Behind the Scenes: Marisa Bosquez-White

The floral designer behind Reese Witherspoon’s flower crown and bouquet in the finale of Big Little Lies Season 2 dishes on her work’s TV debut and how her small-town roots influence her aesthetic
Wearing a long black dress and holding a deep burgundy rose, Marisa Bosquez-White, sits in a chair, legs crossed, resting her chin on one hand. The room features astro turf as carpet, a multicolor abstract wallpaper, and a grassy floral display. Photo by Amanda Rowan
Marisa Bosquez-White. Photo by Amanda Rowan

Marisa Bosquez-White is on our watchlist, literally. Since opening her own floral studio, Flores de Bosquez, in the Greater Los Angeles area in 2017, the Texas native has landed a spot on The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2019 list and her first floral gig for television—the Big Little Lies Season 2 finale. Flower magazine caught up with her to talk flower crowns and inspiration.

Flower: When you got the call to design for Big Little Lies, how did you react?

Marisa Bosquez-White: I was surprised and thrilled! One of the costume designers on Big Little Lies found me on The Knot and reached out. I was a fan of the show and watched the first season with my husband. When she told me who would be wearing the flowers, I was so excited—I love Reese! (Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies; I watch it when I am feeling down and need a boost.)

Tell us about the experience from beginning to end.

Floral crowns, placed one next to the other, cover the length of an outstretched arm
An armful of flower crowns destined for the big vow renewal scene in Malibu. For filming purposes, Bosquez-White made duplicates of everything. Then she remade them for re-shoots! Photo via Flores de Bosquez’s Instagram

The costumer designer contacted me in May of 2018, a week away from the filming date for the Big Little Lies Season 2 finale. First, we spoke on the phone about the creative direction, and they sent me a few inspiration photos. The costume team wanted the florals to have a wildflower look—as if Madeline Mackenzie’s (Witherspoon’s character) daughters made them—with mostly white flowers.

Next, I created a mood board, keeping in mind their direction as well as the needs of a film shoot. I suggested a pastel color palette and flowers that would hold up well for filming. They liked my suggestions and ordered duplicates of everything (for filming purposes). A week later, I was at the L.A. flower market purchasing flowers and making crowns. A member of the costume team picked up the flower crowns/bouquets and off they went to Malibu.

Cut to almost a year later. The costume team contacted me for re-shoots, so I remade all the crowns. Finally, a few months later, the finale episode aired on HBO.

What was it like seeing your designs on screen—and on Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram!

My little brother texted me the photo Reese posted on Instagram that morning—I was so surprised by her casual post and how prominently the flower crown appeared; it complemented her so well. That night, I watched the Big Little Lies Season 2 finale episode. I thought the wedding vow renewal scene was beautifully filmed and loved seeing how the flowers enriched the scene.

What flowers and foliage did you use?

In keeping with the “wildflower” direction, I used pale pink spray roses, daisies, statice, limonium, solidago, delphinium, and lavender. For foliage, I used rosemary, dusty miller, and explosion grass. I wanted a lot of texture and dimension. I chose daises and chamomile for their naive feel and rosemary for its sensory quality.

Wildflower bouquet created by Marisa Bosquez-White for Big LIttle Lies Season 2
Marisa Bosquez-White styled a “naive” wildflower bouquet to complete the scene. “The costume team wanted the florals to look as if Madeline Mackenzie’s (Witherspoon’s character) daughters made them,” she says. Photo via Flores de Bosquez’s Instagram

You grew up in a small town in Texas. How did your upbringing influence your floral aesthetic?

Well, growing up in Robstown, Texas, the only thing I ever wanted to be was an artist; I have been studying color, balance, and composition for as long as I can remember.

Growing up in a rural area gave me a real sense of self. I have always felt very confident in my style and ability. Being somewhat isolated, I did not have a lot to compare myself to and had to create my own world.

Having a natural love for nature, I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child. My hometown is surrounded by cotton and corn fields. I am influenced by the hot, rugged, spare landscape in the sense that I see beauty where most do not. This is why I am drawn to juxtaposing a garden rose with a weed.

A woman's leg and arms peek out behind layers of skirts and a vibrant flower arrangement of red, purple, and yellow blooms. The scene is a collaboration of Marisa Basquez-White's floral design and Amanda Rowan's photography
When not designing florals for weddings and other client projects, Bosquez-White is working with photographer Amanda Rowan on a fine art project. Photo by Amanda Rowan

You previously had a career in fashion. Are there parallels between what you did then and what you do now?

I worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years, mostly designing jewelry. There are many parallels between floral and fashion design. As with all design work, it comes down to balance. You must have balance even in asymmetry. Color is a large part of my process; I almost always start with a palette and a mood board for any floral project, just like any fashion project. The basics of color, balance, and composition apply to any design field.

What flower best describes your personality and why?

My favorite flower is a rose; I absolutely love roses. However, I think I may be more of a scabiosa—they are a little weird and very resilient.

Are you working on anything for TV now?

The same costume designer reached out to me recently for another show, so hopefully I will have more florals on TV soon.

Produced by Terri Robertson

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