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British Family Perfumers Since 1730

1960sChristine Maciocia - Artist/Model

The 1960s felt like being part of a big extended loving family. Everyone welcomed you, stopped to talk to you, everyone felt at peace and content to be alive. Back then I shared a flat with my twin brother in Tedworth Square off of the King's Road, opposite Mary Quant's shop.

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1960s

I have kept old perfume bottles in the past, just to give myself a quick trip down memory lane. The scent lingers around the inside of the bottles almost forever.

The 1960s felt like being part of a big extended loving family. Everyone welcomed you, stopped to talk to you, everyone felt at peace and content to be alive. Back then I shared a flat with my twin brother in Tedworth Square off of the King's Road, opposite Mary Quant's shop.

My modelling was going well. I'd been featured on magazine covers, billboards in the London underground and numerous TV commercials. I also worked part-time to make more money, selling ice cream in the theatre at the top end of the King's Road, and jewellery in Peter Jones. I was Joanna Lumley’s stand-in as well once on a film. Any extra work made a huge difference financially, especially when given a few lines to speak. They were long days, getting home late, but fun days. I drove a yellow convertible, Triumph Herald, giving friends lifts to Pinewood, Elstree or location sites. The extras all got to know each other, through meeting on-set, again just like an extended family, catching up on gossip, rising at 5am having hair and makeup done, followed by a massive fry up breakfast in a canteen coach.

I remember buying a red coat and large rimmed red hat to go to Ascot with Lenny Rabin. I was only 18 or 19 at the time and had met Lenny at Crockfords Casino, near Piccadilly. He was also great friends with Cubby Broccoli, the producer of the Bond films, and we went for dinner at Cubby's mansion, which was like a film set, on Park Lane on many occasions.

The smells I recall from the 60s, along the Kings Road where I lived, were from the flower markets on a Saturday, selling every colour flower imaginable. Being entrenched in the hippy flower expression of the 60s, and having lived my life through colour, to this day I find myself unable to walk past a flower market display without stopping.

I remember the summer times, where the sun shone over colourful flower people dressed in flared, flower print shirts, and round, John Lennon sun glasses. My twin brother was at the London school of film technique, and was invited to Abbey Road to photograph the Beatles jamming up in the studios. I went along too once. Richard and I sat off-stage in the front, me listening and watching, with Richard photographing them. Richard was also invited to photograph Jimmy Hendrix in his flat. While Richard was photographing him, Jimmy was a really lovely soul. Richard's photos taken that day are now hanging in Jimmy Hendrix's flat, which is now a museum.

Smells trigger memories, and though they can't remain ever present, what they do is activate memories. I have kept old perfume bottles in the past, just to give myself a quick trip down memory lane. The scent lingers around the inside of the bottles almost forever.

1960sGeorge Skeggs - Artist

Being a 'teenager' in the late 1950s and early 1960s London was, slowly but surely, the place to be. The birth of fashion in Carnaby Street and on the King's Road, with styles based on both the Italian and French look, and, of course, Soho for music. All these things would be my destination for a hedonistic life style.

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1960s

Indeed, smell, taste, and sounds give us a real sense of passing time with a mixture of happiness and sadness in equal measure.

Being a 'teenager' in the late 1950s and early 1960s London was, slowly but surely, the place to be. The birth of fashion in Carnaby Street and on the King's Road, with styles based on both the Italian and French look, and, of course, Soho for music. All these things would be my destination for a hedonistic life style.

This brave new world was about to affect my young life, which was full of youthful idealism, after the monotone years and mediocrity following World War II. Colour and music were to become part of my 'manifesto', but, more important to my friends and me, was 'style'. Bespoke clothes and shoes gave you more control and a chance to become an individualist with your own sense of style. Grooming was becoming just as important, although then, the use of any form fragrance for men was seem as a bit suspicious and feminine, but (referencing Bob Dylan), "the times they were a changing".

I would head up west on my new Piaggio Vespa GS scooter, essential for any self-respecting 'modernist' to have or aspire to. Before leaving home, a bit of primping in front of the bathroom mirror was always essential. On one visit, I remember coming through Soho with my future wife, a west end girl, to a Soho Coffee Bar. She was wearing Chanel No. 5, and me, an old American Classic (1938), Old Spice. The air soon became a heady perfume of these two fragrances. Add coffee beans and Gauloises French cigarettes and it made for a romantic evening.

