Going for gold with Olympic Carnival of Flowers costume

Kimberley Williams from Leeds wearing the first Rio style carnival costume made from real flowers and foliage at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show. (GL1009/73a)
Kimberley Williams from Leeds wearing the first Rio style carnival costume made from real flowers and foliage at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show. (GL1009/73a)

A spectacular carnival tribute to the Rio 2016 Olympics will go on display at Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

Believed to be the first ever carnival costume made from fresh flowers and foliage, the 12ft by 12ft work of art will form part of Britain’s biggest exhibition of floristry and flower arranging.

The costume has been created by international carnival costume designer Hughbon Condor and award-winning Harrogate florist Helen James, with the support of funding from Arts Council England.

Helen said: “Although I’ve created a number of fashion-inspired pieces in the competition, Carnival of Flowers was a whole new dimension. The sheer scale of a design, the fact that it needed to be completed in just a few days to stay fresh for the show and that it needed to be both wearable and durable, posed some really thrilling challenges.”

Containing more than 30 metres of aluminium tubing and fibreglass rods, 16 sq m of foam and over 1,400 fresh flowers and pieces of plant material, the costume has taken 155 hours to make. V1anda orchids, gerbera, craspedia, anthuriums, salix and palms are just some of the many hundreds of flowers and pieces of foliage to be used.

Visitors to the spring show can find out more about Hughbon and Helen’s project at a special talk on Carnival of Flowers at 1pm tomorrow in the Floral Marquee. There will also be large scale exhibits from floristry colleges across the region, who will be celebrating the forthcoming games in Brazil with the theme Carnival Rio Style.