There is a lot that goes into reinvention. It’s so easy to modernize. To wipe the slate clean and replace it with a simpler face. What’s difficult, however, is taking the beauty of the antique and developing a product that is as refined as the old, but as vibrant and fresh as the new.
Caswell-Massey is known as one of the country’s first and oldest apothecary and perfumeries. Founded in 1752 in New Port, Rhode Island, Caswell-Massey has been a purveyor of American luxury with their handcrafted and exquisite products based in a deep history of time-tested quality. A little known fact about Chelsea Square, is that our doors opened in 1978 as a Caswell-Massey purveyor. Nearly 40 years later, both Chelsea Square and Caswell Massey turned inwards and built off of the trusted history that helped keep our doors open for 40 and 266 years respectively.
What we are incredibly excited to talk about today, is the inventive and inspired way that Caswell-Massey has managed to build off of their unique history.
Back in the day, it was a common occurrence for old Hollywood and Broadway celebrities to request custom made fragrances for their exclusive use. In pursuit of inspiration, Caswell-Massey perfumers dug through their archives and what they found was a complex formula that revealed to be the deep, floral fragrance that was Marem. With the help of perfumer Pascal Guerin, Caswell-Massey is now releasing this iconic fragrance to the public in pursuit of staying true to their deeply routed history of refinement, and as a reiteration of the feminine power that was embodied in the fragrance’s muse.
Marem was originally created specifically for the silent film actress, Alla Nazimova a.k.a. Marem-Ides Leventon. Alla was known as a female icon, a trailblazer for feminine independence as she spent her life and career pursuing her art as one of the first ever female film makers. A proven star, Caswell-Massey then created a fragrance that captured her very essence through her story and the lively, unapologetic way she lived her life.
The fragrance starts with rose and red currant notes that are reminiscent of the start of her life and career in Moscow, which then give way to the deep, woodsy notes that pay tribute to the poise and elegance that defined her life in New York as a Broadway actress. Finally, the Citrus and Amber notes represent her effervescent and fiery nature as a bold and ferocious creative mind.
There is an iconic capriciousness that’s to be associated with Alla Nazimova. It’s almost a betrayal to her very character that her legacy seems to be confined simply to black and white photos and silent films. A defining feature of her’s was her violet-hued eyes, and her outrageous personality. The genius and beauty that’s expressed through this perfume, is that it manages to exude the passion and complexity the film maker, actress, and extraordinary human being Alla Nazimova was. It breaths life into a deep history that was almost lost within the archives, bringing to light the importance of the past while putting it in a context that feels renewed and invigorating.
For that reason alone, the launch of Marem is an incredibly apt development within Caswell-Massey’s journey. It’s a lively fragrance that’s adaptable to the person who wears it, while also containing a perfect still frame of a history and life filled with creativity, personality, and grandeur.
Read more about the fragrance here.
Learn more about Marem here.