Monday 16 September 2019


Adriana Carlucci is the force behind the wonderful Ancienne Ambiance store in London’s fashionable Chelsea. The boutique came about as an extension of her family’s love of antiquity and quickly developed a very loyal following for its fragrances and home products. To celebrate the company’s fifteenth birthday I thought it was time to discover Adriana’s own scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
The soft leather smell of new ballet shoes. It brings back happy memories of my first dancing classes with Miss Stass, my amazing teacher.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My mum wore Oscar by Oscar de la Renta by day and Audace by Rochas in the night. Both of these scents remind me of hugging her when I was a child. An equally important memory is of my godmother wearing Guerlain's Mitsouko, which was her signature scent. I remember coming home from school and smelling her perfume in the hallway, immediately knowing she had been to visit my mum. French and fabulous, she started my collection of miniature perfume bottles and often gave me different perfumes to try.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Chanel No19 was my main go-to perfume and I'd alternate with their Cristalle. When I was eighteen, I took a gap year before University and worked for a surrealist art expert who was good friends with Jacques Polge. He gave me a fabulous bottle of Cristalle from his office and it’s still very treasured. I also wore Annick Goutal Grand Amour and Courreges Empreinte, which I still wear, although these days I do prefer Cristalle Eau Verte.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
It was a mistake not to keep my first bottle of Shalimar, a beautiful Baccarat bottle style from the late eighties. I came across it at duty free in Paris with my dad, who lived between Paris and New York at the time. Seven year old Adriana thought the scent was beyond amazing and simply had to have it. I kicked up such a fuss and stamped my feet like most children do about wanting a toy. It wasn't cheap and it came in a special box - I was a lucky girl, he got it for me!

You can only choose one perfume?
I really enjoy alternating my favourite fragrances - a bit like playing a favourite song playlist, I have a few on repeat - but, if I could only take one with me to a desert island, it would be Shalimar. It's my first fragrance love and I always return to it. I find it comforting and it is probably the only fragrance I can wear at any time, any season, and for any reason.

What perfume should I try?
I know you're a fan of my Colonia IX fragrance already, which is perhaps the most unusual in the Ancienne Ambiance collection, but I'd love you to try Colonia VII with its grapefruit and blood orange touches. It’s wonderful for these last weeks of summer.

For more information about Ancienne Ambiance, and to discover their fragrance range, you can visit their website at

[Image of Adriana Carlucci © Ali Zabihollah]


  1. Really interesting Stephan. Thanks for posting this. Living 'up in the sticks', I have never heard of that store before, or the scents. Something that I must check out.

    1. Hello Barry, you really do need to explore their fragrances ... and the soaps are beautiful as well. Best, Stephan