Saturday, August 1, 2009

Prince Matchabelli

One of Meher Baba's most dynamic mandali was Princess Norina Matchabelli. Here are some hardly known facts about her and her husband's perfume company, and a rare image of her husband.

Prince Matchabelli Perfumes was created by Prince Georges V. Matchabelli who was not only a previous Georgian Prince and ambassador to Italy, but also was an amateur chemist who began creating perfumes for his friends and family as a hobby. Georges was a Russian exile who fled the Soviet Union and immigrated to the USA after the Russian Revolution. He and his wife, Princess Norina Matchabelli (an actress whose stage name was Maria Carmi), opened a small antiques shop Le Rouge et le Noir at 545 Madison Avenue. The name derived from Stendhal's novel, red for aristocracy (Matchabelli's origins) and black for clergy (The Miracle, a religious play). They later established the Prince Matchabelli Perfume Company in 1926. Perfumes were personally blended for clients. The first three perfumes were Princess Norina, Queen of Georgia and Ave Maria. The company became known for the many color-coded, crown-shaped bottles designed by Norina after the Matchabelli crown and introduced in 1928 with labels on the underside.

Prince Matchabelli and Princess Vasili in an orphanage

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