Friday, January 23, 2015

Parfums Chevalier Garde, Inc.

Parfums Chevalier Garde, lnc. was established by Alexandre "Sasha" Georgievich Tarsaidze in 1940 at 750 Fifth Ave, New York. Tarsaidze was an officer in the Czar's Imperial Navy and in the 1930's joined Prince Matchabelli's perfumery. Together with a fellow friend, Prince Serge Obolensky, he started Parfums Chevalier Garde.



Biographical Note
  • 1901 Born, Tiflis, Russia into family of old Georgian nobility
  • 1918 Graduated, Imperial Naval Academy, Petrograd
  • 1918-1921 Worked with Allied High Commissioner, Col. W. Haskell, in Tiflis
  • 1921 Escaped from Bolsheviks to Constantinople
  • Worked for American Relief Administration
  • 1923-1941 Emigrated to the United States
  •  Worked for Matchabelli Perfumes, R.H. Macy Co., Parfum Chevalier Garde and other retailers in cosmetic and jewelry business
  •  Member, Association of Former Russian Imperial Naval Officers
  •  Member, Georgian Society in the U.S.A.
  •  Director, Caucasian Society "Allaverdy"
  • 1940 Married Madeleine Black 
  • 1941-1944 Worked for U.S. Army intelligence
  • 1944 Author, Morskoi Korpus za CHetvert' Veka, 1901-1925, N.Y.
  • 1945 Divorced from Madeleine Black
  • 1945-1958 Director of Public Relations, Serge Obolensky Associates
  • 1947 Marries Elisabeth Wladimirovna Sverbeev
  • 1958 Author, Czars and Presidents
  • 1969 Author, CHetyre mifa
  • 1977 Author, Katia: Wife Before God
  • 1959-1978 Freelancer, public relations
  • 1978 Died, New York City

Tarsaidze was born in 1901 in a town called Gori, near Stalin's birthplace, Tiflis, Russia, into a family of old Georgian nobility. He claimed that the  name Tarsaidze means "the son of the early Christians" in Persian and that his family was subjugated by Persia in the fifteenth century, and that he was kin to the Celts and the Basques. His father, Dr. George A. Tarsaidze, was an oculist and his mother, the former Elizabeth Eristoff, was a princess who descended from King Irakli II, of what had once been the kingdom of Georgia before it was absorbed by czarist Russia early in the nineteenth century.

As a child, he read Jack London's stories about windjammers going to Alaska and the Klondike, so he decided to become a naval officer. In  1918, he graduated from the Imperial Naval Academy, Petrograd, which was founded by Peter the Great on November 19, 1701. Wherever the graduates are, he said, " in Siam or China or Brazil," they gather on November 19 to celebrate with a banquet of goose and apples. Empress Anna, the wife of Peter the Great, sent goose and apples to the first Academy dinner in 1701.

In 1918, he returned to his native Georgia, which declared independence on May 26, 1918, and worked with the Allied High Commissioner, Colonel William N. Haskell in Tiflis until being forced into exile by the Red Army invasion of Georgia.

In 1921, he escaped from the Bolsheviks to Constantinople, he was penniless, but had a good understanding of the English language where he was able to get work for American Relief Administration from 1923-1941, as well as a $13-a- week book-wrapper at Macmillan.

By 1926,  he got a job as a buyer in the fine jewelry department of Saks Fifth Avenue and B. H. Macy and Co.

In 1934, he worked for Prince Matchabelli Perfumes as a sales promotion and advertising manager. Matchabelli died the following year while Tarsaidze was organizing a London office for Serge Obolensky.  In 1937, he severed his connections with Prince Matchabelli Products Corporation, New York, as treasurer, a director of the American and French companies, director of sales, advertising, promotion and publicity.

He created Parfums Chevalier Garde in 1937 along with Serge Obolensky. Chevalier Garde was intended to be a company that produced a small, but complete line of French perfumes, cosmetics and other toiletries. He was president of Parfums Chevalier Garde until 1940, when the war cut them off from French imports.

He presented his perfumes in a bottle topped with the eagle which characterizes the perfumes of Parfums Chevalier Garde, as well as a smaller, purse size flacon dubbed the "Eaglet". Other bottles were also designed by Basil Sabaneeff and Vladimir Bobri.







