Did you know that Floris has a long standing relationship with the founder of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale? And now, with Floris donating 15% of sales from her favourite fragance to the White Rose Appeal, fronted by Helena Bonham Carter, and having been recently featured in the drama series Killing Eve, it seems timely to nose further into this intriguing historical snippet…
Floris explain that this direct connection to perhaps the world’s most famlous nurse, can be found in a personal letter she wrote them.
‘Floris’ White Rose fragrance was a favourite perfume of Florence Nightingale, and in our Jermyn Street shop we display a treasured letter written by Nightingale in 1863 to “Mr Floris” thanking him for his “beautiful sweet smelling nosegays”.
Alongside the White Rose Campaign, Floris have committed to donating 15% of all sales of White Rose Eau de Toilette to the foundation for a 12 month period.’
And oh! White Rose is a simply beautiful scent to wear, so what a wonderful way to celebrate Florence – and all nurses and midwives – most especially during this crisis. The fragrance itself is a couquet of velvety roses dusted with soft iris, swathed in warm amber and grounded with earthy musk. At once strikingly elegant and wonderfully confident, it’s something we shall be reaching now more than ever…
Floris White Rose £80 for 100ml eau de toilette
Floris continue: ‘The Florence Nightingale Foundation does amazing work supporting nurses and midwifes through its scholarships and has done so since its formation in 1929. This year marked a big year for the foundation, particularly today on the bicentenary of her birth.’
Sadly, due to the current situation, Floris say that ‘…Westminster Abbey was due to be filled with nurses for an annual service to mark Florence Nightingale’s birthday but was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the current circumstances, the foundation launched a special programme to equip nurses and midwives with the skills to support the emotional well being of those working directly with Covid-19 patients and the owners of Floris have made the decision to team up with the charity to support their fundraising efforts.
And so, in partnership with actress Helena Bonham Carter, the foundation have launched the White Rose Appeal, a symbol of hope and re-birth. You can support the Florence Nightingale White Rose Appeal by buying a special anniversary e-white rose in honour of a nurse or midwife who has helped you or a loved one at any point in your lives. Every white rose bought will go on to form part of an actual floral display to be created at Westminster Abbey when lock down comes to an end, marking and honouring the contribution of nurses and midwives everywhere.’
‘Buying a white rose is a simple way to honour our nurses and midwives. We must never forget the sacrifice they make on an everyday basis during this time.’
– Helena Bonham Carter
Fragrant fans currently glued to the latest season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve Netflix series have been treated to a peek inside lead character Villanelle’s favourite perfumery… which just happens to be the 89 Jermyn Street HQ of Floris!
‘I want to smell powerful. I want to make people gag with it,’ Villanelle tells the Floris perfumer dring her visit. ‘Can you do that for me?’
‘…I want to smell like a Roman Centurion who’s coming across an old foe, who in battle once hurt him greatly,’ she continues. ‘But since then, the Roman Centurion has become emperor, and is now powerful beyond measure.’ The perfumer pauses, before tactfully suggesting: ‘Maybe something more… woody?’
I’m sure Floris’ perfumers receive all sorts of interesting bespoke comissions, but perhaps not quite so… unusual as this request!
You can read all about the time I was lucky enough to have my own personal perfume made by Floris in-house Perfumer Penny Ellis, here. But long story short: I didn’t mention Roman Centurion’s (or making people want to gag) in my brief…
From Florence Nightingale (and their myriad famous customers from their archives) through to Helena Bonham Carter and now, Villanelle – Floris certainly has a diverse heritage and continues to thrive as London’s oldest surviving perfumery: something of which we can all be proud and will continue to support.
Now, Roman Centurians aside, what brief would you like to set a Floris perfumer for a bespoke fragrance when we can step inside those hallowed doors once more…?
By Suzy Nightingale