“Creativity and compatibility remain keys to successful collaboration.”

Françoise Weeks, of Portland, Ore., has been creating botanical landscapes and wearables forever. Carol Jillian, of Austin, Texas, has been focused on this type of design for just more than three years. The two got together in March to create the breathtakingly moody floral art you see here. I talked with them about the connectivity leading to this collaboration and what they learned in working together.

Floral design, rose petal bustier and Galax leaf dress: Carol JillianFloral design, botanical jewelry and headpiece: Françoise WeeksPhotography, hair, makeup, art direction and styling: Obsidian + BlushModel: Kat Troyer White skirt: Mysterious by NPNAssistant: Jill Maasberg

In 2016, Carol was completing her training at Floral Design Institute (FDI) and was blown away by a session on wearable botanicals taught by Françoise.

“Talking to Françoise on graduation day took me back to living close to the German/Dutch border where I dried botanicals to make shoes and artifacts, which I sold to the local pubs. Being at FDI in such a creative environment and having a moment with Françoise ignited something in me and set me on this path,” explained Carol.

Françoise, unaware of her impact, started to follow Carol on Instagram, “I was loving her dresses, shawls and shoes. Even so, we didn’t chat or meet. One day, she reached out, wondering if I might have advice for her on a presentation she was delivering. We talked for more than two hours. We totally clicked.”

Realizing they were the same age and that both loved detail and were precise and passionate about couture, Carol said, “If you are ever in Texas …” Françoise had three Texas gigs, and they decided they would make time to work together.

Carol, eager to see their work professionally photographed, lined up models and hair and make-up artists and found the photographer. “Françoise likes minute details, so I suggested that she do jewelry and accessories, and I’d make a simple dress. The goal was not to be busy but quite neutral,” outlined Carol.

With a botanical dress taking 50 hours to create, Carol worked ahead of Françoise’s arrival. They went to the fl ower market, then spent three days working in Carol’s studio. “We were quiet most of the time.

Figuring out things takes quiet. We’re both introverts,” revealed Françoise. “We stood for days not saying much. When we did talk, it was of life, food and dogs. I don’t like the disturbance of talk. If it wasn’t for the food delivered by my daughter, I’m not sure we would have remembered to eat,” Carol admitted.

“Carol is very talented and has an amazing aesthetic. It was super fun to work with someone to whom detail is so meaningful and important – someone who just gets it!” exclaimed Françoise. “We talked the same language; Françoise is my floral soul mate,” reflected Carol.

Come shoot time at Carol’s local park, the weather turned rainy. “What was, at first, disappointing really helped with the moodiness, and the whole day produced great images,” stated Carol.

With the shoot completed, both designers reflected on this project. “I loved that this partnership pushed me. It’s so freeing to be in a creative position, not directed by a client,” shared Françoise. “I’m thrilled, also, to have amazing images for my website and social media. Such a great marketing opportunity,” she added.

“I wasn’t tired but totally exhilarated,” Carol shared. “I loved the whole experience. I hope the images are published and more work comes my way. Françoise perfectly matched the mood I was hoping for. We totally clicked, and now I want to work with her more.”