When we think of British Luxury we automatically think of Clive Christian.
Known for creating fabulous bespoke interiors,
furniture and exceptional perfumes.
Victoria Christian is the eldest daughter of
Clive Christian OBE and ambassador to his businesses, The Clive Christian Perfume House and The Officer.com.
The heritage of the Clive Christian Perfume House dates back to the 1800s when Queen Victoria herself granted the unique honour of the image of her royal crown as a mark of excellence. In 1999 Clive Christian OBE took ownership of the perfumery and launched a perfume only house that served as a catalyst to the revival of the luxury perfume industry.
The Officer.com, launched during 2020, serves as a source to create the most beautiful British Luxury Homes by using the specialists and artisans that Clive has cultivated relationships with over his years as a designer. From
searching for a gem of a property in London, complete renovation and interior design and the creation of a collection of chandeliers,
which includes The Masterpiece which, studded with 24,000 natural white diamonds,
is heralded as the World’s Most Expensive Chandelier.
Together they are continuing to build a timeless legacy which is one of luxury and exquisite craftsmanship under the motto of their coat of arms ‘OB OPTIME EFFICTA’ - “for excellence in design’.
Victoria, please tell us about yourself and where did your love of perfumes begin?
I have always adored perfume. As a little girl I longingly admired my mother’s extensive collection of crystal bottles in all shapes and sizes, which seemed like a magic world to me. Her rose gardens at our Victorian country manor house bloomed with the largest, flouncy pale pink, yellow centred roses which I remember dunking my head into, to discover that inimitable Turkish delight freshness...I had
always been entranced by the few alchemy
that captured Mother Nature in a beautiful bottle.
When my father, Clive, acquired the Crown Perfumery in 1999 I left my first career in musical theatre in London’s West End to join him on the perfumed journey and I haven’t looked back. I have been fortunate, I lived in my ‘spirit city’ of New York to launch the perfumes into the American market and the business has taken me across the globe and brought with it the chance to meet so many incredible people, see so many wonderful places and take part in so many extraordinary events.
The heritage of the perfumery combined with the purity of Clive's vision to create pure, unabashed British luxury has been and continues to be a pleasure to represent...and I still pinch myself that I have the role to talk about these beautiful perfumes!
How has the Clive Christian brand grown over the years?
The business began in the late 1970s as a kitchen business and quickly rose to fame as the ‘must-have’ kitchen. Clive changed the perspective on this room from being a utility or workspace, to an environment for family and celebration.
He knocked out walls and combined the kitchen and the dining room, introduced fine woods, marquetry and embellished carving, beautiful marbles and gold and silver leaf. And of course, the chandelier.
I have lost count of how many times clients have told me that “all of our parties gravitate to the kitchen” and this spurred the business on to extend into all rooms of the home,
four-poster bedrooms, panelled libraries and dressing rooms, sumptuous marble bathrooms and grand entrance halls.
Clive acquired The Crown Perfumery in 1999. At that time the business was not performing so he felt that it was his duty to revive a company with such a storied history. It was the only company to have been granted the image of Queen Victoria’s crown in perpetuity as a mark of quality and excellence, and in recognition of the place the perfume company had at the heart of the Royal Victorian Court.
The newest venture, The Officer of British Excellence, is a source for the specialist businesses and artisans that Clive had worked with over the years on his own personal and professional projects and whom he trusts above all others. TheOfficer.com officially launched during the pandemic and as a fully online business we have been able to support clients across the globe to find new homes in London without being able to travel. Additionally, we help to renovate existing properties so that when the borders open and travel is easier, their UK homes will be transformed.
So, to put it simply, the business my father began in Cheshire, North England has grown over the last 50 years from a single showroom to an international business that has fully embraced the digital age.
How do you feel that your upbringing has shaped you?
Like everyone, you are not really aware of how your upbringing is different to anyone else’s until perhaps you get to school. Then I realised that perhaps not everyone had two, impressively large chandeliers sparkling over their kitchen island as they ate their breakfast cereal!
Although my life began in a rather modest home, my father always honed his design style at home and so my sisters and I grew up in a very beautiful home environment. As his business grew, we moved to different homes that he chose for their architectural beauty and heritage - a Victorian Manor House, a Queen Anne Grade II listed Georgian country house.
He developed his design style in those homes with panelled drawing rooms and dressing rooms, every room illuminated with crystal lighting which spins out tiny rainbows across the walls and ceilings. The log fires would always be lit and there were freshly cut flowers from the gardens at every turn.
