“Chew through the Tulips”
Designer Jes Gordon works with flowers. So does her Boston Terrier, except in a different way…
Though doing so breaks her heart, designer Jes Gordon has banned her dog from the J. Gordon Designs studio. Her business is making exquisite decorations out of delicate flowers, carefully strewn pebbles, and choice candles. While she loves her Boston Terrier, Hurricane, like a mother loves her firstborn, her problem is that Hurricane loves to chew.
“That dog would eat a lit candle if he could,” an assistant at the studio told me by phone. Jes disputes this.
“He has played with a lit candle. Once. He learned it was hot. He’s like a baby, very curious,” she says in Hurricane’s defense.
However, the chewing problem remains, making flowers, unlit candles and any other delicacy around the studio fair game.
“Boston Terriers love to chew. The doctor says Hurricane does it to relieve stress and energy. He’ll chew on something for seven hours at a time,” says Jes. Then she finally admits the reason why she and her dog can’t work together: “He’s like a vacuum cleaner.” Except vacuum cleaners don’t get sick from noshing too many orchids.
Though Hurricaine likes the many flowers involved in her work, Jes Gordon is not simply a florist. Instead, she specializes in creating “the ambiance” of an event. She handles weddings, parties, launches, and fashion shows for companies like Cosmair, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger, and celebs like producer Frank Gelman and TV correspondent Laurie Hibberd, whose Long Island wedding Gordon recently decorated. Her ambiances can include anything from flower garlands to stylishly mismatching buffet tables to a bank of candles gleaming in a fireplace.
“What makes us unique is that we’re able to get to know our clients really well and express a piece of them through the aesthetic,” explains Jes.
As an example, she cites a Feng-Shui wedding she recently designed in the Hamptons.
“I got to know the couple. They were elegant, simple, spiritual, lived in a Norman Jaffe home,” she says. “It was right up my alley. I like it better when I believe in the style.”
Gordon describes her look as one of simplicity. For the Feng Shui wedding, she worked only with a monochrome palette of brown, exploring every shade and aspect of the color. In an exception to the usual policy, Hurricane was present as well. He fit right in with the scheme, since he is fawn-colored instead of the usual Boston Terrier salt and pepper. Yet his presence also brought up the emotional issues of Jes having him around her when she works. These run deeper than the obvious problem of his taste for wax and rose petals.
“A lot of times at work I’m really busy and he wants to hang out,” Jes laments. “He feels sad because he doesn’t understand why I’m not paying attention to him. [The Feng Shui] was the last wedding for awhile.”
For now, Hurricane stays home, though he’s not home alone. He has a dog walker, all of his chewable toys and two cats to keep him company.
“He misses his cats. He was raised by cats,” says Jes. “He’s very catlike.”
In addition to feline foster care, Hurricane hangs out with Macon, another Boston Terrier. Macon’s owner is a floral designer with a situation similar to Gordon’s. The two trade off dog visitations every couple of weeks.
Still, Jes thinks Hurricane is only in a phase, and that soon he will be able to come to work with her.
“He turns three on August second, and I’m having a party,” she says. “That’s right, I’m a loser chick that’s going to have a party for my dog! …He’s getting older, and he’s getting mellower, and pretty soon I think he’ll learn how to behave at work.”
Could this Terrier-terror ever learn to leave Gordon’s fragile designs untouched? It’s possible. After all, doesn’t every Hurricane have a still center?