passavant cotillion

We decorated the Passavant Cotillion and Christmas ball, taking John Singer Sargent’s painting “Carnation, Lilly, Lilly, Rose” as inspiration. This debutant ball was founded in 1949 to raise money for the Passavant Memorial Hospital, now known as Northwestern Hospital. Using masses of trees, flowers, and plants, we made the formal ballroom feel like a twilit garden in the English countryside. Framing the debutante’s entrance, and emphasizing the focal point of the event, we created a “grove” of eight 24-foot oak and river birch trees. We then festooned them with hand-painted incandescent Japanese paper lanterns and embowered the stage with a mossy 40-foot long ruin, overgrown with live foxgloves, wild brambly roses, and smaller trees. Themes of nature, childhood and innocence were underscored by color harmony of greens with peaches, pinks, and whites. Soaring camellia and magnolia arrangements towered over tables, alternating with low masses of world white lilies, french carnations and Hanoi ranunculus.