During my brief stay in London I had the pleasure to smell again some of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances I already knew and to discover some which I didn't know. In Italy they're not yet available in shops but this didn't forbid perfumistos to know them, love them and buy them online.
Since years I was hoping to meet her and finally I reached to know this lovely british perfume's Lady, Linda Pilkington, founder of the brand able in a few years to impose her style as a synonym of refined elegance joining british understated chic and contemporary taste. In a sunny morning of October Linda welcomes me at her Sloane Square store in a friendly atmosphere for a cup of tea, a nice talk, good chocolates and some laughs.E: What is your first scented memory?
L: My first scented memory is probably animals. When we were young we were allowed to keep rabbits on condition that we had to clean the cages. We were like three years old and my mother said: "Now you have to clean it out, take out the straw clean it all and put in fresh straw" and then I was like "Oh it's horrible, this is the worst smell ever!". I remember that smell of cleaning them. We had a lot of pets and when it came the cleaning day we had to wash the bowls. You know, they all smelled of cat poo, dog poo, rabbit poo. I always said this was disgusting, oh mummy I had to cover my nose! But then things got better because my mother gave me a bottle of perfume but the smell of cleaning out animal cages came long before that.
E: Oh interesting, it's a good start let's say... Hahaha!
L: Yes, rabbit poo! Hahaha!
E: How did you start getting interested in perfumes and perfume making?
L: I thought my interest started with bottles actually. That was because my mother had received a bottle of perfume as a present and she didn't think it was appropriate to have a bottle of perfume from a man when she's a married woman.
E: So the bottle didn't came from your father but from another man?
L: No, from another man as a birthday present and my mother didn't think it was really correct. So she did not want to insult the man giving him back the present but at the same time she didn't want to wear perfume from another man so she gave it to me. It was a beautiful bottle and when you are like thirteen years old to have such a bottle of perfume because at that point you know, I was buying things that cost one or two pounds maybe from Body Shop. It was Madame Rochas and it was in a beautiful glass flacon with a golden stop and the perfume was like cognac, deep brown, it was like a piece of treasure. I put it in my bedroom and it was so beautiful, I was like "Oooh this is sooo beautiful! This is the most amazing thing I ever had in my bedroom!". Then I asked my mother if I could have all that bottles when they were finished for putting them on my dressing table and I wasn't thinking about the perfumes I was thinking about the display of the beautiful bottles. Then I asked to my mother if she could ask her friends if I could have their bottles as well and then I started getting more and more. In the end I had a huge collection of bottles in my bedroom, so maybe it just started like that fashination. Then when I was about 17yo somebody came into my bedroom and said to me "Oh my goodness you must be crazy about perfume!". Then I just remember thinking "Actually I haven't spent all the time smelling the perfume but more looking at the bottles" and then I thought it was time to dig in because actually this was very superficial, it was all about how beautiful looked the bottles and I wasn't really smelling the perfume without deciding if it was a nice scent or not. When somebody made that comment it made me think actually they were right, I just thought "Well this is perfume so start smelling the perfume and not just looking how lovely are the bottles". So this people gave me the idea even if it didn't come from me and it came from somebody else. It's always like that you know, it's always somebody giving me the idea... you know it makes you think "No I don't, but I should".
People say comments in life in general that's correct and usually come giving me ideas and when people make a comment that I feel it's a valid point, I keep it, so even if it's business, money, housing, cooking, anything that my brain can elaborate...
E: Good, very good.
L: But that's not my ideas.
E: No ok, but this is a good attitude to be smart enough to catch opportunities, isn't it?
L: Yes, it is. I think I catch opportunities on what people say. Anywhere, anytime it's interesting: it can just be something some say on the radio and has nothing to do with my life and I feel it's a good thing to do maybe I think whether I can convert it into something good for my life.
E: Perfume is all about balance of different notes playing an harmony. You are a woman, a wife and a successful perfumer of a self owned luxury brand, how do you balance all these aspects of your life?
L: Right... I drrrinkkkk!!! Hahaha!
E: Hahaha! Like Joan Crowford! Haha!
L: Yes, haha! I do have my appropriate moments with my children... Mommy dearest... No, I got older and wiser, so I'm not a young mother so I acquired a lot of wisdom because you know everything gets into perspective. So if the children are at home and they are sick and things are going wrong I stay at home. Then if somebody phones me for the business maybe sayign this goes wrong, this doesn't work, maybe they call me from the laboratory... I realize it's perfume it's not a life risk, it's not a cancer... On the other hand I put it in perspective and think he's a good boy, he's fine so I try not to overreact. My housband lives for work in Moscow and he comes back every two or three weeks so I also have to do things by myself because usually I have 21 days where I am alone doing things at night so I set my allarm clock at work at five o'clock and when it rings from that moment I don't take anymore calls because it can delay and make me late and I musn't be late so at five o'clock I have my first warning, so if somebody phones at ten past five I'm not there. I'm preparing to go home I have plenty of time so I don't get in panic with the traffic. Then I get home and I have dinner with the children, I help them doing their homeworks, I put them to bed and at 7.30 I'm free again but alone and that's the chance to put evenrything in order, the chance to look around the house and do my shopping... With internet I can do my shopping in 15 minutes you know... tsc, tsc, tsc... The one thing I had to learn is I try not to take too much work at home or on my computer becuase I still try doing it then I feel guilty because I say "I should finish it" so now I say to myself "I'll do it tomorrow, it's work, I'm going to have a bath and not feeling guilty". I'm not taking work at home and doing it at night but then I end up doing two or three things anyway on my computer but I'm doing it because I'm good but not because I feel guilty saying "Oh, I need to dooo that!" stressing my brain... I learned the way not to stress, to take my time and not to overrreact to something. Sometimes I do overreackt but then the sensible part of my brain tells me to slow down...
Here's the rest of this fabulous inverview with Linda. So don't miss it!
<Part 2> <Part 3>