Woolnough
Photography: Bloom Boy
17th May 2018
After working in the London fashion industry as a stylist and designer, Ross Jenkins decided a move to Melbourne was a good opportunity for a career change.
With the support of his Australian husband, leading hairdresser Danny Puopolo, he decided to stop and smell the roses, lilies and peonies, pursuing a career as a floral designer. "Growing up my granddad was a keen gardener and that’s where things began."
At his own civil ceremony, Jenkins' spark was fanned by collaborating with Neill Strain, the in-house florist of a little London store called Harrods.
"We talked about making special arrangements that could be worn as crowns and I could see how my work in fashion could combine with flowers.”
Through formal training Jenkins, has managed to hold onto his unconventional energy, resulting in the electric arrangements he makes under the name Bloom Boy. Sure, he can create something that will make your nana think she’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor with Meghan and Harry, but it’s the crowns of carnations, roses and gyp and giant hearts beating with dahlias that get Jenkins' sap flowing.
"There’s something about headpieces that still excites me," he says. "As well as having to find flowers that will last I really enjoy playing with texture." At the moment Sea Holly is on Jenkins’ shopping list at the flower markets. "It’s great to work with and has an amazing, dry texture."
It’s the crowns of carnations, roses and gyp and giant hearts beating with dahlias that get Jenkins' sap flowing.
In the beginning Jenkins wasn’t sure that weddings would bring him the same kind of joy. "You hear such absolute horror stories," he says. "There’s the whole bridezilla cliché." (Brace yourself for the groom-zilla cliché.)
"Then I discovered that flowers are all about the way they make people feel and bringing joy, which also makes them such a big part of weddings. They’re a big part of the day and I guess I wanted to be a part of that too."
Jenkins' enthusiasm for innovation means that he has also been called on to assist at same sex weddings.
"The main difference with gay weddings is that, traditionally, weddings were focused almost completely on the bride. Two men throws that out the window. It’s an opportunity to re-write the rules.
Then I discovered that flowers are all about the way they make people feel and bringing joy.
The Bloom Boy Instagram account is a prime example of Jenkins’ regard for the rules, with his fashion forward approach transforming tight, white Y-fronts (with a male model inside them) into impromptu vases, bathroom portraits that look like a crime scene (with flowers the deadly weapon) and jockstraps stuffed with pink lisianthus.
As well as offering titillation along with inspiration, the Instagram account and the equally high-impact Bloom Boy website, operates as a filter for cool clients.
"The people I work with are familiar with my style. I’ve got a consultation coming up for a couple with the theme 'Rainbow Australiana'. Now that will be exciting."
Less exciting, for a reformed fashionmister, are the hours, which is why Jenkins works purely on events and weddings. "It means that I don’t have to get up at 4am every morning. That gets tired very quickly."