On any given evening in New York City, there are hundreds—maybe thousands?—of events. While many are entertaining, few have the power to truly mesmerize. But on Wednesday night, in the Chelsea Market Passage of the city’s High Line, St-Germain and model-turned-landscape designer and creative director Lily Kwong did just that by transforming the already gorgeous public space into a veritable hanging garden of botanical delights. Guests wandered among living garden walls arranged like a 16th-century French labyrinth, while canopies of lush blooms floated overhead. There was also a breathtaking modern dance performance by Mafalda Millies and an array of beautifully adorned St-Germain cocktails to provide further sensory delight.
“The High Line made me fall in love with urban planning and landscape design—to me, it’s a masterpiece,” explained Kwong of the inspiration behind the installation and event. “I wanted to honor the existing industrial architecture of the site. It felt important to visualize the mind-blowing fact that each bottle of St-Germain is composed of 1,000 delicate elderflowers that are handpicked once a year in Europe, so we hand-constructed a hanging installation of thousands of flowers modeled after rolling hills that interplay with the existing neon lighting. Every design element is meant to disorient, delight, and inspire an awe for nature on the summer solstice.”
Below, Kwong shares insight into how the installation (which will remain on view until tonight) came together, as well as a few tips to steal for your own summer soirees.
“We brought more than 13,000 flowers to the High Line and hand-constructed them into beautiful curtains and grids, inspired by a vintage photo I found of a cabaret with hanging florals on the Champs-Élysées from the 1920s. We started working with the amazing florists from Botanica weeks before the event to source peonies, Queen Anne’s lace, hydrangeas, roses, wisteria, delphinium, ranunculus, viburnum, lilies, and more. The green walls are handmade with cuttings from boxwood and huckleberries (which happens to be my brother’s name!). Insanely enough, we only had from midnight before the event to load our florals onto the High Line, and construction began just 12 hours before the event, so the blooms were as fresh as possible. It took a sleepless night and lots of fortitude to turn this vision into a reality!”
“The green walls are handmade with cuttings from boxwood and huckleberries (which happens to be my brother’s name!). Insanely enough, we only had from midnight before…