My London:  The perfume designer

As told to Ianthe Butt

Photography by Ki Price

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August 2017

British perfume designer Azzi Glasser shares her must-see sights and top shopping spots in London. From stalwarts such as Harvey Nichols to bizarre boutiques and quirky antique shops, this is a sneak peak into London’s luxury side.

1. Harvey Nichols

What’s great about Harvey Nichols is it’s a real one-stop shop for clothes, accessories and beauty. If you’re short on time then book an appointment with one of their VIP concierges and they’ll pull together an edit of the best pieces to save you ploughing through everything. Jet-lagged travellers can also get a refreshing facial there too.

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Liberty London has these lovely old creaky wooden staircases and an old-school atmosphere – come here and you’ll always find a cool new designer you’ve not heard of

2. Liberty London

Liberty’s much-photographed mock-Tudor building was constructed using the timber from two old ships in 1924, and it has these lovely old creaky wooden staircases and an old-school atmosphere. Come here and you’ll always find a cool new designer you’ve not heard of alongside the classics, plus (of course) their famed prints, which adorn everything from bath soaps to scarves.

  • Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason.

    Did you know… ?

    Baked beans – a staple of the great British breakfast – were first introduced to the UK when a certain Mr Heinz brought samples of his tinned goods to Fortnum & Mason from the USA in 1886. The gourmet food department store was considered the premier supplier of exotic edibles to the gentry of the time.

    London’s best afternoon teas
  • Regent Street’s Liberty London.

    Prints charming

    Liberty London is instantly recognisable from its iconic mock-Tudor exterior, but it’s the fabric department’s much-loved prints – which adorn everything from scarves to soft furnishings – that draws in the fashion crowds in their droves.

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  • Perfume designer Azzi Glasser ©Diana Ellis-Hill.

    The smell of success

    Azzi Glasser has been featured in titles all over the world including Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour, making her one of the most recognisable names in the perfume world.

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3. Lonb

The best handbags in the world are by Lonb, and they’ve just opened their first boutique on South Audley Street in Mayfair. The tote bags include a handbag inside them, so you have something for the day and the evening. It’s rare to find something that’s practical, beautifully designed and stylish too.

4. Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum’s is a London legend – it’s been here since 1707 – and the afternoon tea is divine. You’ll be served finger sandwiches plus a selection of scones and tiny pieces of cake stacked on traditional cake stands in the shop’s signature turquoise hue. Be sure to add on a glass of Champagne for a touch of decadence. Fun fact: the Scotch egg is claimed to have been invented here – my friends and I always fight over them and have to ask for more.

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  • Queen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park is home to London’s largest collection of roses © The Royal Parks.

    See it for yourself…

    Queen Mary’s Garden opens at 05:00 year-round, with closing times depending on the season (the park runs extended opening hours during summer). Nearest Tubes: Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street.

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  • Vintage luggage on display at Alfies Antique Market.

    Heavy metal

    Situated in the outskirts of Marylebone, Alfies Antique Market is a warren of unique trinkets and vintage fashion. Don’t miss the third-floor rooftop café – the terrace is a sun trap on a clear day, serving brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.

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  • Lunch is served at Petersham Nurseries café in Richmond ©Ming Tang Evans.

    People in glass houses

    Set in a glass house surrounded by flowers and antiques, the café champions the Slow Food movement, serving seasonal dishes inspired by Italian cooking. A reservation is essential – the restaurant is open for lunch only, Tuesday to Sundays from 12:00 to 15:00.

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5. A Child of the Jago

This bizarre boutique on Charing Cross Road is a hidden treasure trove. Run by Vivienne Westwood’s son, it’s cram-packed with curious clothes and unusual jewellery featuring wasps and flies – all very Dickensian. I bought a gorgeous skirt there with London map on the inner lining, with slits that reveal hints of it as you walk.

6. Brunswick House

Not only can you go for dinner at chef Jackson Boxer’s restaurant, which is housed in a glorious old Georgian mansion, but you can also buy the antiques it’s decked out with. Upstairs there’s a room that you can book to host a private dinner party with your friends. It feels as though you’re in an old stately home, like something out of Brideshead Revisited.

7. Christie's

As Christie’s is an auction house, the exhibitions always showcase the best of the best – from ancient books to painstakingly woven tapestries – and are completely inspiring. Rather than being a big white space like some contemporary galleries, there’s a traditional, filled-with-heritage atmosphere. The staff’s knowledge is second-to-none and the chairman, Sir David Linley, often walks around mingling with visitors.

8. The Queen Mary’s Gardens at Regent’s Park

An English rose smells like no other rose on earth. We don’t actually produce English rose oil here as there aren’t enough of them, however, in the Queen Mary’s Gardens you’ll find London’s largest collection of roses, which burst into bloom in late spring and early summer. It’s one of London’s prettiest gardens and it smells incredible.

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9. Petersham Nurseries

Designers and artists flock to Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries for inspiration, whether that’s to browse the antiques, pick out plants, or to visit the flower-stuffed glasshouse café where there’s top-notch food. The café only opens at lunchtime, as well on a handful of evenings when there are special candlelit supper clubs.

10. Alfies Antique Market

Years ago I used to live opposite this antiques market on Church Street in Marylebone, so I shopped there all the time. All of my favourite furniture, such as Robin Day chairs and cool vintage chandeliers come from here, but you’ll also find old-fashioned cotton nighties, crockery, shoes and jewellery.


Azzi Glasser is an award-winning British perfume designer and founder of The Perfumer’s Story. Follow her @theperfumersstory.

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