He is best known for single-handedly challenging the way the world sees flowers. Christian Tortu is the acclaimed floral designer noted for mixing flowers, plants and vegetables in unique arrangements that strip away artifice and offer direct interpretations of nature. Little wonder that nature would be his muse. He was born in the countryside into a family of market gardeners stretching for generations before him. And in a few short years, he became a floral designer celebrated internationally.

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Christian Tortu, who now lives in Paris, says he is proud of his rural background. Today, his creations can be found in boutiques around the world and his floral “scenography” has been featured at the Cannes Film Festival and at the couture shows of Chanel, Dior or Valentino. His love of nature as a young man has grown into a successful business whose esthetic mixes texture, color and shape in unexpected arrangements. Drawing on the pure elements, his collection of vases, gifts and home accessories reflect this very same passion.

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When Tortu moved to Paris in 1977, he had already spent his boyhood years working in flower shops in the countryside near his home in France’s Anjou region and studying horticulture in Angers. Wanting more freedom of expression, he joined a workshop in the 16th arrondissement in Paris. After submerging himself in the city’s arts and fashion worlds for the next six years, he then opened his own shop on Carrefour de L’Odéon in the Latin Quarter, and the world took note of his highly imaginative, but simple, arrangements.

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Tortu also notes that all of his creations are designed with one purpose:  “to bring happiness and make everyday life a little smoother, a little more beautiful.”

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Nature has always been the inspiration for all of Tortu’s creations. “We need only to know how to look at the plants world, how to respect the uniqueness of species, and to accept their natural tendencies,” Tortu says in his exquisite book, Sensational Bouquets (Abrams, 2000). “We mustn’t force them, but reveal them. Nature is a good guide. It teaches us everything.”