It has since become one of my enduring memories of those days, and times, in London, the city I still love and enjoy well after the passing of half a century. Indeed smell, taste and sounds give us a real sense of passing time, with a mixture of happiness and sadness in equal measure.

1960sGisela Barrington - Floris Customer

In the mid 1960s I came to London a few times as a German student. My aim was to improve my English and learn about the English way of life, and what better way than to work as a waitress.

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1960s

In the evenings, on my way back from theatre land, I often walked through Soho. Attracted by the smell of coffee and the sound of loud music, I would stop at one of the fashionable coffee bars.

In the mid 1960s I came to London a few times as a German student. My aim was to improve my English and learn about the English way of life, and what better way than to work as a waitress.

My place of work was The Cowdray Club, a private club for ladies, housed in a collection of historic buildings on Cavendish Square, a stone's throw from Oxford Circus. Run by women for women, the club had been founded for nurses and professional women, such as teachers and writers.

Living in the country or coming back from working abroad, the ladies regarded The Cowdray Club as their home from home. They would stay for a few nights, or even months on end, to take in London life and entertain their friends and family in the splendid dining rooms and salons. Men were rarely seen and only allowed as guests, and were never allowed to stay overnight.

Our band of continental waitresses were conveniently housed in the building complex. The corridors smelled of floor polish and rose scented bath cubes, and each of us had our own pretty, chintz-clad room. In return for board and lodging, plus a modest salary, we had to work variable shifts, from early morning tea service to dinner, often working until late at night.

We beavered our way through the intricate menus and colourful dinner guests. The ladies always dressed for dinner. Some wore jewel coloured silk clothes made for them in faraway countries, or 'The Colonies' as they were called back then. They would leave behind an aura of exotic perfume, which was quite a contrast to the tweedy and lavender scents that we could detect during the day.

In my free time I soaked up culture wherever I could find it, like the Giacometti exhibition at the Tate. I tried my luck at the dogs in White City, spent Sunday mornings at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, and on Saturdays I was at Portobello Market, which inspired my lifelong passion for all things vintage and antique.

In the evenings, on my way back from theatre land, I often walked through Soho. Attracted by the smell of coffee and the sound of loud music, I would stop at one of the fashionable coffee bars.

With milky coffee served in curious Pyrex cups, the jukeboxes drowning out all meaningful conversation, we would often stand in large groups in the street listening to the music coming out of the surrounding basement clubs. We felt hip and had the future ahead of us. A future fueled by coffee!

1970sRosemary Livingstone - Creative Floral Designer

The 70s were a time when there were no boundaries to what people could wear or how they furnished their homes. The sense of being individual mattered, and London was encouraging us all to believe we could be whatever we wanted - any career was possible.

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1970s

Fashions may change, but influences remain, and I believe this time offered me something so unexpected. It showed me you should never be afraid of standing out from the crowd

The 70s were a time when there were no boundaries to what people could wear or how they furnished their homes. The sense of being individual mattered, and London was encouraging us all to believe we could be whatever we wanted - any career was possible.

It was a decade that inspired me creatively. It may have been many years later before I opened my own floral design business, but I never forgot the sense of the drama that the 70s had brought with it – art, music and fashion. Having been born in Africa, London at that time was like a whole new creative world opening up before me.

I remember clearly the moment I stepped into Biba’s store; I felt like Alice in Wonderland, entering a magical kingdom which would challenge ideas and open my eyes to a new world of design and fashion. This gold and black metropolis brought alive my senses – from the sweet and fragrant scents which lingered, to the tall feathers cascading amongst the designs.

The make-up was vibrant – who could resist such an exciting palette of colour, presented in such an innovative way? Fashion inspiration was everywhere, not just hanging on the rails, but walking around me. Barbara Hulanicki had given London a new shopping experience and a taste of just how exciting fashion could be. Great branding lasts forever, and after so many years, the Biba logo remains instantly recognisable.

As I made my way around the store, my head went from left to right as yet another dramatic display tempted me across the floor. For me, it was the adult equivalent of a child in a sweetie shop, and I could not resist trying on dress after dress. Thoughts of my budget were long gone as I headed for the till to secure my purchases.

When I am designing displays for an event I still draw on those early feelings of awe to create a dramatic effect for the venue. I want to share those magical first impressions with a new audience, to create the wow factor as they walk into a room. Fashions may change, but influences remain, and I believe this time offered me something so unexpected. It showed me you should never be afraid of standing out from the crowd.

