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Year after year, there tends to be a styling moment in our holiday shoot that makes our jaws drop. This season that moment comes courtesy of David Anger, who created this DIY Christmas garland that absolutely steals the show.
Anger’s design goes beyond the basic evergreen to incorporate neutral florals that are at once unexpected and perfectly seasonally appropriate. “Candlelight and floral cures all, especially during the holidays. In the dormant winter months we crave light, nature and fragrance,” Anger tells us. “This garland offers a subtle and welcoming bouquet stemming from evergreen and eucalyptus. Even the dried hydrangea possess earthy fragrances, and twinkle lights add sparkle during the shortest days.”
Before making a full-time career out of styling, Anger was a journalist and writer for architecture and interior magazines, training both his visual eye and his storytelling skills. He still uses those skills today as the host of the design-driven podcast The Sunday Gent, talking to leading curators, academics and writers. “I think about the story of a photo shoot, how the merchandise and design can enrich people’s lives,” Anger says. “Styling for CB2 is the best. It’s a design-focused company with quality yet accessible merchandise, with a current pulse. They give stylists enormous freedom to create beautiful, inspiring environments to savour.” (And no, we did not prompt, bribe or cajole him to say any of that.)
“My interest in horticulture started early,” he continues. “My grandmother tended an amazing rose garden and my parents always nurtured flower beds and boxes and vegetable gardens. Nowadays my husband Jim and I have so many plants our house verges on hospital gift shop status.”
We’d wager it’s probably miles chicer than a hospital gift shop, based on the garland Anger created for our holiday photo shoot, which blends long-stem needle evergreen, baby’s breath, dried hydrangea and fresh eucalyptus with soft twinkle lights tucked into the evergreen. It follows what Anger calls “the classic formula for any floral arrangement: thriller (colourful dried hydrangea), spiller (fresh eucalyptus) and filler (evergreen).” The colours and textures of the hydrangea and baby’s breath add visual interest and lighten up the heaviness of the evergreen, while avoiding the “typical Christmas red and green” keeps the whole thing modern.
Anger likes working with dried botanicals not simply because they’re “trending hard,” but “it is also eco friendly. Dried floral can be recycled throughout the year into a variety of arrangements. And it’s fun! Favourite stems from your garden can be preserved and honoured.”
We also asked Anger if he had any advice for holiday decorating this year, and truthfully we think it applies generally as well: “Be chic, be abundant, be joyful and be yourself.”