On reflection, I feel that I have been shaped by my parents to have a great understanding of visual beauty, whether man made or natural, and also a deep appreciation for each and every blessing from the daily sunrise and sunset, to the passing of the seasons - the simple things in life.
I have also been very lucky that my parents gave me their full encouragement to follow my dreams and my passions. I went to ballet school in Covent Garden at 18 and later at 21 moved to New York City to launch the perfume business there. I could always hear my mother and fathers voices in my heart, guiding my choices and decisions and I could always dip into the pot of self confidence that they had helped to build in me.
What do you think is the common denominator of all your clients from
around the world.
Confidence. Our clients are international and have enjoyed success in their chosen fields. They are confident to know and to love what makes their heart sing, without needing to adhere to trends or outside influence.
When we welcome a client to The Officer.com we find that they are focused on family and creating a legacy home. They have very large budgets to spend on creating their legacy homes, to celebrate special family moments and to pass on to their children and grandchildren. However, they are not looking to waste money on fleeting trends but to invest in design that stands the test of time.
The same can be said for The Clive Christian Perfume company - wherever in the world I have met a client of the perfume company I find that they are choosing a perfume for themselves purely because they have fallen in love with it and it smells fabulous on their skin.
Our perfumes are of the highest quality - extraordinarily high perfume oil concentration (20-100%) which ensures that the scent
has great longevity on your skin and unparalleled complexity of ingredients (150-300 individual notes in every drop) which brings a slow unfurling of different notes as the perfume warms on your skin and a very personalised experience.
You are working alongside your father on his latest business venture, The Officer, please can you tell us about it?
TheOfficer.com is an online resource curated by Clive Christian OBE that I would suggest to anyone looking to find a special property in London or the surrounding areas or to create that signature ‘chandelier interior’ look that my father has become famous for.
I am also particularly in love with the new chandelier collections that my father has designed and created with the finest crystal as is used for the Royal Palaces.
The Masterpiece is truly a Masterpiece - heralded as the most expensive chandelier in the world. The 24 arm chandelier holds 24,000 individually set natural white diamonds atop solid gold flames and Wedgwood Jasperware blue candles. It really is quite a work of art and the first time that diamonds have been used for their dual powers of reflection and refraction - the result when illuminated is sparkling wonder!
The Four Seasons collection is close to my heart as it takes its cue from the British Seasons. The crystal droplet is shaped as an oak leaf, the oak tree being the king of trees, and to me holds such symbolism for the home. The crystal droplets are coloured to nod to the verdant greens of Spring, the endless blue skies of Summer, the Autumnal browns and the icy whites of Winter.
Your father once said to you “Our environment is our children’s environment.” a sentiment that we wholeheartedly agree with. You are mother to three year old Joseph, do these words have more meaning to you now? What values alongside the legacy of your brand would you like to pass through to future generations?
Having a child truly changed everything for me, bringing a deeper understanding and respect for this quote my father has lived by.
This resonates and indeed I have been very mindful to try and nurture a gentle appreciation of the world in these early years with my son.
You are philanthropic and for three years have supported Caudwell Children’s Charity with a prestigious black tie event, raising over 1 million pounds. Can you tell us about the charity and why philanthropy is important to you?
My father has always been very philanthropic and as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, he encouraged me as a child to take part in all fundraising activities which I continue to this day. He always underlined the importance of giving back. Within his businesses he has a policy to ‘never say no’ - there is always some way to support any request.
He also began the relationship with Caudwell Children many years ago. This charity was founded by John Caudwell, a family friend, twenty years ago and is one of our favourites to support as John generously underpins all running costs of the charity so that 100% of every donation goes to the children and the families that need it.
My husband Tony, a former heavyweight boxer turned barrister, and his business partner at Ewing Law, Scott Ewing, also a former boxer, represent many professional sportsmen and women at their practice and decided that they wished to hold a white collar boxing event to ‘fight for those that could not fight for themselves’.
I had introduced the wonderful work of Caudwell Children to my husband over the years at their Butterfly Balls and so it was a natural fit that we should join forces and work together to help Caudwell Children continue to make a difference.
What does the word Legacy mean to you?
Aside from any ‘things’. I would like to leave a legacy for my son Joseph in terms of his moral compass and values. To nurture him to be loving and generous and kind. To take good care of those that mean the most to him, and yet to always consider how he can be of service to the world at large, and to others outside of his family and friends who also need our care and support.
It is possible to make a difference in the world with even small actions and I believe, although it also brought great tragedy in its wake, the pandemic and resulting lockdown showed us that small acts of kindness do help to make the world a better place for all.