Untitled, the debut fragrance from the Diesel-owned fashion house Maison Martin Margiela, launched last year. It took its own sweet time getting to the US, and when it finally got here, it was (and so far as I know, still is) exclusive to Saks, which means it has taken me very nearly forever to try it. And now that I have, well, it's quite nice but I am not weeping inconsolably over the lost time. (There, now you needn't read the rest of the review).
The original newsletter from Colette announcing the fragrance noted that it "includes of course the codes of the brand, while cultivating its personality". I know little enough about the codes of the Maison Martin Margiela brand, other than the obvious: they're too hip to pander to the sort of consumers who want things like, say, names on their fragrances; they're fashionably arty; and they do a darned nice minimalist bottle. Vogue helpfully informs me that the "biggest insult to a Maison Martin Margiela runway collection is that it’s wearable."
The perfume, sorry to say, or perhaps, not sorry to say, isn't really much of a fit with all that. It's utterly wearable and there's nothing arty or esoteric about it. Then again, it isn't a blatantly commercial scent from an obscure niche fashion line, à la Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb. It's somewhere in between, and any perfumistas who are still wondering what it might smell like would do as well to forget all about Maison Martin Margiela and just concentrate on the fact that Untitled was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier, and it would not be at all out of place in the Prada Infusion line — Infusion de Galbanum, perhaps.
As with the Infusion line, the notes (galbanum, boxwood, mastic, incense, bitter orange, jasmine, cedar and musk) imply a much stronger fragrance than you'll find upon spraying; this is another "veil of scent" / watercolor sort of thing, done here in pale greens, slightly bitter and stemmy in the opening stages, with something in the mix that smells briefly of cocoa powder. Then it's a light green floral musk, rather indistinct and very clean, and ever-so-slightly nutty. There is some incense, but the whole thing is pretty quiet and close to the skin by the time it appears — I only notice it if I'm paying attention (or if I apply heavily).
As I said above, it's quite nice. I am not sure who it is being marketed to, but it wears like a unisex, and I should think it would work in any weather. I enjoyed wearing it, but I did not wander around with my arm glued to my nose, and I did not find myself thinking about it when I wasn't wearing it. Translation: I'd wear it happily if I had it, and I might even buy it at hefty discount,1 but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I'm puzzled by the upcoming Untitled L'Eau — surely this wasn't too heavy for anybody? But I was told in Neiman Marcus that the Eau de Toilette version of Prada's Infusion d'Iris, which I would not have thought necessary, was selling just fine, and perhaps the Untitled L'Eau will find new admirers as well.
Maison Martin Margiela Untitled is available in 30 (?), 50 ($100) and 75 ($140) ml Eau de Parfum. The lasting power is excellent, although as mentioned above, the sillage is fairly minimal after the top notes wear off.
1. I have always thought that the perfect rating system would indicate how low the price would have to drop before I would find the product irresistible if I happened upon it on a shelf at TJ Maxx. There are many fragrances (like this one) that are not on my "to buy" list, but that I'd have trouble resisting at, say, $15.99. But there are many more that I can resist even at that price, which is why I almost never buy perfume at TJ Maxx.