The Timeless Beauty Brand Created by a Princess

Once upon a time there lived an Italian princess who dreamt of being more than just a beautiful face. When Marcella Fazi married Prince Paolo Borghese, Duke of Bomarzo, it was in 1942, an era when society insisted that the place for upper-class women — especially royalty — was in the palace, not in the workplace. (And what a palace it was: the family owned Villa Borghese and the landmark Borghese Park in Rome, skipping distance from the grand Spanish Steps.)

Villa Borghese      Courtesy of Roma Turistico

But enterprising Marcella had other ideas. While her prince became the President of General Motors in Italy, the princess dreamed of creating her own cosmetics, instead of commissioning them as did most aristocratic Italian families. Drawing inspiration from her family heritage and Tuscan spa retreats, Princess Marcella Borghese began what has become the preeminent Italian-inspired beauty brand.

Her empire started with two lipsticks — one for blondes, one for brunettes — which blossomed into a full line of lipsticks to match women’s hair and clothes. One of her first collections was a specialty lipstick line to match the bright colors of Italy’s preeminent luxury knitwear label, Pucci, helmed by Marcella’s friend Emilio Pucci, the Marquis of Barsento, also known as the fashion world’s “Prince of Prints.”

Courtesy of Borghese

A serendipitous 1956 meeting in New York City with Charles Revson, the Revlon founder, resulted in a business deal to help develop and co-create Marcella’s cosmetics and skin care line, dubbed Borghese Cosmetics. Marcella became one of the first to focus on ingredients based on natural spa therapies, in particular the healing mud and mineral waters of her beloved Terme di Montecatini spa in Tuscany. The Princess passed away at the age of 90 in 2002, but to this day, Borghese’s most famous skincare products remain their spa-inspired mud treatments in a jar.


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Vicki Arkoff

Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is Editor at Large for Pursuitist and a founding editor for Holiday Goddess, the online destination for chic women travelers from the editors of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Conde Nast Traveler, and BBC. Her travel and lifestyle reports can also be been seen in Atlas Obscura, The Awesomer, DaySpa, The Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, JustLuxe, Lonely Planet, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Toronto Star, WellSpa 360, WestJet Magazine, Where Traveler, Where Guestbook, Yahoo News, and dozens more. She’s co-author of the bestselling Holiday Goddess books (HarperCollins and iTunes) including ‘The Holiday Goddess Guide to Paris, London, New York, Rome,’ a travel Top 10 staple. As editor, Vicki’s other books include ‘Sinatra’ (DK), ‘Inside Mad’ (Time-Life) and ‘Virgin Los Angeles’ (Virgin Books). She is one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for MAD Magazine, an entertainment reporter (Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, CREEM), and authorized biographer for pop culture icons from the Beach Boys to Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney to MC Hammer.

Originally posted 2023-09-02 04:47:09.