Celebrity Florist and Fragrance Designer Eric Buterbaugh on What L.A. Smells Like

Welcome to 10 Questions, a series that explores LA through the eyes of its coolest, most stylish citizens.

Welcome to 10 Questions, a series that explores LA through the eyes of its coolest, most stylish citizens.
Photos: Courtesy of Eric Buterbaugh

Eric Buterbaugh has always been a behind-the-scenes man — first, in fashion at Versace's U.K. corporate office, and now as the fashion world's favorite florist. As the story goes, after relocating across the pond from London to LA in 1998, Buterbaugh unexpectedly turned a little floral arranging favor for a friend (whose birthday bash was in need of beautiful blooms) into a full-time gig.

Since then, Buterbaugh has been the go-to florist for luxury fashion houses (Chanel, Dior, and Valentino, for starters), A-listers (Demi Moore, Nicole Richie, and Gywneth Paltrow, to name just a few), and the Four Seasons Beverly Hills (where he's been the florist-in-residence since 1999). In addition to creating pretty petaled wonders, the florist has channeled his passion for perennials into a collection of luxe fragrances inspired by flowers.

Fresh off the arrival of his latest scent, Kingston Osthmanthus (a collaboration with master perfumer Alberto Morillas), Buterbaugh shares a few of his favorite places in Los Angeles, his weirdest LA encounters, where he takes first-time City of Angels visitors, and more.

Read on below and get a whiff of EB Florals IRL by visiting the flower guru's gorgeous gallery in LA at 8271 Beverly Boulevard.

Buterbaugh's Floral Gallery on Beverly Boulevard.
Buterbaugh's Floral Gallery on Beverly Boulevard. Photo: Courtesy

You first moved to LA in '98 after living in the U.K. How was that transition?

Having run Versace in England I knew loads of people in LA, which made the transition easy and fun. I was thrilled to find that LA had seemingly unlimited offerings, whether screenings, parties, or simply the amazing natural environment.

What's been your weirdest LA encounter?

I find Halloween in LA a very weird encounter but always wild and fun; it's a special night when high profile friends are able to let their hair down a bit. I love the mischief of getting a pinch on the bottom from behind a mask and finding it's someone from the big screen.

Although LA's official flower is the Bird of Paradise, what in your opinion is the flower that best encapsulates LA?

I am not a fan of tropical flowers (except for orchids) so the Bird of Paradise is not my thing, per se — poppies, however, I love. Seeing them growing wildly along the roads and freeways is a joy and I find any way I can to incorporate them into arrangements.

If LA were a fragrance, she or he would smell like:

I think my Apollo Hyacinth, it has that crisp freshness greenness that feels so LA feels to me. At least, my perfect version if LA if I were able to spend all day outside!

Your top little-know source for (fill in the blank) is:  

For bath salts, Santa Maria Novella on Melrose Place; I live for them and use them everyday. I feel like they do the same magic for your body and soul as swimming in the sea!

Scent is so connected to our sense of memory. Are there any particular scents that remind you of a certain LA place or time in your life in Los Angeles?

Night blooming jasmine connects me to LA. Every neighborhood that I have lived in in LA has been covered in it — it's etched into every happy memory.

What's your favorite local spot to get away and find inspiration?

LACMA is doing a wonderful job of offering amazing out-of-the-box exhibitions; I am always inspired when I visit and it feels neighborhood-y enough to make visitors at every level feel comfortable.

In your opinion, what's LA's least appreciated hidden gem?

I think all of the amazing hiking spots in LA are undervalued! People seem to be aware of one or two of them, but if you dig deeper there are amazing more undiscovered hiking areas in Malibu and above Beverly Hills. Being able to do this almost all year keeps me spoiled.

You've got first time LA visitors staying with you. Where do you take them?

I always take first-time visitors to Soho House — they are always blown away by the view. Day or night it never disappoints.

Eric Buterbaugh Florals
8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

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