When it comes to floral arrangements, Todd Fiscus, chic florist and celebrated event designer to the elite, loves what flowers bring to the table: joy.
“Flowers have always gotten a bad rap, but consumers choose what is frivolous and what is not, and to me, flowers are a joy,” Fiscus tells CultureMap.
In what’s sure to be joyous news for the design-conscious, Fiscus’ notable Dallas-based floral boutique, Avant Garden, has opened a new Houston showroom in River Oaks District.
Sitting pretty across from Toulouse Café and Bar, formerly occupied by Forty Five Ten, the 2,500-square-foot space features 19-foot ceilings, inspired by “great, traditional women and what they’ve brought to the world of great taste.”
Inside, shoppers can find ready-to-purchase or custom floral arrangements in artisan pottery or opt for 100-rose bouquets, priced at $125, from the Tuk Tuk cart. Daily flower arrangements, a focus for Avant Garden, range from $55 to $150.
Arrangements are created by “scale, appropriation of design, and color story,” Fiscus says. Asking specific questions give the Avant Garden team a quick insight on the personality of the receiver of the flowers.
Fiscus, who has landed a spot on Veranda magazine’s desirable list of The Top 25 Best Local Flower Shops in the U.S., feels that his shop offers much more than designing lavish, expensive parties, galas, and weddings.
Parties in bloom
“We also do small parties very well,” he says. “In our Dallas operation, we have clients who call us for Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, or a beautiful dinner for 20 people; however, in Houston, we basically only get asked to design “whales” — these giant parties, which create a sense of intimidation in the market.”
Fiscus and his husband, celeb hair maestro Ceron, recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Ana Emilia Ceron-Fiscus, and says he wants to be with his family while also offering Houstonians the opportunity to celebrate every moment with flowers — no minimum required.
“The store allows us to show [Houstonians] that you can come in to Avant Garden and get beautiful flowers for a small party, a lovely wedding at home, or a birthday dinner with eight tables, and we would knock it out of the park,” Fiscus says. “It could be decorating your home for Christmas or New Years without feeling like you have to call some highfalutin party planner decorator Todd Fiscus of Todd Events.”
Immersive experiences, brought by a partnership with Motus Red Photobooth, include two complimentary photo booth installations in the showrooms’ windows, each representing what Fiscus does as a florist and event designer.
#FlowerRain features thousands of flowers and petals “designed to look like you’re standing in a rainstorm of flowers,” and #BringTheHouseDown is an eight-foot disco ball surrounded by crushed chandeliers and orange extension cords is “a nod to what we try to do every single Friday and Saturday night.”
“It looks like you’ve pulled everything out of the ceiling and you’re standing in a field of broken crystal, like you have brought the house down,” Fiscus says.
A world of orchids
Located at the front right-hand corner of the showroom is the Orchid Bar. Fiscus allows that he couldn’t bring himself to take down the gold leaf wallpaper left behind by Forty Five Ten. “It’s too fabulous,” he says.
Shoppers can expect “orchid specimen varietals from six different growers across the world,” potted orchids with gold leaf lucite stakes and 24-karat gold wiring, beautifully designed plant installations, and custom large-scale terrariums “that are “dioramas of incredible art, lasting six months to a year.” The “living contemporary art sculptures” range from $250 to $600.
Fiscus teamed up with local, family-owned business, Becca Cakes, to offer Houstonians the perfect host or hostess gift, ranging from mini cakes, macarons, sugar cookies, and meringues, all adorned with exquisite floral designs.
“We want to provide different experiences within the store with talented people, and Becca is one of the most talented people in Houston,” Fiscus says. “We’re celebrating Houston’s talent.”
Luxe home finds
Avant Garden will also offer luxury home accessories, including a collection of avant-garde home goods from L’Objet and Texas-born twin artists and designers Nikolai and Simon Haas.
“We will have 15 of their pieces,” Fiscus notes. “We entered a lottery to be able to sell their products and are one of 25 stores in the United States that won, so we’re very excited about that.”
The fun doesn’t stop there. Avant Garden at ROD will act as the Houston headquarters for Todd Events where Fiscus and his creative team will be available, on-site, providing ideas for corporate affairs, luxurious weddings, galas, and more.
“I’ve been in the flower business since 1994, and I still love [what I do], and I still think flowers give parties life,” says Fiscus. “They’re the thing to me that make [parties] feel sexy, emotional, and soft around the edges.”
Avant Garden at River Oaks District is located at 4444 Westheimer Rd., Ste. F100, Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm, and Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm.