Fifty Years of AIFD

Fifty Years of AIFD


For those of you that don’t know, this was my first year attending AIFD’s National Symposium, and it was definitely the right year to go, as it was their 50th anniversary! The excitement and energy was palpable all week, and it was inspiring to be a part of such a big year for AIFD. To kick off the week, their first show was called“Reflections: AIFD’s Five Decades of Design Excellence,” and for a wide-eyed newbie like myself, it was a great way to learn about the history of AIFD, and really get a grasp on what it is all about. Five designers were given the task to transport us all to a different decade that they were a part of. Here’s what we learned on our trip down memory lane!




The sixties were all about geometric shapes. Two very popular bouquet forms were the asymmetrical triangle, and the round ballerina bouquet. To give us an idea, Bob recreated a bouquet that had been featured at AIFD’s second symposium back in the sixties, using lily of the valley and phalaenopsis. Around the time that the Kennedy’s came into office, things became a bit more casual than the severe geometric look, and looked towards nature to create forms. Such a fun time, and according to Bob ” GEOMETRIC FORM IS COMING BACK!” So get ready, we’re going back to the sixties!


1975 – 1985

George Mitchell AIFD, CFD, AAF, PFCI

Next, we traveled a few years forward to the heart of the seventies. Around this time is when floral design in the US really began to be influenced by European and Dutch design. There were lots of design classes in Europe that Americans and Canadians were flocking to in order to learn about European design. Everything was about texture, and bigger was definitely better. George’s true love was designing garlands, and he showcased a beautiful, cascading garland inspired by these trends in the seventies!


1985 – 1985


Oh boy, the eighties! Now, if you can believe it, I wasn’t even born yet (90’s baby all the way!) but I’ve been around long enough to know what the 80’s were all about! In terms of floral design, everything was about lines. Tina stressed the importance of parallel systems and lines in floral design at that time. Her first arrangement was a windswept design with parallel systems, whose diagonal structure was reminiscent of a tipi. Her bouquet also focused on repetition in design, with the pattern created over and over. I definitely walked away with the newfound knowledge that repetition and lines was huge in the eighties – somewhat surprising with all that big, wild hair everywhere!


1995 – 2005

Scott Alan Awad AIFD, CFD

In talking about the nineties, Scott looked for inspiration from The Lion King, and I couldn’t be more excited upon hearing that! It was my favorite Disney movie growing up, and I attended the Broadway play in Los Angeles alongside our huge family, wide eyed and awestruck by the beauty and colors. But I digress. Scott chose this as his inspiration because he was asked to do the flowers for the Lion King’s extended stay in his hometown in Michigan (nope, not jealous at all!) The nineties were all about wiring, banding and binding. He showed us a few examples, including a traditional hand tied bouquet with wire armature, corsages, and boutonnieres. We also saw a spectacular table centerpiece, which was made up of three square wreath forms wired together, and placed on a tray with a large piece of foam for the upper structure. It incorporated parallel lines and framing, pave and sheltering, and ruscus to hide the mechanics.


2005 – 2015

Brooke Raulerson AIFD, CFD

When we made it back to the present, I knew I was back in my element. Words like “Pinterest,” “tweeting,” and “instagraming” were thrown around, and I felt right at home! Brooke came out with her cell phone, pretending to multitask by talking on the phone, sending emails, and checking her Pinterest all at the same time. Hey, it might seem crazy to a lot of you, but at least we can laugh at ourselves and acknowledge how insane we must look! As many of us know, social media and technology now plays a huge role in floral design. Gone are the days that brides walk into a consultation with a completely open mind, instead pulling up their Pinterest page within the first two minutes. While much has changed, Brooke pointed out that everything being done these days is not completely and 100% new. Designers look to the past for inspiration, and use trends from past decades to reinvent the wheel and come up with fresh takes on old trends. She left us with the sentiment to “expand your horizons” and find inspiration in everything, and then hit us with her grand finale, a costume change into a beautiful wedding gown holding a gorgeous, cascading bridal bouquet. And then the music started blasting and floral students basically held a bouquet fashion show/dance party all in one and it was awesome and high energy and a great way to kick off the week!


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