Capturing the ’60s, and Remembering Maxx

Cicely Prevost inside the House of Maxx in Beacon Photo by Julien Prevost

Cicely Prevost inside the House of Maxx in Beacon (Photo by Julien Prevost)

Beacon shop owner opens swingin’ boutique

Near the entrance of the House of Maxx, a new boutique in Beacon, a sign reads: “Warning. Hippies have been spotted in this area. Peace, love and understanding could break out at any moment.”

The retail space, at 206 Main St., is an expansion of Ella and the Earth, which Cicely Prevost opened in 2021 across the street to sell body-care products. The lettering still adorns the former location’s windows.

When her daughter, Ella, experienced allergic reactions to commercial skin-care products, Prevost developed her own soap and body butter. Then, she expanded to oils and body sprays.

In her new spot, which is a shrine to the swingin’ ’60s, Prevost has added clothing (e.g., tie-dye shirts, bell-bottom jeans, feather earrings and a denim messenger bag emblazoned with a peace sign); scented candles; balms (including a facial toner inspired by a recipe created for the Queen of Hungary in the 1300s); and crystals, tarot cards, dream catchers and sage to burn in abalone ashtrays.

T-shirts along a back wall sport unabashed political slogans, including “Pro Roe” and “Girls just wanna have fundamental human rights.”

“The hippies made weird stuff cool,” Prevost explains. “They were into learning and experimentation. You’ve got to respect the pioneers.” She adds: “I wanted anything but an ordinary, overpriced, bougie [bourgeois] boutique in Beacon that is unattainable for locals.”

The store is named for her son Maxxwell Faircloth, who died two years ago at age 29. Its logo includes two phoenix images to honor him.

Prevost designed the place to stimulate several senses. A seasonal scent, distributed with a diffuser, interplays with the background music, the gold chandeliers and the colorful wares to create a safe and relaxing place, says Prevost, who worked as a nurse until a car crash ended her career.

Many of her goods are imported, including leg warmers from Nepal, alpaca shawls from Ecuador, saffian leather handbags from Morocco and hand-painted Day of the Dead mugs from Guatemala. Other items come from Paris, India and Ireland. 

This spring, Prevost’s sister, Sabena Branche, plans to open the Butterhead Salad Company next door at 208 Main St.

“We took out the lease together,” says Branche. “It’s sisterly love.” A cousin, Julien Prevost, helps out on weekends, and Prevost’s husband and daughter also pitch in.

Prevost is upfront about the loss of her son. She keeps his photo in a frame behind the counter and posted a note near the memorial candles.

“The candle is made in loving memory of my son, Maxx,” it reads. “In an effort to channel the inconsolable grief of a mother who has lost a child, I have tapped into my own little creative outlet, which has served as a welcome distraction from unrelenting and soul-jerking heartache, emptiness and sadness.”

Working on the House of Maxx was therapeutic, says Prevost. “I had to find some outlet to occupy my headspace so I could get out of the place I was in. The creative process has been so helpful.”

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