Our new Cedar Rose fragrance collection evokes the varied cultural influences of Morocco. For some — musicians, poets, actors — Morocco has been a place to find oneself. For others — composers, novelists, the Beat generation — it has been a place to get lost. Hypnotic and Byzantine, at once a modern city it still honors its own ancient roots in the motions of daily life. Morocco’s visual splendor and its finely crafted furnishings and ornate wooden detailing in homes and mosques made of Atlas Cedarwood from the Altas Mountains in North Africa have inspired our latest scent family.
Tangier, a Moroccan port city located near the Strait of Gibraltar, has had a mysterious lure for creative people. No African city is closer to Europe, no other Orient is more dearly loved by European or American artists – painters, musicians or authors. Delacroix, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, Matisse, Van Dongen, Tennessee Williams, Jean Genet, William Burroughs, and Paul Bowles, to name but a few, have all lived in Tangier. Malcolm Forbes, the brilliant billionaire had his most famous 70th birthday party there, commandeering three private jets to bring his guests from all over the globe to celebrate along with his hostess Elizabeth Taylor bedecked in emerald green.
In Marrakesh, opulent homes, a fusion of European and Moorish architecture, were built or restored in the mid 20th century when Morocco was discovered by the international jet set. Now more and more sumptuous residences in prime locations are changing hands, including Bled Targui, owned by Princess Henrietta von Auersperg, and Le Verger de l’Etoile Filante (Orchard of the Shooting Star), which belongs to Frederick Vreeland, the former United States Ambassador and son of Diana Vreeland, the famed fashion-setter and Editor of Vogue. Both are spacious pleasure domes set among exquisite gardens – like those enjoyed by such expatriate lovers of Morocco as Yves St. Laurent, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, John Paul Getty, and Rudolph Nureyev.
For many the most evocative and romantic city of all is Casablanca, so famed by the 1942 American film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, it characterizes Morocco as complex, mysterious and dangerous in a sensual way.
“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.”
Edith Wharton, 1927
“From far off, through circuitous corridors, came the scent of citrus-blossom and jasmine, with sometimes a bird’s song before dawn, sometimes a flute’s wail at sunset, and always the call of the muezzin in the night…”
Edith Wharton, In Morocco
(American novelist and designer Edith Wharton traveled to Morocco after the end of World War I. In Morocco is her account of her time there as the guest of General Hubert Lyautey. Her account praises Lyautey and his wife and also the French administration of the country.)