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We talk to the founder and Creative Director of Fleur of England, Fleur Turner. Fleur is in charge of the overall design process and brand identity. She works meticulously hard to give customers a slice of luxury with her opulent designs. Here she talks about her life, her family, and the business that means so much to her.
How do people react when they discover that you are the woman behind Fleur of England?
When I introduce myself at fashion events, the reaction I get is often one of surprise. Some people are amazed – and also delighted – to discover there is a real person behind the Fleur of England brand.
Can you tell us about your role at Fleur of England?
I’m passionate about creating lingerie that looks beautiful, and which also fits beautifully too. I still personally design the collections and source the fabrics. I am present at every fit meeting and have final fit approval on all collections. All of the lingerie pieces are hand-designed by myself, from the shape and fit to the bespoke embroidery.
I’ve made it my mission to ensure that every experience my customers have with Fleur of England is exquisite. From fabrics, design and luxury packaging to customer service, I expect nothing but the best.
How do you feel Fleur of England has evolved since its launch 15 years ago?
I feel she has grown up, she has developed her own voice and identity, she is loved and cherished by many and our customers are incredibly loyal.
Did you always want to run your own lingerie business and what did you do to achieve this?
For me, Fleur of England is the culmination of a dream that began when I was a little girl, growing up in the quintessentially English town of Guildford. I had an older brother, and four cousins who were also boys, and I had to wear a lot of boys’ hand-me downs. Maybe as a result of that, I craved anything feminine and delicate, and became fascinated by fabrics and fashion.
I decided to study Fashion Marketing at college, and was awarded a First Class Honours degree in 1998. After that, I spent a couple of years gaining valuable experience in technical lingerie in the UK and Asia, but I yearned to create beautiful, feminine and sensual garments that could inspire romance, elegance and sophistication.
So at the age of 25, with just a small bank loan and some big aspirations, I founded the exclusive lingerie label Fleur T in 2000, and brought into being the exquisite world filled with silk and lace that is now known as Fleur of England.
Do you now look back and think that it was a bold move for you to launch your own business at such a young age?
I suppose it was quite a brave thing to do. But I was sure I was doing the right thing, and that was proven when Fleur T was an instant success, and I was commissioned to design limited edition collections for Liberty of London. My portfolio of exclusive stockists has since grown to include 65 elite boutiques worldwide, including the New York department store Barneys, which has stocked Fleur of England lingerie for twenty-four consecutive seasons.
I was honoured to have my influential role in British lingerie design given a royal seal of approval in 2003, when Princess Anne presented me with the ‘Fashion Export Newcomer’ award. Since then I’ve been recognised by both international trade forums and fashion press as a leader within the luxury lingerie market for my exquisite designs and imagery.
Has your career success made it challenging for you to have a home life as well?
Not at all - I’m pleased to say that as my business has grown, so has my family! I met James, who is now my husband when I was working between Somerset and London. We were parted when I moved to Hong Kong for work, but I missed James so much that I returned to England to be with him.
James and I now have two young sons - George and Ernest - and I take huge delight in juggling my two worlds of ‘yummy mummy’ and ‘creative businesswoman’. But I consider my company to be my first baby, a daughter and it is through Fleur of England that my creativity and naturally feminine style are fulfilled.
Tell us why Fleur of England is based in Bristol.
James was living in Bristol, and as well as falling in love with him I also fell for Bristol. It has been described as “the city of extended youth”, and is renowned for its culture of creativity. I think it is the perfect setting for the Fleur of England team, and our studio is based in a bohemian area of the city. It is from here that we perfect all the design, pattern and fitting work that has enabled us to build our international reputation for leading edge design, attention to detail and supreme fit.
Do you feel the Fleur of England customer has changed since the company started?
I don't think she has changed, I just feel she has evolved with the brand, especially with the digital revolution and social media. Social media can emotionally explain our story and development of our core values of luxury, fit, craftmanship and design merge together to create a world of modern sensuality.
How would you describe the style of Fleur of England lingerie?
Throughout the years Fleur of England has evolved into a brand I feel encompasses the feeling of modern luxury and sensuality. My signature style is romantic yet incredibly sexy, creating designs that empower the modern woman. The Fleur of England collections embody the playfulness, elegance and strength of the Fleur of England woman and I have so much fun creating timeless collections for our loyal customer.
As well as being a pioneer in the lingerie industry, you have now expanded into swimwear and launched Resort by Fleur in 2016, what was the inspiration behind this range and why did you decide to expand into swimwear?
Our customers were asking us to create a luxury swimwear collection which conveyed the same values as our lingerie, we have to wait for the right time to launch though, we are extremely proud of our Resort collection. Please watch the video which explains the story.
2016 has been a defining year for Fleur of England with the launch of Resort and also the new website. Why did you feel it was important to change the website?
As a brand you have to develop, change and keep up-to-date with the way the world changes and how customers shop and what suits their needs. Our website is our shopping window to the world, it is key that it evolves and develops with Fleur of England and is reflective of our brand values.
Fleur of England has grown since its launch in Liberty of London. What are some of your top defining moments from the past 15 years?
It has been an incredible journey and I can honestly say I have loved every minute of it! Some of the best moments have been winning the UK newcomers export award and introducing my Mother to Princess Anne. Of course, launching the collection in Libertys and Barney's New York has been a proud moment for me, and who we have supplied with them for 25 seasons. I would also have to add the launch of our iconic boudoir bra in the Jasmine collection for Spring 2013. The Jasmine boudoir bra has set the trend for the boudoir bra globally and continues to be one of our best sellers. It was also an honour to have won the Venus International business woman of the year award. Lastly, I'd have to say the launch of the Resort collection and the photoshoots are definitely a highlight!
Finally, how do you see the future for Fleur of England?
The future will undoubtedly see more exciting developments at Fleur of England, and I’m committed to ensuring that creating lingerie that looks beautiful and also fits beautifully will always be at the heart of everything that we do. I am excited to work on developing the resort collection further and pushing the brand to a wider audience. I have plenty of other ideas for the future but they are staying in my head for now.
To find out more about Fleur's journey to success, listen to the recent podcast on BBCBristol radio here.
The Fleur girls x