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Armando Malafronte, the prince of flowers

He decorates lifetime events and interprets every bride’s dream. The most famous floral designer of the Amalfi Coast tells us about his journey through colors, scents, and desires

By Francesca Faratro

The passion that makes him alive is a love that grows every day for a world made of beautiful scents, elegant shades, and colorful artworks comparable to those of a great artist. In love with the Amalfi Coast, Armando Malafronte, a well-known Ravello-based floral designer, transforms lifetime events into an unforgettable memory. He does it, receiving people from all over the world in his Eden in Ravello where every woman’s dream comes true. Talented and acclaimed by celebrities, he pours his grace and impeccable elegance in everything he puts “in his hands.”

The choice to become a floral designer

“I was not born a floral designer. Under a lucky star, yes, that’s likely!” smiles Malafronte. After an experience abroad to learn English and a subsequent return that saw him employed in a company in the Salerno area, he felt the need to return to the places that until then had grown and preserved his soul. “I was eager to start living the relationships that I couldn’t find in the city, those looks and chatter that would have allowed me to relate and get excited,” he tells us. After careful analysis, Armando decides to open a shop in the Piazza Fontana in Ravello, his hometown. A place where he could deepen his skills. After studying the location, there were two solutions: opening a jewelry boutique or a flower shop. Both proposals weren’t there at that time in the City of Music, but he, aided by his brother Nino, opted for the second option.

The pleasure of meeting through flowers

Until that moment, the only flowers that Armando had touched were those used to decorate the church in his “Lacco” district.  Led by intense enthusiasm, in the mid-eighties, he launched his first business. “My work was a consequence of my choice and my passions. It was an expression of my being and the cradle of my character. It wasn’t love at first sight but a progressive love. Beyond the beauty of the flowers, I rediscovered the pleasure of meeting people. I like to listen to the requests of those who come to me, to make their dreams come true, to satisfy them. As happens for weddings: after an endless day, I can go to bed only after having met the satisfied gaze of the bride while cutting the cake. Only there, at that precise moment, I have the confirmation that I can continue to do my job. ”

 

The floral decorations by Armando Malafronte, courtesy of the floral designer

 

A life without flowers is like a sky without stars

Later, with the evolution of tourism and the affirmation of Ravello as an increasingly sought-after choice for the wedding industry, his experience, as well as his knowledge, grew exponentially enough to make Malafronte a point of reference for the countless spouses seeking to make their dream come true. “Today, I can’t see my life without flowers. Just picking a sprig of rosemary or a bud in a field, you don’t have to buy them. In my home, there are always a colorful bowl of fruit on the table and a fragrant bouquet, even made with just three roses, ready to bring nature into my nest ”

If it were to be a flower …

“The peony, without a doubt! For its elegance, for the movements that follow when you hold it in your hands. Very fragrant, it is the flower that I associate with women: I compare it to the dusting of face powder, to the grace that is associated with movement when it is worn on the face. His stylistic approach goes beyond the fashions and trends of the moment. “For me, there are no fashions nor the color of the year. Marriage is a dream. All women have imagined, at least as children, their big day. I take every bride by the hand and try to achieve what they have always wanted. ”

Beyond the meaning

Without giving importance to the language of flowers, which in his opinion are only conventions, Armando creates according to his tastes, using multiple doses of fruit and vegetables, as has often happened. The important thing is to make the tables precious, do it through the bright colors of the tomatoes, the use of basil, citrus fruits, apples, or oranges. “I often refer to Caravaggio’s paintings, and it is nice to decorate the tables with elements that can satisfy the sight and then, subsequently, accompany the diners during the meal so that they can eat the objects used.”

The evolution of the florist over time

In the past, the florist was seen as a point of reference for the newlyweds. There was only one in town with whom to agree on the date and then rely on him to receive all the necessary advice from a careful connoisseur of the area. With time, the florist becomes a living part of every event, a sort of architect of the most beautiful moments. “I have always loved the Amalfi Coast, taking care of my country. I don’t do it for money but for the beauty of taking care of my spaces.”

 

The fashion collection of Armando Malafronte, courtesy of the designer
A portrait by Armando Malafronte, courtesy of the designer

 

The encounter with fashion

Known as the prince, “my friends gave me this nickname that over time has remained with me, making me the prince of the flowers,” his collection of clothes was inspired by the cover of  Mille fiori in una promessa, a photo collection of the floral designer best’s works, which includes a foreword of Professor Domenico De Masi. “The cover was so beautiful that I decided to print the design of the flowers on silk”. There are shapes of flowers on the background, colored by the images of his compositions. “The clothing design started with a sarong and later it evolved, decorating, in different shades, bags, shoppers. All the pieces are unique and hand-sewn on delicate fabrics and clutches, ballet flats, and sandals, and swimwear, for men or women. Today the men’s swimwear collection includes also tiny little animals.”

Effe, the perfume

His quests for beauty and uniqueness in all its forms do not stop only at floral and fashion design but also touches the olfactory universe with his Effe perfume. The fragrance created by Malafronte contains cinnamon, patchouli, citrus fruits from the Amalfi Coast, musk, and cinnamon, a reminder of home and freshly baked desserts. “In love with Morocco and captured by its scents, I returned from one of my many trips eager to create a fragrance that would remind me a little of that place. I decided to commission a master perfumer what I imagined I had in a bottle, and Effe came out, a mix of spices, flowers, and citrus fruits.” For the prince of flowers, life is a game made up of scents, colors, shades, and shapes. To play this long game and win it, it is essential to leverage and enhance one’s abilities. It is the secret of victory and the necessary composition to make everything perfect and unique!

Address

Armando Malafronte, Via Roma 19, Ravello, IG: @malafrintefiorimalafronte.com

(Translation by Michela Pandolfi)

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