The word fougère comes from the French for fern — a plant which has come to symbolise many things to herbalists over the years — among them: sincerity, fascination, and confidence. Floris’ latest creation, Vert Fougère, takes its name from this remarkable herbaceous family of fragrance, and encourages people to exude the qualities of the majestic fern plant — championing the individual expression of each of the fragrance’s wearers. It has been 17 years since Floris last released a fougère fragrance, but the time has come to introduce you to a new member of the family.
For Edward Bodenham, director of the heritage fragrance house, and direct descendant of its founder Juan Floris, the inspiration behind Vert Fougère came from the freneticism of modern life. With this fragrance, he sought to provide a companion which could reliably offer a constant to the modern gentleman — for whom the pressures of 21st century life can feel exhausting. When your attention is being pulled in every direction, says Edward, from family, to business, to style, to life’s responsibilities, and current affairs, it becomes essential to wear a fragrance which expresses feeling. “I wanted to reflect the very soul of Floris in this fragrance,” he explains.
And, at the very core of the Floris story (its heart note, if you care to extend the analogy), is a passion for world-class craftsmanship. In Edward’s own words, he wanted to create a scent which “embraces the artisanal heart of Floris”. With this in mind, and in celebration of creative self-expression, the house called on some friends working at the helm of other independent brands to explore how they find their own expression.
Read on to discover their stories.
Chris Keenan, Potter
Following in Edmund de Waal’s tradition, Chris Keenan makes pieces that look deceptively simple. “There’s a lexicon of forms that I’ve been making from the beginning,” he explains. The shape of his days have changed little over time; throwing and turning are his daily practice. Incrementally over time, his alacrity with the clay has increased, as has his ability to express himself through the objects he makes.
This way of making involves endless patience and an expectation of imperfection. “One of the great things about pottery is that until it’s fired it’s not set. So you can be a bit free with it. And why not?” he beams. “What’s important for me is that what I make is totally me, but it’s at a distance. These pots have a separate existence from me. I can sit and work and get better. I come to my studio every day and play.”
Tom Broughton, Spectacle Designer
Just like Floris, we’re big fans of Cubitts glasses over here at Gentleman’s Journal, and even asked the brand’s founder for his advice for ditching the corporate gig to start a business. When Tom Broughton founded Cubitts in 2012, he was opening the first new bespoke and designer spectacle making workshop in the UK for 50 years — a seemingly counterintuitive decision in our mass-produced times. “For centuries, spectacles were often the most expensive things you owned,” he says. “They were really important because they allowed you to do your work.”
Mass-produced glasses, made for the NHS, changed all that after the war, but Broughton is passionate about giving spectacles back the prestige they once had, and then democratising them, so everyone can have glasses that both work for them, fit them, and suit them. “It’s not just about your vision,” he explains. “It’s about your face. Your glasses are one of your most defining characteristics. They’re your identity. The frames should be the hero.”
Juan Junca, Furniture Designer
In his Bermondsey workshop, furniture maker Juan Junca is a long way away from his home in Patagonia. “I came to London travelling,” he shrugs wryly. “Now I’ve been here ten years.” On a quest for self-expression, he started out as a musician, but over time he discovered his skill was for making something far less ephemeral. Nevertheless, he became a furniture maker almost by chance. “I was about to take up a Masters degree to train as a music teacher at Goldsmiths University,” he says. “I’d been supplementing my income doing maintenance work and handyman jobs. A friend of mine had signed up to learn woodworking and I thought it would be interesting.”
Now Junca takes the traditional craft of furniture making and applies modern design principles to create unique design pieces. His work is simple, referencing both classic mid-century style and the natural forms of his native region. It’s a source of great personal satisfaction. “I design everything from scratch,” he explains. “I always begin with what’s traditional – and there are certain features of my pieces you can find in books – but then I change the design to solve problems and to make things truly bespoke.”
Find your expression…
Vert Fougère is the essence of a cultural leader who values precision and seeks nuance and balance in life between the old and new, tradition and innovation, authenticity and modernity.
Whatever your craft or passion find your expression
Floris Vert Fougère
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