In an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times at the weekend, the Eton-educated founder of the company, Johnnie Boden, said “I always come back from Paris and say to my wife, ‘God, they never smile at me!’”
“It’s hard work. I try to flirt with them but they’re not having it. The only way to get a reaction is to be rude back. Paris is beautiful but I associate it with stroppy women and exhausting business trips. I feel slightly rejected when I go there, but I think if I can just crack bit, it’ll do my confidence a lot of good.”
The Boden brand was founded in 1991 and has become popular with upper-middle class Britons. Prime Minister David Cameron is himself a customer of the company.
Boden also lambasted the south of France, saying he “couldn’t bear it. It’s so built-up and expensive and … really grim. I’m sure it was lovely 50 years ago.”
In a statement to The Local, Johnnie Boden said “I’m terribly sorry if I gave the impression of being down on France. What didn’t make it into print were all the positive things I said. I regard France as the most civilised country in the world. Much as I love England, I must concede defeat in quite a few areas: food, manners, respect for the past, architecture, civic life and education. On the fashion front, I do think that France is ready for some uplifting Boden colour and spirit. I hope that French women will recognise that we are offering something that isn’t readily available in France.”
Boden plans to launch its dedicated French website later this month. The company currently sells in the UK, US, Germany and Austria. Sales recently passed £200 million for the first time.