This Instagram Account Is Making Ugly Florals Cool
Inside Stella Bugbee's passion project.
Have you noticed the trend of floral arranging lately where designs are skewing far from the traditional bouquet? We have seen creative combinations incorporating odd vessels, greenery that you wouldn't find in the typical florist shop, and even flowers that are long past fresh. It's almost like these arrangements are evoking a still-life painting complete with their own momento mouri. These artistic natural creations are showing up in editorial spreads, as centerpieces in cool spaces, and of course, on our Instagram feeds.
One of our favorite accounts to check out these unique arrangements? The fun feed @freakebana. Created and run by the editor-in-chief of The Cut Stella Bugbee, the Instagram curates tons of beautifully off-kilter natural displays.
"I’ve loved flowers and amateur arranging since I was a child, watching my grandmother make arrangements for her dinner parties," explains Bugbee. "I invented [freakebana] to describe the ugly-cool arrangements I was seeing on Instagram." The word is derived from the Japanese style of floral design ikebana, yet adds in the "freak" to capture this new post-modern take on the medium.
"After I coined the term and wrote about the style in NYMag and on The Cut, I wanted to collect the aesthetic and see if I could encourage others to use the hashtag and share their own work," says Bugbee. "Because it’s a very democratic approach to floral arrangement, I figured many people would be able to participate."
Now Bugbee frequently posts to her account, showcasing work of artists and occasionally her own designs. Yet with the busy schedule of an editor-in-chief, we had to ask what inspires her to put in the extra time and research to curating her impressive feed. "Well, I think it’s fun to have different things that use different parts of your brain. I wouldn’t call this a side hustle, as I have yet to glean anything other than pleasure from it," she shares. "It’s a hobby — it feels very organic."
When asked what's in store for @freakebana down the line, Bugbee replies, "I don’t know! It seems like a trend, so I suspect it will be replaced by the next aesthetic." In the meantime, the editor encourages folks to get in touch with their creative side and try out these funky arrangements. She says, "Everybody should try making freakebana! It’s fun!"