Could a Clive Christian showroom be coming to Boston?
The answer is a resounding maybe. The superstar of British brands is placing its proverbial toe in the waters around the Charles hoping that the ripple will reach a proper partner for its line of kitchens, interiors, and furniture. Clive (its website is simply clive.com) does have showrooms and partners on this side of the pond, most notably a corporate-run shop in New York, but no one from headquarters had set foot in Boston in 10 years until last week. Victoria Christian, the eldest daughter of company founder and design clairvoyant Clive Christian, was in town for a meet-and-greet with design industry types at the British Consulate on Beacon Hill.
Despite the recession and slow economic recovery, which, we note, are not unique to Boston, a lot has changed (for the better) in the New England luxury market over the last decade. The time may be ripe for another player targeting super-affluent patrons and Clive Christianís approach, a mix of opulence, craftsmanship, and tradition, could be a tour de force. Kitchens with gold leafing, crystal chandeliers (Clive was the first to set them dangling above the corbel-supported ogee-edged-wood topped island in his debut 1970s kitchen), and statuary in oneís own image are selling worldwide, so why not here?
One reason, an attendee at the consulís party posited, is that we have so many fine designers and workrooms right here in New England. Why import? Because, one could argue, there are those who specifically seek out the brand. (Victoria would not reveal any Clive clients, but we did find a report that Rod Stewart and Celine Dion are fans. Our guess is that the brandís base is more off-the-radar than those Las Vegas headliners, however.) Clive Christian has, after all, been named to the Order of the British Empire for his work in bringing worldwide awareness to luxury UK products. (There was no talk of it between the champagne and the canopies, but Clive Christian also produces what Guinness World Records has deemed the most expensive perfume on the planet.)
And while there are Clive Christian showrooms from Singapore to Moscow, everything is bespoke, reminds Victoria. From that first Victorian Kitchen, which prompted Clive to buy a factory where his own craftsmen could create his vision, to baths and closets, to the pared down (for Clive) new Alpha Kitchen line, everything is tailor-made in the companyís workrooms in northeast England to suit each clientís needs, desires, and spaces. Customizing every detail until the fit is perfect is Clive Christianís trademark. The product is classic, dignified, proud, and sturdy. Sounds pretty New England to us.
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An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.
Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.
Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.