FTD’s Director of Design on preparations, challenges encountered for 2022 edition

Rose Parade: FTD decorates vintage cars with 8,000 flower stems

Each year on New Year’s Day, millions of households around the world watch the Rose Parade while nearly a million more people gather together along the 5 ½ mile parade route in Pasadena, CA to catch a glimpse of millions of flowers adorning the floats. It is said to be the largest floral parade in the US and for over 70 years, FTD, the oldest national floral brand in the US, is sponsoring the floral décor on the VIP vehicles. In this article, FTD’s Director of Design Andrea Ancel gives us an insight into how they prepared for the event and what challenges they encountered this year.

The design process starts about six months before the event, before they even know which VIP cars will be selected. “For example, I had some very specific color palettes in mind, even before we knew which cars were selected for the parade. We conceptualize more designs prior to the car selections, making it a seamless process to fine-tune the design storyboards once the cars are finalized. Once car selections happen, things move fast, so any advance work allows us to focus on minor tweaks and get our floral orders placed in October/November.”   

The Theme for 2022 ToR was Dream, Believe, Achieve. “Our designs tied back into the theme using color, floral styling and "Achieve" was a part of it from a scale perspective.”

The major challenge this year was to purchase all the specific flowers they wanted, Ancel explains. “The flowers, 8.000 flower stems in total, were sourced from South America, California, Holland, and beyond. This year, it was a challenging year to get all the specific flowers we wanted. When working with a perishable product, you need to improvise quite often. A few of our designs had an ombre twist to them, so adjusting floral varieties for one often meant we needed to shift a few others to remain true to the intended design.” 

“We're always up for a challenge, but it got to a point that we looked beyond flowers to incorporate shades of floral in other ways. For example, we dyed corn husks in beet juice and turmeric, and then covered them in dried florals to be able to add more texture and unique colors into designs. We also dipped palm leaves in dried floral petals to add scale to our designs.” 

Preparation next year
“The team typically receives the VIP vehicle selection in August and begins the design concept process a couple of months before.”

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