From Cultural Roots to Blossoming Art: Exploring the Fleurs de Villes VOYAGE Showcase

From Cultural Roots to Blossoming Art: Exploring the Fleurs de Villes VOYAGE Showcase

Welcome to the VOYAGE show in Boston
The Fleurs de Villes VOYAGE show debuts in Boston on November 2

On Thursday, November 2, the Fleurs de Villes VOYAGE show debuted at the Prudential Center in Boston. Open until November 6 and free to the public, VOYAGE is dedicated to showcasing the vibrant cultures, traditions, and peoples of the world. The show features 18 different floral mannequins throughout the center, 16 of which are inspired by specific countries and cities. All of the exhibits were designed and created by talented floral businesses from the Boston area, since Fleurs de Villes partners with local businesses — florists and designers to growers and nurseries — in each city they launch in. Along with its florist partnerships, the Boston show is supported by its sponsors: Hendrick’s Gin, the Prudential Center, Tourism Bermuda, View Boston, and Kelley Wholesale.

While viewing the exhibits, visitors can vote for their favorite mannequin for a chance to win a 3-night stay in Bermuda, at the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa, with round-trip airfare included. Visitors are also encouraged to post on social media with the hashtag #VoyageBoston for a chance to win dinner for two at View Boston’s Beacon Bistro. To further involve visitors with the florals, Fleurs de Villes also will be offering free floral demonstrations from the Cass School of Floral Design on Saturday, November 6, at Fashion Court from 11 am to 6 pm.

Fleurs de Villes brings flowers to cities worldwide

From birth to death, every major life event is celebrated or commemorated with flowers. Karen Marshall, co-founder of Fleurs de Ville, saw that. 

“We recognized that this love we personally had for flowers was not exclusive: it is universal. In that universality, it’s important for us to be able to do as much and [in] as many cities [as] we can,” says Marshall. 

In 2016, Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley brought their love for flowers to life, forming Fleurs de Villes- flower of the cities. Its French translation presents its mission of connecting floral art with various stories to people of cities around the world.

“The idea of taking something globally really meant that the name had to work globally,” says Marshall.  

Fleur de Villes has showcased over 90 floral shows and collaborated with over 900 florists. From Toronto, Sydney, Montreal, Vancouver, and more, Fleur de Villes has traveled around the world to reach global audiences in appreciating the work of flowers and florists and the message shown through the art. For their recent show of November 2023, they arrived in Boston at the Prudential Center.  

In this female-run business, the two founders currently work with twenty employees. Marshall manages sponsorship, communications, and promotions while Barkley works to oversee partnered florists’ logistics and artistry. 

Passionate about women’s empowerment, Fleur de Villes introduced the theme of the 2022 floral series to be Femmes, exploring women’s cultural, political, and historical influence. Fleur de Villes selects a theme with a bundle of showcases including the past of Rosé, Noël, and Pride. Through these themes, they strived to promote awareness and celebration of breast cancer research, global holidays, inclusivity of the LGBTQIA+ community, and more. Fleur de Villes has announced Voyage as the global theme of 2023.

With each floral show, the founders comment on the significance of the partnership with local florists. The company publicly invites florists around the area of the focused destination, diving into the research and creativity of each mannequin once applications are received. 

Barkley explains the precise process behind each mannequin. She works with each florist in designing and executing the message and floral structure of each art. 

Barkley says, “Authenticity is paramount.”

She emphasizes how each florist offers a different perspective. From mechanics to water sources, the florists offer a diversity of floral demonstrations and aesthetics. Fleur de Villes allows unique interpretation and freedom to execution while assisting in bringing the sketches to life and ensuring historical and cultural accuracy. 

Barkley and Marshall look forward to the future shows as they hope to reach new destinations in the coming years. They have future themes, locations, and presentations in store. 

Marshall says, “We’re just getting started- we’re on a floral rocketship.”


Click on the purple points on the Prudential Center Map to view each VOYAGE floral installation!

The VOYAGE show at View Boston

In addition to the installations on in the Prudential Center, the VOYAGE show also features an exhibit, the Floral Swing, at View Boston. The exhibit is sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin.

Anatomy of a Floral Installation

Hover over the stars to view a breakdown of the different components of the Columbia mannequin, created by Beach Plum Flower Shop.

VOYAGE Photo Gallery

View the photo gallery below!

A process photo of the India mannequin (Courtesy of Jennifer Allen)
Spotlight of the Artists of VOYAGE

Just as a flower grows from a simple seed to a vibrant blossom, 18 artists’ visions were brought to life, from ideation to execution, in the VOYAGE show this week. Eighteen different florists blended cultural symbolism and traditions together with their own artistic identities to decorate the floral mannequins featured in the Fleurs de Villes’s Boston show.

One of the biggest goals of the artists was to design an exhibit that would reflect, honor, and celebrate the unique aspects of each culture. For instance, Yanique Shaw, the founder of Yanique Events and the creator of the Bermuda mannequin, themed her installation around the Bermuda moongate. The moongate is an arch commonly found throughout walkways in the country, and is said to bring luck, especially to newlyweds. In creating the arrangements, she says Fleurs de Villes gave the florists a lot of freedom to be creative, allowing her to enhance her floral expertise with her research on Bermudian culture and her personal cultural connections.

“It’s really important to me to be authentic with this design,” said Shaw. “I’m from Jamaica, another Caribbean island, so it’s an honor for [Bermuda Tourism and Fleurs de Villes] to ask me to do Bermuda’s [installation]. As the Caribbean is so small, we’re like one family”

Nevertheless, considering the often fickle nature of flowers, there were some challenges with logistics and mechanics.

“The design process was all about how we can maximize the space we have,” said Shaw. “There were also a lot of mechanics to consider, considering what’s going to stay alive and how everything will look the next day.

In addition, Jennifer Allen, owner of Market Floral Studio, blended both key aspects of India’s fashion world as well as her expertise in floral color palettes when creating the India mannequin exhibit.

“I was inspired by the vibrant colors showcased in India’s fashion world,” wrote Allen in our interview. “Hot pinks and oranges are also one of my favorite combos I knew I just had to incorporate in this design.”

Like many of the designs featured in VOYAGE, Allen’s India mannequin not only required plenty of flowers and greenery, but also woodwork — for the wooden frame on which the flowers were arranged.

According to Lisa Greene (AAF, AIFB, PFCI) who is the owner of Beach Plum Flower Shop and the creative director of the Columbia mannequin, the artists were first approached about the project about a month ago, and then had about 10 days to put together their floral exhibit after receiving their mannequin. After creating their installations, each florist arrived early the morning of Thursday, November 2, to put up their exhibit, and will continue to refresh their florals throughout the week.

“As we’re setting up and interacting with the crowds, people walking by in public would stop and they would tell us, [for example,] I grew up in Colombia, these flowers are what you see there, fields and fields of them,’” said Greene. “I’m a florist, and a lot of people say florists sell flowers. But we don’t really sell flowers, we sell emotion.”

A process photo of the India mannequin (Courtesy of Jennifer Allen)
From cultural cornerstone to floral figures: The Bermuda Moongate
In full bloom: Boston perspectives on VOYAGE
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