Clive Christian perfume, wearable art Featured

Luxos interviews Victoria Christian, and finds out how her father saved the most expensive perfume in the world.

by 29 June 2009

Clive Christian brings the art, tradition and honour of perfume-making back into an industry that is saturated with over 60 launches of new perfumes per week around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Victoria Christian, the charismatic daughter of the company owner in Milan. During our conversation, I learnt the history of perfume, its use since the beginning of civilization, and her father’s effort in reviving the absolute luxury perfume that was once lost.

Can you tell me about how the brand Clive Christian started?
The company itself started in 1999 when my father bought the right of the Queen’s crown exclusively for Clive Christian perfume. The original perfume house was founded in 1872 with Queen Victoria’s crown as a symbol of quality and excellence.

Why is Clive Christian No. 1 the most expensive perfume in the world?
Our perfumes go through a triple extraction process that reduces precious essential oils into a paste, literally. The No. 1 is made with no reference to cost. With a limited quantity of 1000 bottles each year, the absolute form of No. 1 is the ultimate luxury.

What does perfume mean to you and your father?
My father is an idealist and a perfectionist. When he brought this absolute perfume back in 1999, he really did not care how much production would cost, or how many people would purchase it. For him, it was a matter of saving a lost art. For me, I have always remembered my loved ones by the scent that they wear, because smell is the most enduring memory that the human brain retains throughout life.

Since the beginning of civilization, perfume was used as a symbol of power and nobility. Cleopatra had the sails of her ship soaked in rose perfume to enchant Anthony, who would smell her arrival way before she went ashore. Emperor Nero used perfume to express his power and control the English lavender perfume. She loved it so much that she gave the symbol of her crown to the perfume company for its bottle design.

Why is Clive Christian perfume so special?
Clive Christian perfume is not fashion. It is a wearable art that grows with you throughout life. In a way, it is the anti-bespoke perfume. There is really no sense for a women to have a single scent custom-made for her, when a women’s life is really full of changes. Clive Christian perfume evolves and endures. A spritz of the Clive Christian perfume will have you seeing rosy cherubs and singing a heavenly tune. Its power, complexity and integrity will have you re-think the way you look at fragrances. It is The World’s Most Expensive Perfume, and rightly so.

Each ounce of No. 1 is presented in the finest crystal bottle with a 1/3 carat white diamond at the neck.

The luxury does not end here. Towards the end of our wonderful interview, Ms Christian was proud to show us a very special perfume bottle made by the legendary French crystal maison, Baccarat. She explained, in order to mark the return of absolute luxury to perfume creation, and to pay tribute to the World’s Most Expensive Perfume, her father created “No. 1 Imperial Majesty”. It is 16 ounces of the No. 1 perfume in this giant Baccarat perfume bottle. Only ten of these bottles exist in the world. Each of them is numbered accordingly. The “No. 1 Imperial Majesty” is crystal- work and perfume-making at their best.

To recognise Clive Christian’s place in the world of perfume, the founder was presented with a unique award at the 2006 UK FiFi awards for his “No. 1 Imperial Majesty”. What an honour for a gentleman who brought true luxury back to perfumes!

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