1970sShirlie Kemp - Model, Musician, Artist

My teenage years were an extremely exciting time for fashion and music. I was 15 years old, still at school and music was my passion – especially live bands who oozed the charisma and energy that didn't exist anywhere else as far as I was concerned! Generation X, The Clash, Adam And The Ants. I could go on and on, the nights out watching bands were endless.

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1970s

I remember as I walked along the King's Road that people would stare, but that was all part of the act. It was fun. A feeling of being free and expressive, and probably one of the most spontaneous times of my life.

My teenage years were an extremely exciting time for fashion and music. I was 15 years old, still at school and music was my passion – especially live bands who oozed the charisma and energy that didn't exist anywhere else as far as I was concerned! Generation X, The Clash, Adam And The Ants. I could go on and on, the nights out watching bands were endless. There weren't enough days in the week to see them all!

Buying the NME every Thursday was the most exciting part of my school week. I would sit at my school desk circling all the bands that I wanted to see. It was more than just the music though; these gigs were a chance to be around like-minded people. I remember jumping up and down in the front rows and looking at complete strangers doing and feeling exactly the same thing as me. It was as if we all had this deep connection of brotherhood. I just felt like I fitted in.

My train line into London was the Jubilee from Stanmore, the suburbs of North London. Sloane Square was a prime spot to meet up. Long before texts and social media, punks would gather to see what was going on and spread the word of secret gigs and parties. It was literally the word on the street!

Although I was too young to actually catch the very beginning of punk fashion, so cleverly instigated by Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren, I loved nothing more than to visit their World's End shop. I remember feeling quite intimidated and confused by it, but it changed from "Sex" to be called "Seditionaries", which seemed a lot nicer and had some really cool stuff.

It was of course extremely expensive for a 15 year old school girl, but I managed to save up and bought some fantastic t-shirts and bondage trousers. I never could tell my parents how much I had paid for them though! Sadly, I threw all my original Westwood clothes away in later years. Who would have thought they would now be in a museum.

A lot of punks would meet at the Roebuck pub on the King's Road, and I loved this place, it was buzzing with energy. You would hear where bands were playing and where all the house parties were. It was filled with creative people, art students, bands, designers, all connecting through fashion and music.

It really was a time to use your imagination. Although laughable now, I did actually use an old kettle as a handbag. I remember as I walked along the King's Road that people would stare, but that was all part of the act. It was fun. A feeling of being free and expressive, and probably one of the most spontaneous times of my life.

1970sPaul Du Noyer - Music Journalist, Author

The summer of 1976 was long and hot, and London’s atmosphere seemed to crackle with an electrical charge. In May, David Bowie played six epoch-making shows at Wembley Arena, and the worlds of music and fashion and even politics felt primed for something new and explosive. What I needed to know was, where would it all kick off?

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1970s

Rival ideologies were being fought out in the streets; reggae was throbbing from Notting Hill sound systems; art students were mixing with Cockney chancers from the council estates; and the disparate tribes of London were forming new alignments.

The summer of 1976 was long and hot, and London’s atmosphere seemed to crackle with an electrical charge. In May, David Bowie played six epoch-making shows at Wembley Arena, and the worlds of music and fashion and even politics felt primed for something new and explosive. What I needed to know was, where would it all kick off?

A few years earlier I’d arrived in the city as a teenager from Liverpool, wondering what happened to the swinging London I had always read about. Carnaby Street was a shadow of its former glory. In 1975, even the fabulous Biba megastore in Kensington closed down. In search of that elusive something, the unerring instinct of youth led me down to the Kings Road. I was not to be disappointed.

Out of the tube (well, eventually - there was still a bar on platform 1 in those days) there were blue skies over Sloane Square. Red Routemaster buses brushing the bright green plane trees. Black cabs nuzzling past a vivid parade of upmarket boutiques. The only grey I saw was the cloud of cigarette smoke from those trendy Chelsea pubs that lined my way to World’s End. And when I got there I discovered a tiny, terrifying shop called "Sex".

A hand-written sign in its window: “New band wanted. No flares, no cripples. Ask inside for Sid Vicious.”. Who would have dared apply? Not me. The Sex shop sold provocative clothing – outrageous designs by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren that I couldn’t afford – and its pokey interior was intimidating. But I knew I’d stumbled on a great secret that wouldn’t stay a secret very long.

