Unconventional flower design
This is the story of designer Alina Popa, a wedding florist from Romania. She is founder of NO NO NO: an unconventional flower design studio dedicated to nonconformist brides. Her work is on the cover of "The Story of M." magazine.Back to stories
lina: “I specialize in structural flower design. Sometimes I go for bold, clear lines and other times I like to try out designs that are fluid, feminine and full of color. It depends on the bride. If there is a constant in my work, I always look for harmony and I try to keep the designs as light as possible.”
BAM! Magic Happened!
Alina grew up on a farm, surrounded by nature. After a disappointing Art study, she discovers flowers: “And then bam! Magic happened! It was instant love, early spring 2008. I was so blinded by it that I opened my first flower shop two months later, even though I had no experience with flowers or running a business. I gave up on the shop a month later. It was so stupid and reckless that I still laugh about it. But my love for flower design remained ever since, and though it took many other stupid decisions and failures, I never gave up on it.”
Alina with the light hands
“Gregor Lersch, whom I admire a lot, called me “Alina with the light hands” and told me I have a light touch with flowers, and I should use it. I felt honored and I’m doing my best to remember it every time I work.” Alina tries hard to stay inspired: “I don’t think ideas come like magic out of nowhere. I think they get built inside of us from what we see every day.” She sees a trend in ‘Diversity’. Alina: “I notice such a variety of styles, materials and techniques out there, and so many designers using them freely, that to me it seems that individuality is the main thing these days.” It is something that clearly shows in her work, that is, as she describes it, ‘unconventional’. Technical masterpieces, showing a lot of patience in her detailed work. Most of the time, the flowers are sealed, because they are wired or glued to the frame.
Credits “Queens of the dollhouse”
Design: Alina Popa
Photo: Vlad Bîrdu
Model: Andra Dumitrache
Make-up: Mihaela Cherciu
Hairstyle: Claudiu Alex Sarghe
The Queen series: fame & glory
Alina’s technical skills stand out in her Queen series, she started in 2014.
“Queens of the dollhouse” was first. Alina tried to portray a choice she made at the time: to become a successful flower designer. Alina: “That is why the front is filled with beautiful flowers fit for a queen (my image of success), while the back it’s a hard and intricate corset, not so pretty anymore, that shows the struggles, the hard work, the sacrifices and compromises that I had to make.”
For her second Queen series, “Queens of Ipse” Alina turned the idea of success into a crown that can take many shapes and colors, making us feel happy, powerful or even lonely sometimes. But then: “I realized that being successful is not about fame and glory, but about being who I want to be, doing the things I want to do and simply enjoying my own life.”
Credits “Queens of Ipse”
Design: Alina Popa
Photo: Vlad Bîrdu
Model: Marie Damian
Art direction & post production: Alexandru Nimurad
Make-up: Diana Ionescu
Hairstyle: Alex Șomandroiu
I just need to do things that make me happy.
Alina experienced a life changing turnaround in 2017. Many florists may struggle with the same issues as Alina did: pushing yourself to be cool, do cool things, work with cool people, contently proving to the world just how good you are. For Alina it became too much, and in 2017 she adjusted her priorities. “I went to a Rosa Valls/Andreea Stör workshop, where, as a final assignment, I got a nut from which I was supposed to make a bridal bouquet. After I finished my bouquet, I realized I smiled all the way through the process, which never happened before while I was working. Not only that, but I just breezed through the entire assignment. I realized that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, anymore. I just need to do things that make me happy. My direction is clear and simple. I want to steadily grow my business, while helping nonconformist women like myself to showcase their individuality and femininity with unconventional and beautiful bridal bouquets. And I am happy doing this. I find my work rewarding.”
The bridal bouquet series “Queens”: a collection or bridal bouquets that are shaped as royal cups cups and orbs, for brides that want to feel like queens on their wedding day. Design: Alina Popa. Photo: Vlad Bîrdu
Not afraid to fail
Alina has a tip for all starting designers reading this article: “Don’t try to learn things the hard way, like I did. In 2008 there were no flowers schools in Romania, and you could barely find anything on the internet. But now there are so many options! Go to school, do an internship, learn from professionals before opening your business. And more importantly, experiment and exercise all the time. Don’t be afraid to fail, because mistakes are part of the learning process.”
Inspired by Alina? You can find out more about her here.