In 1938, Chevalier Garde lent their signature perfume scent exclusively to a company called Imra for use in their depilatory.

The company was renamed Artra Cosmetics Co. in 1940.

Printers' Ink, Volume 194, 1941:
"The company marketing Imra was first known as Parfums Chevalier Garde, Inc., and was an established firm in the cosmetic field. Last summer the name was changed to Artra Cosmetics, Inc., so that it would better agree with the feature line of.."

After his business closed, he worked for other retailers in cosmetic and jewelry businesses. Tarsaidze actively assisted two of the annual White Russian social events, the Allaverdy Ball and the Russian Naval Ball. He was a member of the Association of Former Russian Imperial Naval Officers, a member of the Georgian Society in the U.S.A.  The Director of the Caucasian Society "Allaverdy".

From 1941-1944 he worked for U.S. Army intelligence. During 1945-1958 he was the Director of Public Relations for Serge Obolensky Associates.

He married Madeleine Black, the daughter of the late A. Van Lear Black, publisher of The Baltimore Sun., on May 18, 1940, but the two divorced in 1945.

 In 1947, he married the German-born Elisabeth Wladimirovna Sverbeev.



In the 1950s, fearing that much material in the Soviet Union on the Imperial family had been destroyed or lost, Tarsaidze scoured the world to find all the film clippings he could of the Imperial family. Then in 1956 he put them together into a full-feature film (approx. 50 minutes long) called "Emperor Nicholas II; Last Czar of Russia". His monarchist colleagues were still showing it to groups in the 1980s.

He wrote many important books on Russia's Imperial history. He still remembered the excitement the day Stalin robbed a bank in Tiflis.

In 1958, Tarsaidze published a fascinating study of the friendly relations which existed between the Russian Empire and the USA before the Revolution. It's called: "Czars and Presidents, The Story of a Forgotten Friendship".

From 1959-1978 he worked as a freelancer for public relations.

All three of his marriages ended in divorce.  When he passed away at his home, located at 520 East 76th Street,  New York, in 1978,  at the age of 77, he left no immediate survivors.


The Perfumes:


The perfumes of Chevalier Garde:
  • 1936 Roi de Rome (a luxuriant, heavy, voluptuous, floral scent)
  • 1936 Fleur de Perse (barbaric, quite Oriental)
  • 1936 HRH (light, fresh, delicate, sweet and floral)


A 1937 advertisement reads:
" Introducing CHEVALIER GARDE PERFUMES... HRH, delicately glamorous; Fleur de Perse, quite Oriental, and Roi de Rome,  a languorous scent, each $12.00."

Harper's Bazaar, 1937:
" Chevalier Garde's "Roi de Rome" in the crested spherical bottle is a clinging fragrance, typically French, recalling the nineteenth-century flower gardens and tender memories of Napoleon's son."


A 1938 newspaper article in the Palm Beach Daily News reads:

"A new perfume, called Chevalier Garde, is being introduced by Saks Fifth Avenue Shop, the representative being Serge de Gorin, who is a visitor in Palm Beach. 
An old Roman custom was that of attaching dripping vials of scent to birds that were released to fly over the scene of a great festival, and when the Chevalier Garde scent was launched, following out of this pagan custom, a flock of white pigeons with tiny vials of this perfume tied to their legs were set free over New York. 
Its creator is Alexander Tarsaidze, formerly with the firm of Prince Matchabelli, while in his native Russia, this new perfumer was an officer in the Czar's Imperial Navy.  
His perfume is beautifully bottled, and Inspired by the helmet of the officer, with the Naval insignia, an Imperial eagle delicately etched in crystal."

Esquire, 1939:
"Chevalier Garde's complexly elegant H. R. H. created to match the May- fair sophistication of the Duchess of Kent, and Fleurs de Perse, barbaric, Oriental, exotic. ."

"PARFUMS CHEVALIER GARDE Parfums Chevalier Garde is introducing a bath oil called "Mare Nostrum." This bath oil is a new creation which is described as a combination of aroma of amaryllis, mimosa, and sweet herbs of the Dalmatian Coast. The bottle is.."



Some information culled from wikipedia, alexanderpalace.com, and vintage magazine and newspaper articles.



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