Florist designer Tracy Huffor creates timeless vintage style

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Tracy Huffor is the type of Houstonian who might plan an impromptu celebration around the first azalea blossoms of the season.

Huffor, the designer of Fleuriste, a clothing line comprised of timeless silhouettes and vintage-inspired fabrics, says she has long drawn inspiration from the natural world.

It could be in the photographs of the European gardens she visited with her mother as a young girl or, she says, an afternoon spent “under the oak alleys” near Rice University – not far away. from her home – home to “those magnolias that are as big as paper plates you can throw your face into.

Fleuriste offers seasonal collections designed for a client who appreciates the way a garment is constructed, both outside and inside, with attention to detail such as silk lining, flattering pleats, stitching tied and other neat finishes.

“Classic fits are a nod to British garden party romanticism… romantic, but also practical,” says Huffor, with tied petticoats and pinched waists.

Huffor, 52, started Florist just before the pandemic, although some of his customers have already purchased his designs through his label Tracy & Michael.

After winning a design competition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston 20 years ago, Huffor launched its first line. Tracy & Michael quickly grew into a boutique, then a larger space on West Gray, and ultimately a wholesale account available nationwide at retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

The cartoons appeared on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and on Debra Messing in a “Life” magazine photoshoot.

Yesterday and today, says Huffor, his designs are timeless.

“I’ve always been drawn to things you couldn’t put your finger on whether they were old or new,” says Huffor, who grew up in South Texas before studying at the University of Houston.

Watching classic movies as a child, she says she admired women’s styles but studied how the little details dated them. Men’s clothing, she noted, has stood the test of time.

“Cary Grant could still wear this today,” she said.

It is with this notion that Huffor produces clothes uninfluenced by time, trend or season, she says.

Its cotton, silk damask, velvet and cashmere come mainly from factories in France, Switzerland, Italy and England. The dresses are made in the USA

She appreciates retro-inspired flowers, sometimes using Liberty of London archival fabrics for “easy-to-wear Grace Kelly-in-the-tropics dresses.”

Day to day, Huffor would rather navigate his favorite cafes and parks on his 1970s green Raleigh bike rather than a car.

Neighborhood hangouts are as likely to influence her next collection as her many trips, she says.

She spends time in cafes such as Brasil and Agora in Montrose, which “still have a bohemian artist vibe, like a Houston version of old Greenwich Village”.

She also finds solace in Heights-area Tiki bar, Lei Low. “I absolutely revere the place and have built my collection of Hawaiian dresses as a tribute to them and my love for all warm, lush, tropical places.”

While Florist is still a young business, Huffor says one of her biggest honors is having her 20-year-old designs photographed today on women in Houston.

As she works on her next dress release and develops fragrances with a perfumer in France to add to her line, she says now is the time for expansion, as women shy away from sweatpants and other designer clothing. Work at home.

“You can really begin to feel the world starting to wake up with a renewed sense of hope and optimism, a yearning for pretty authentic colorful things of lasting value,” she says. “I’ve always been kind of humbled that I’m not the only person who wants simple and beautiful clothes. “

Allison Bagley is a writer in Houston.


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