by Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia
I came to work for Naim during the heyday of his entrepreneurial activities that were in many ways the talk of the town. Assembled around him was coterie of the most desirable young ladies, all of them noted for their profiles, intelligence and social graces. The atmosphere throughout the group was mesmeric. The papers seemed to pounce constantly to catch the tidbits and cover every nuance of all that happened. They unabashedly reported in full what amounted to high-octane gossip, as any girl who worked in the group became newsworthy and was likely to find herself turning up in the diary columns of leading newspapers. I was no exception, especially when I found myself as one of the six Namara girls dressed in rubber dresses for the launch party of Naim’s perfume Avant l’Amour and Après l’Amour. Black rubber stood for Avant, white rubber for Après. I was chosen to represent Après. Heaven know why.
We first had to be photographed in the basement at Namara House, which was transformed into a studio for the occasion. We had chiffon arranged round our bare shoulders and were professionally made up, with our hair done in readiness – my hair being quite long and curly, like a subject in a Pre-Raphaelite painting. As I faced the camera, I had to gaze up the ceiling as if at someone I was in love with. This was in order to make my neck profile seem quite elongated with the shape to echo to erotic curves of the scent bottle designs. When the prints arrived back for Naim to check, we were perturbed at how transparent the chiffon looked in the photographs. At the launch part it intrigued the press to find me there attired in a rubber costume as well as appearing on a six-foot poster.
This was one of many incidents that kept us au fait with the latest follies that were always a feature of the place. All in all, working for Naim was a madly unpredictable but enlivening experience. His energy and lack of inhibition were object lessons in how to work and play, and all those who had the chance to share in his merry-go-round of remarkable adventures have been touched by them ever after.