Think crisp, green, alluring, complex, and unisex. That should give you a head-start in experiencing Untitled Eau de Parfum by Maison Martin Margiela ($100-$140). It was early evening when my bottle arrived via UPS (a gift from one of my favorite PR gurus). I immediately sprayed Untitled on my arm. The bottle arrived right before I left to pick up something at a friend's house and continue on to dinner with one of my guy buddies. I hadn't worn a fragrance that evening, so three of us were able to form a distinct first impression. What better test?
All three of us were enchanted. It's the kind of scent that makes you dive in for another whiff - over and over again. My friend Kathy and I thought it was a perfect fragrance for both women and men. My friend Paul said he's wear it. Untitled was an instant hit!
Who or what is Maison Martin Margiela? In 1998, Martin Margiela, a Belgian fashion designer, started his own women's wear label (his men's wear was introduced about 10 years later). He was heralded for the "intelligence" of his edgy, hip, contemporary designs, and Maison Martin Margiela became very successful - even without a runway walk by the reclusive Margiela. About two years ago, he actually left the house named after him, but his departure has not held back the house from continuing its innovation. The first Margiela fragrance, Untitled, was introduced by L’Oréal in 2010.
By naming the eau de parfum Untitled, Maison Martin Margiela certainly defied convention, letting the fragrance speak for itself. There are no hints about the fragrance from its name and few from the elegantly spare bottle, other than the light green liquid. The bottle, created by Fabien Baron and inspired by apothecary vials, has a white cotton drawstring pouch.
The signature house fragrance was created using exceptional ingredients that yield an unexpected contrast between powerful, dazzling green notes and a sensual dry-down bursting with frankincense (incense) and white musk. The scent is said to belong to the citrus family, but it's so much more complex than a fruit grove. The top notes are galbanum essential oil, boxwood (box tree green accord), and bitter-orange tree absolute. The middle notes are galbanum resoinoid, lentiscus resoinoid (mastic), bitter orange, and jasmine accord. The base notes are cedar wood, incense, and musk.
I'm not often attracted to fragrances with detectable incense. As I mentioned once, I'm reminded of gagging as priests waved burning incense my way during high mass. In Untitled, the incense adds depth and complexity, taking it out of the simple fruits category that some associate with scents dominated by grapefruit or mango, or the easy woody floral category.
The fragrance was created by Daniela Andrier (perfumer of successful Giorgio Armani, Gucci, and Prada fragrances, including Prada Candy) to "reinterpret the aromas of greenery after a rain" shower. She succeeded by including the earthy scent of moist loam with the dewy greenery of the garden's shrubbery.
The opening is crisp and sharp - exactly what you'd expect from a citrusy scent. Quickly, though, the edges are smoothed, leaving a dry-down that progresses from a woody floral to a soft musk. Although I know others disagree, my friends and I have found the sillage and staying power to be remarkable. Just one squirt on my arm was enough for my dinner companion to detect Untitled from across the table. It leaves a unique and sensuous trail. Good thing he liked it! On other occasions when I've worn Untitled, I've received many complimentary inquiries.
I'm smitten. Untitled is unlike any other scent I wear, and I'll be wearing it year-round. While some may think of Untitled as a summer fragrance, I never feel bound by seasons in selecting my fragrances. You can find Maison Martin Margiela's Untitled at Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States.
Now is a great time to check out Untitled. There's a new game on the Maison Martin Margiela Web site. Go to this link to register or sign in to take part in the competition and try your chances at winning exclusive Maison Martin Margiela gifts. Competition 1 runs through November 21, and competition 2 will take place from December 19 to January 2. I played, and I think I've got the hang of it now. Good luck!
Photos courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue, Wikipedia, Southern Living, and Maison Martin Margiela