Image from Villa Medicea di Lilliano
After breaking through the dreamy haze of what was our Tuscan vow renewal, the following day we departed the quaint Val d’Orcia region of Italy and headed north towards Florence for Villa Medicea di Lilliano. It was shoot day!
This was a shoot that Sansaara Photography and I had been tossing around for months – actually from our very first phone conversation – and after our first home run collaboration together in Atlanta, we decided to pull the trigger over the summer to make this international shoot become a reality.
Assembling our vendor team was a thrill. When Villa Medicea di Lilliano accepted our request with open arms, we were ecstatic. The villa is an exclusive event venue but first and foremost a private home to the Malenchini family, who has owned the estate for over two centuries. Before the Malenchinis, the estate belonged to the famous Medici family and was visited by top aristocracy and royalty including King Frederick IV of Denmark. Stepping onto these pristine grounds and strolling the property thinking of its long history literally took my breath away.
After securing the location, I was fortunate enough to be connected with the talented Ilaria of Artemisia Fioristi in Florence. I loved her philosophy of design, rooted in her background of art history. She chose the name Artemisia for two reasons: Firstly, Artemisia Gentileschi was a Caravaggio school painter in the 1600s who was one of the first to acquire fame as a courageous woman who broke the rules of the times. Love that. Secondly, artemisia is also the name of a plant with many varieties…and voila, the combination of history and flowers. This plus one glance at her work and her incredible studio space in the heart of Florence and I knew we had to have her! She was such a gift!
Me with Ilaria at Artemisia in Florence
When it came for design, our goal was to stand out. So much of what you see in Italy involves beautiful neutrals or soft pastels with olive branches – all incredibly lovely! But we wanted to be cutting edge and introduce design that has not already oversaturated the market.
We sought to combine organic elements with modern, high fashion touches. I am crazy about juxtapositions and combining the unexpected – and we were outside of Florence after all, the Italian center for fashion and design!
For floral design, we loved the idea of fruit bearing branches. I wanted to keep things very organic as though the arrangements were just clipped from the garden and orchard and plopped loosely in a vase. I wanted the design to feel very refined and high end, yet relaxed and natural. Ilaria ran with this freedom, introduced us to flower types we’re not used to seeing in the states. She created the most delicious arrangements…literally…the bouquet may or may not have been completely composed of edible plants. I cannot wait to share!
As for the rest of the shoot, you’re just going to have to wait! It was a day that had me pinching myself from beginning until end, watching the sunset and the lights of Florence come alive from on top of the hill. For me, it was truly a dream come true and hopefully the beginning of a fruitful relationship with the wonderfully kind Italian professionals I had the privilege of working with.