Smell of success - celebrities swear by luxury scents
Katie Holmes breathes in deeply, the blindfold tight against her eyes, the clock ticking away till the moment she marries the man of her dreams, Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise.
“That one,” she declares, the scent of the radiant Indian jasmine, Tahitian vanilla and rosa centafolia perfume wafting all around her.
The perfume she eventually chooses to wear for her big day from her blind sniff test is the most expensive in the world - The Clive Christian No 1 Imperial Majesty Edition. “I think that’s a wonderful story,” Victoria Christian, daughter of Clive, told 7DAYS at the recent Middle East fragrance summit in Dubai.
Set with a handmade crystal five-carat brilliant cut diamond in a solid gold collar, a bottle of No 1 costs about Dhs660,000. An mere ounce of the perfume can also be purchased for somewhere in the region of Dhs34,500.
According to the engaging fragrance expert, it’s a “connoisseur’s perfume.” She adds: “We only make a 1,000 bottles a year - it’s like a wine, a crop.” Officially, as of January this year, its Clive Christian OBE (Order of the British Empire). Back in 1999 his luxury company revived the Crown Perfumery - the only fragrance house ever recognised with the stamp of approval by any British monarch.
Officially sealed by Queen Victoria way back in 1872, customers nowadays come from the very pinnacle of royalty and the rich and famous. Both Beckhams, David and Victoria, are fans. Both Prince William and Kate Middleton were commissioned his and hers bottles before the most talked about wedding in years.
Victoria Christian is “unable to divulge” whether the happy couple actually wore them last April, but the wry smile says it all. Based in England and very much a proud Brit - “obsessed” and “fascinated” with British heritage and the legacy of Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901 - Victoria Christian nonetheless has a problem with some of her country folk.
“We’ve become so visual through advertising, TV, we’ve lost that sense of smell,” the Cheshire-born expert insists. Not so, she believes, in this part of the world.
“Arabians never forgot about fragrances,” she says. “They’ve been dealing with oud and dense oils since time began. It’s part of their culture, like brushing their teeth.”
A new Clive Christian perfume, named ‘V’ after his eldest daughter - who of course is named Victoria after Queen Victoria - will debut later this summer. It will help further cement an 11-year exclusive partnership with the Paris Gallery store in the Gulf region which has allowed her to meet many clients who truly “love” and “appreciate” perfume.
“It’s such a part of their life - it’s just beautiful.” And that is, as she completely deadpans, “nothing to sniff at”.