A few weeks later I saw the Sex Pistols play a gig. Sid Vicious was their mate and McLaren was their manager. Punk rock was being born and suddenly, 1976 swam into focus. All the nervous excitement and tension of that time were played out in those brief, brutal songs. Rival ideologies were being fought out in the streets; reggae was throbbing from Notting Hill sound systems; art students were mixing with Cockney chancers from the council estates; and the disparate tribes of London were forming new alignments.

It changed my life overnight. That summer the New Musical Express advertised for “hip young gunslingers”: would-be writers who could capture the febrile mood of the moment. Pre-internet, Britain’s weekly music papers were the bush telegraph of youth culture, so this was a dream job. This time I dared to apply, and I told them about the scene I saw developing under their noses, at those sweaty Sex Pistols shows and in the scarifying gloom of that strange little shop at the shady end of the Kings Road. To my amazement they told me to get writing, and I bought my first typewriter, at the Ryman’s store half-way down from Sloane Square.

First, though, I had to go back to Liverpool and marry my girlfriend, so I crossed the street to Take Six and bought their least expensive suit (you couldn’t walk down the aisle dressed like a Sex Pistol, even if you could afford it). We came back to London, my wife and I, and our new life began. Somewhere today, I hope that spirit of 1976 is alive in another generation’s hearts.

1980sLouise Robertson - Floris Customer

In the 80s I was in my late teens/early 20s, and living off the New Kings Road. Most nights (too many nights) were spent in Crocodile Tears in the Fulham Road. Any excuse to celebrate - Beaujolais Nouveau and The Glorious Twelfth. Staggering back to our houses that almost ran in sequence down the Fulham Palace Road. Tootsies in the New Kings Road was a favourite place - I went into labour there too!

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1980s

Life in the late 80s was very jovial and fun - endless dinner parties, Balls at The Roof Gardens in Kensington, and lots of wonderful friendships.

In the 80's I was in my late teens/early 20’s, and living off the New Kings Road. Most nights (too many nights) were spent in Crocodile Tears in the Fulham Road. Any excuse to celebrate - Beaujolais Nouveau and The Glorious Twelfth. Staggering back to our houses that almost ran in sequence down the Fulham Palace Road. Tootsies in the New Kings Road was a favourite place - I went into labour there too! Those were the days when The Queen Charlotte Maternity Hospital was still open for business in Chiswick.

My then boyfriend Neil - who I consequently married - lived in SW6 with his city banker chum. One Christmas, very close to the actual day itself, Adrian (Neil's housemate) came home from work with a huge Floris bag, brimming over in beautifully wrapped parcels. He gave one to myself, one to his girlfriend Queenie, and one to Neil’s sister Susie. He had bought us each a bottle of Edwardian Bouquet and powder. We opened them simultaneously. I was ecstatic, so was Neil’s sister - but Adrian’s girlfriend was beyond livid that he had done a job lot and that it included her! I have worn Edwardian Bouquet ever since and turned 50 this year! A random choice on behalf of the giver sorted my choice of perfume for a lifetime.

After that, I recall getting engaged myself, with a wedding list at Peter Jones. Weekends that weren’t spent at Adrian’s cottage in Great Tew were spent hopping on and off the Number 11 or 14 bus to go up and down the Kings and Fulham Road - those jump on and off the back buses. Lots of weekend picnics out of town at Point to Points. Neil’s other sister was a Nanny for Joanna Wood and she often had use of her smart Range Rover at weekends - bonus.

I was working for Bladon Lines in Putney - for Mark Lines and Simon Bladon. Mountain Air was our go to shop for kit - we got 2 weeks free skiing a year and any weekend ski breaks that weren’t booked up by Friday lunch time, then we were sent off in a minibus to tour, stay and ski in all our resorts by way of education - fun times.

My husband-to-be ran his own decorating business. His sister always wanted to be given lifts everywhere, but he and his brother (business partner) only had a large red van, so she had to be dropped off (out of sight) when going to the White Horse at Parsons Green. We even went to a wedding in Cheyne Walk in the van. We arrived late and managed to pull up at the same time as the bride. I remember it being marvelous after the reception as we had about 10 people sitting on paint pots in the back - suddenly less sniffy about our mode of transport to get home.

Life in the late 80s was very jovial and fun - endless dinner parties, balls at The Roof Gardens in Kensington, and lots of wonderful friendships.

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