Every Maison Martin Margiela piece has a cream calico label with a series of numbers on it. Indecipherable to anyone without a key, each number represents the specific line to which the piece belongs. This line could be womenswear, menswear, shoes, eyewear, accessories, fine jewellery…and so on.
In this case, Maison Martin Margiela’s debut fragrance is part of a new line – Line 3. So now you know. Of course, now that Diesel own MMM, it was only a matter of time before a scent became part of the house’s offering – it’s far too valuable a product line to keep on eschewing.
Billed as a unisex fragrance, it is described as a woody green floral, with a top note of galbanum. It’s a note that the perfumer Daniela Andrier (Givaudan) uses in several of her scents (notably Infusion d’Iris for Prada). Very complex, somewhat musky but green and balsam-like too, it’s a note with history. It was mentioned in the Book of Exodus that it was used in the making of a perfume for the Tabernacle and, perfect for the new millenium, Rashi commented that bitter galabanum was included in the incense as a reminder of deliberate and unrepentant sinners.
So musky, green galbanum is joined by bitter box green, with middle notes of green-smelling lentiscus, incense & bitter orange. The base notes are sweet jasmine and musky cedar. Maison Martin Margiela describe it as a huge armful of plants harvested just after the rain. I found it almost impossible to describe: it’s fresh, extremely complex, almost like drying laundry on a windy day but with a warm human dry down. It seems to polarise people: they either grab me to ask where it’s from or wrinkle their noses in disgust.
The bottle has been designed by Fabien Baron to look as though it has been partly immersed in a pot of white paint – a recurrent conceptual Margiela reference – with an Olivetti typeface.
Maison Martin Margiela Untitled will be available from 25th March exclusively in Selfridges in the UK.