Monday, March 30

The LIST: Preston Bailey

I have huge admiration for creative minds. But more than admiration, I have great respect for those who refuse to settle for mediocrity and use their talents to live each day to the very fullest. One such person is the incomparable Preston Bailey. I have long been a great admirer of Preston’s work and his raw talent. As you can imagine, I was more than delighted when the wonderful Susan Moolman facilitated an introduction.

Born and raised in tropical Panamá, Preston grew up short on riches but long on imagination. He moved to New York City in 1968 at the age of 19 and began his career in the design world as a fashion model, eventually opening a men’s clothing boutique. When his store closed in 1980 Preston was out of work and in need of a job. His best friend, interior designer Vicente Wolf, suggested that Preston create floral arrangements for clients.

After several years of building his reputation as a floral designer and event planner, Preston had the good fortune of meeting Joan Rivers. She asked him to design her daughter Melissa’s wedding, propelling his talent into the limelight.

I adore the way Preston combines the fruits of his imagination with the beauty of the natural world to create energetic color palettes, sensuous textures and architectural shapes. 
Twenty-seven years after the closing of his store, Preston has designed events and weddings for countless celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby and Uma Thurman. Preston is living proof that necessity is the mother of invention.

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style can be described as “generous as nature”—I find that nature is very generous in what it gives to us day to day and I aim to be equally as generous.

What inspires your creativity and designs?
Beauty and abundance of nature. The texture and smell of a flower, the beauty of the colors, all of these things inspire me.

What is your most prized possession?
My most prized possession is my health. I work out 7 days a week and try to eat very healthy. I meditate often and take time out for myself daily to write about my thoughts.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Peace of mind. It is the most important thing you have to have in your life. It helps balance out all other things.

Who are your style icons?
My best friend Vicente Wolf, John Galliano and David Rockwell.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I would love to collaborate with Vicente Wolf on a huge event. The collaboration of styles would be magnificent.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
A New Earth by Eckhardt Tolle and The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Flying first class.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Peaceful sleeping. Though I travel often, I am very fortunate to manage to sleep at least 8 hours a day. I understand how important rest is for the body and spirit.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I would love to meet President Obama and I would spend the day picking his brain for insight into Politics.

What is the most memorable event that you have attended as a guest?
Oprah’s 50th birthday party. The entire event from beginning to end was memorizing. Oprah of course was quite stunning and the party was filled with so much energy.

Profile by Ronda Carman


Paul Pincus said...

so inspired and so beautiful. these images are wonderful.

great interview!

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Paul! He REALLY is so inspiring!!!

Love Where You Live said...

I absolutely went ga-ga over the dog! At first, I wondered, when I saw the photo, is that a real pup! Fabulous florals. (I'm a fan of Vincent Wolf, too.)
best, -susan

Kwana said...

Wonderful interview. I'm such a fan of Preston and I love that his 2 books are 2 of my faves! He's so inspiring.

Karena said...

Great talent, Preston is so balanced. The images take your breath away! The Artist's Way is coming off my bookshelf for a reread right now!

jae said...

Loved this interview. I have always loved the quirkiness of that photo with the dog....and the peacock I hadn't seen before....stunning. I have both of those books on my nightstand also. Another great interview Ronda!

Sam said...

What a wonderful interview. So inspiring.

gatherings home said...

Preston Bailey is such a wonderful talent. I've read about his amazing abilities and admired his work so very much. Great interview Ronda.

Renae said...

Thank you for such a great post...the florals are just amazing. That has to be my favorite part in entertaining...doing something creative with florals...if I just had one nth of his creativity.

Laura [What I Like] said...

What an absolutely centered man! And he looks at least twenty years younger than his actual age...a testament to healthy living I suppose. Such a great interview.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

What an amazing experience to interview one of THE BEST! Great post, divine pics!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Great interview. I love Preston's work. I received one of his books as a gift when I was planning my wedding and I feel in love immediately.

Renee Finberg said...


i think the big white dog is a hoot !


Brillante Home Decor said...

What a great Post, interesting interview of a creative and inspiring man.

Rachel Mallon said...

His work is fabulous!

Anonymous said...

What a great profile. I have love watching Preston's career take off!

pve design said...

Preston Bailey deserves to meet Obama, I wonder what he would bring, what sort of arrangement? No doubt he already has something up his sleeve or shall I say he is "armed" and at the ready! Can you be "all the best" ask him what sort of arrangement he would do for Obama?

BeluB said...

"Peace of mind. It is the most important thing you have to have in your life."
Amazing, he really describes life in three words: only if you have peace of mind you will have a life.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

What wonderful answers! That man deserves all the best.

franki durbin said...

now there is a man with an amazing imagination. I've actually never seen creations like his. Which - considering how vast the web is and how readily available images form around the world are - is saying a lot. Such talent!

Thanks for introducing me to his work. I am now a true fan.

coco+kelley said...

i adore preston bailey! his was the first book i bought on true floral design - such over the top inspiration!

tinkalicious said...

love that peacock!

Meade Design Group said...

Preston is such an amazing talent - in my opinion the best flower couturier out there.

Tobi Fairley said...

I love this post!!! Preston is so positive and ultra inspiring! It was just the pick me up I needed in the midst of some really hectic weeks! Thanks! Tobi