With an international reputation as the most prestigious purveyor of luxury interiors, bespoke kitchens and expertly blended men’s and women’s perfumes, Clive Christian has, for over 38 years, been a veritable standard-bearer for British excellence craftsmanship and heritage. Appointed officer of the order of the British empire in 2012 for services to the luxury goods industry, Mr. Christian and his eponymous brand have provided products and services to legendary clients including royalty and rock stars, sheiks and stock market gurus.
So when looking for an English perspective of living in London, who better to ask than the Clive’s vivacious and sartorially savvy daughter Victoria Christian? In her role as global brand ambassador of Clive Christian, Ms. Christian has travelled to the four corners of the globe charming brand aficionados and evangelizing connoisseurs with her father’s creative vision. She knows the hallmarks of good taste. Not only has she inherited her father’s obsession with perfection, but she has also developed an equally impressive personal style — one which celebrates both tradition and modernity. And though her roots will always bring her back to her father’s immaculately maintained Queen Anne gardens and estate in the lush Cheshire countryside, Ms. Christian, her husband Tony and their Jack Russell Maximus have found their little slice of heaven in the chic enclave of Chelsea.
Previews Inside Out Victoria, not only have you travelled extensively,but you have also lived for many years in New York. Where do you call home today?
Victoria Christian When I moved back to London from New York after almost ten years, I moved initially to Knightsbridge. However, I found it a little empty at times due to the very international residents. So embarking upon our married life together, my husband Tony and I moved to Chelsea with our little Jack Russell dog, Maximus. Although just five minutes from Knightsbridge, Chelsea has a very different feel and look. It’s much more of a village with local shops and residents and families that have lived here for years, and sometimes generations. When I take a morning stroll with the dog to collect a paper, I often see the same faces smiling back at me with a heart-warming “good morning” and the Albert Bridge is a sight for sore eyes at any time of day or night.
As a water sign, I think that being close to the steadfast flow of the Thames also soothes and breathes a sense of calm to the neighborhood. We are fortunate enough to enjoy a very established and peaceful garden at home that we can keep all to ourselves and the robins that come to visit or we love to entertain our friends and family on summer evenings with the candlelight flickering through the lanterns. Of course, on those occasions where a great cocktail or a boogie are required, we are also only a stone’s throw from the Saturday-Night-Fever-style dance floor of Raffles or the superb cocktail bar in the Bluebird! We love Chelsea.
Previews Inside Out London is awash with great culinary delights. What would be one of your favorite restaurants?
Victoria Christian We love to drop in for a light bite at OKA on Kings Road. The Dashi Miso Soup is the best we have tasted — in spite of the fact we honeymooned in Japan! And of course, for a special indulgence Gordon Ramsay, one of only two restaurants in London with three Michelin stars, is just around the corner from us on Royal Hospital Road and never fails to delight!
Previews Inside Out Do you have a favorite cocktail?
Victoria Christian For my favorite cocktail, I must head to Annabel’s on Berkeley Square in Mayfair and slink down the staircase that leads to the only nightclub in the world that Her Majesty The Queen has visited and order an ‘Annabel’…and hit the starry dance floor!
Previews Inside Out City life can take its toll. As a Londoner, where do you find inner-city respite or cultural inspiration?
Victoria Christian I have been a member at Morton’s for many years and it has perhaps the best spot on Berkeley Square where you can have lunch surrounded by fabulous artwork while watching the Mayfair buzz go by. Also, the best and most restorative massage after a long trip visiting our perfume specialists and attending events in the various corners of the world must be at Ushvani, a hidden gem that never fails to revive tired limbs and spirits! That and a personal training blitz session, followed by a shot of pure Baobao at Grace of Belgravia! For cultural inspiration, the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is a must.
Previews Inside Out It is said that there is nothing more quintessentially English than tea. Any recommendations for a truly authentic tea experience?
Victoria Christian For the time when the urge for tea hits, there is no better place than the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly. I often treat friends and clients to the quintessential afternoon tea after we have explored the Clive Christian Perfume Collections during a personal consultation.
Previews Inside Out There are so many shopping opportunities in London. Where do you get your retail therapy?
Victoria Christian For a showstopping outfit, I would usually head to Harrods. After all, their motto is ‘omnia omnibus unique’ (all things for all people everywhere), so I can always find the perfect outfit from top to toe! However, I mostly shop while I am traveling as I find it so much more fun to discover a new boutique or store. That way, every item I select holds a special extra dimension of memory for me.
When I am up early, I do love to visit the New Covent Garden Flower market across the river. A good friend Elizabeth Marsh is a floral designer and she always manages to find the most gloriously scented pale pink Centifolia roses for me. We often use these for our special events and for dinner parties as they sit, in perfume terms, at the heart of our 1872 perfumes, which were crowned by Queen Victoria in that year. In a single drop of the absolute essence within our 1872 perfume, there is the equivalent of 170 rose heads…such incredible density! However, a simple bouquet perfumes the whole home and looks so delightful on the oak table in the conservatory![/a]
Previews Inside Out London is known for its squares, parks and gardens. Any one, in particular, you would call your favorite?
Victoria Christian Battersea Park is such a beautiful spot and is just a short and joyful stroll across the Albert Bridge. Dogs are allowed to run off their leash here, so Maximus always makes so many friends. We love to sit and watch the fantastic water fountains at the heart of the park in the height of summer as the sunshine sparkles through the droplets. Beautiful.