Clive Christian is best known as the man who created the world’s most expensive perfume back in 2006. The Imperial Majesty cost a whopping $215,000 for 16.9 ounces, but it should be clarified that the Baccarat bottle, complete with a five-carat diamond and eighteen-carat-gold collar, contributed to the astronomical price. (The perfume inside the ornate bottle normally retailed for $865.) As for Christian’s other perfumes, it’s been ten years since he launched his scents for men and women (No. 1, X, and 1872), and his fans have been wondering when they were going to get something new. We got wind that the Brit was set to launch a new scent, so we raced to see the charming designer when he made a personal appearance at Bergdorf Goodman. We attempted to get a sneak peek of his latest creation (it didn’t work), and chatted about his pricey scents.
Tell us about the new fragrance.
It’s not finished yet. I know for certain around April 2010. It needs to be perfect. We’re not going to launch and damage the reputation of the other six that have been on the market for ten years. It’s like bringing a horrible boyfriend home to meet the family, and you can’t disrupt the family.
Can you tell us anything about it?
Well, I’m trying it for myself. I’m doing something personal. There are a bit of controversial ingredients.
If I tell you, then you’re going to write about it!
Okay, but why now?
When we came here ten years ago, people have been asking every year since. We just stopped saying no.
In this economic climate, how has being known as the world’s most expensive perfume been received?
There has been no difference. Sales are up. In Italy someone asked me, “Why do you call yourselves that?” and I said because it’s true. But it’s not some marketing thing that we set out to do. It happened.
What products do you swear by?
Oh, I never express like or dislike for anything we get involved in. I do like those soaps in the dishes at the Carlyle. I always grab a couple when I stay there. I never go out looking for anything.
Where do you shop for grooming products?
I just use a beard trimmer. It really just boils down to laziness. I like to be super-clean and super-quick.
Is black your uniform?
Has been for as long as I can remember. It’s all about simplicity.
What brands do you wear the most?
I’ve only had three watches in my entire life. A Bulova, a Breitling — but it dropped off my wrist … can someone take a watch off your wrist? — and a Cartier.
What was the first designer item you bought?
It was a Mini. Does that count? I was defined by it. It was turquoise with a cream interior, quite beautiful. It was a pain in the shit, though, because it kept breaking down. I suppose it’s like a romance. Good to look at, but doesn’t do much of anything.