Chicagoan talks flowers for Oprah, President Obama, Dolly Parton and other celebrities

Tue. May 14, 2019 3:12 PM by Ross Forman

roberto gonzalez

photo credit // jon lin
It all started with Oprah.

Roberto Gonzalez made a floral arrangement that had 250 roses in sherbet colors and the vase was made with a custom corset out of raw silk, gold grommets and silk, lace ribbon.

That was the arrangement that started it all.

Gonzalez designed Winfrey's floral for her personal space inside Harpo Studios using about 1,800 stems every four days.

And that's just the start of his floral fame.

He also designed the floral for President Obama's 47th Birthday Celebration, and others. He designed the florals for the set of the movie Joyful Noise with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah.

Doing floral work for celebrities "pushes my creativity to come up with designs I haven't come up with before and to be better," he said.

Gonzalez, 43, who lives in Uptown and is openly gay, is originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and has lived in Chicago for 19 years. He is the creative director and owner of Roberto Gonzalez Flowers.

Floral designing, surprisingly, started by accident, he admitted.

"I was working at a gift shop and we decided to include roses for Valentine's Day. From there, I was immediately drawn to the world of flowers," Gonzalez said. "My job consists of conceptualizing and designing floral arrangements for homes (and) special events. This could be bigger in scope like a wedding or something small like a dinner. I'm interested in solving problems in the most elegant way possible."

Including for celebrities when he said, "there is no room for mistakes," as celebrities "expect a level of service and detail to be very high."

He worked for Oprah for four years.

Gonzalez said his floral style is "lush and opulent with a simple sense of style. I tend to do monochromatic arrangements with and an abundance of flowers."

In The Garden With ...Roberto Gonzalez

Favorite Chicago Restaurant: Summer House

Favorite Chicago Bar: Sidetrack

Favorite Chicago Pro Sports Team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite TV Show: "Currently, I'm watching Stranger Things ...I know, I know – I'm a little late, but I don't really watch any TV."

Favorite Movie: Dior and I

Sounds At The Gym: He listens to pop music.

Floral Tips: "A table spoon of vodka in the water to kill the bacteria and prolong life of the flower."

"In" Flowers: "I usually pick what is in season, but I've noticed a trend in English Garden roses and peonies. Flowers that smell nice and look extravagant are a safe bet."

Drink Of Choice When Going Out: "I don't drink, but I like Opus One red wine."

Little-Known Fact: "I have done flowers for the Queen of Jordan."

Boxers or Briefs: "I wear boxer-briefs or briefs, but it depends on who's looking at it."