Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Martin Margiela “Replica” Fragrance Collection

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I was flipping through the latest issue of Lucky magazine and I stopped to snicker over this trend piece about perfumes that take their inspiration from—wait for it—flowers!! Whatever will they think of next?

Then I lingered longer on the page, because this new Maison Martin Margiela fragrance, Beach Walk, made me think. It’s a citrusy tropical floral designed to evoke “Sun kissed salty skin” in “Calvi, 1972.” (Calvi  is located on the island of Corsica. I had to look that up.)

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On the Martin Margiela website, the description for Beach Walk reads: “A stroll along the ocean. Feet sink into the sand. Waves brush the skin. The sun at its zenith radiates the beach. ‘Beach Walk’ evokes the memory of a summer day.”

This is one of six fragrances in the Martin Margiela Replica Fragrance Collection, “Reproduction of Familiar Scents and Moments of Varying Locations and Periods.” The other scents are Flower Market (Paris, 2011), Funfair Evening (Santa Monica, 1994), Lazy Sunday Morning (Florence, 2003), Promenade in the Gardens (Oxfordshire, 1986), and Jazz Club (Brooklyn, 2013). The Brooklyn one, in particular, made me laugh.

But, oh, wait. Brooklyn. Why does this whole concept seem strangely familiar?

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I’m reminded just a little too much (okay, a lot too much) of CB I Hate Perfume’s Secret History Series, a collection of scents that Christopher Brosius composed and dated after personal memories. The line began in 2005 and it’s comprised of six fragrances, including Memory of Kindness, Greenbriar 1968, Winter 1972, and—oh, yes—At the Beach 1966.

The “story” for At the Beach 1966 reads in part, “…you’ve been at the beach all day rubbing yourself with Coppertone suntan lotion – but Coppertone as it existed in the 60’s, not quite as it is now… You walk into the surf as the waves break on the shore and, bending down to touch the surf, you notice the smell of your warm skin and of the salt water that seems so cold by comparison.”

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(This is a shot of the older packaging for the CB Secret History fragrances.)

Many brands, from Bobbi Brown to Bond no. 9, have released beach-themed perfumes, but Maison Martin Margiela seems to be edging very close to copycat territory, both with the entire concept and with Beach Walk in particular. What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Martin Margiela “Replica” Fragrance Collection

  1. You’ve mentioned Flower Market (Paris, 2011) twice – is it because it’s the most irritating one? ;)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever came up with both the concept and names had never heard of CB I Hate Perfume: it’s an almost non-existing company with no significant impact even within perfumistas community.

    1. Oops — that was a typing error! Fixed it. :)

      I disagree about the prominence of CB I Hate Perfume, however — CB himself is well-known by other perfumers, and he has often been profiled as a “visionary” in the print media. The brand’s numbers might be small, by comparison to those of global fragrance industries, but its influence is big. The big companies often look to smaller ones for ideas, whether it’s perfume or fashion or home goods, etc.!

  2. I was just at Sephora and fell in Love with the Replica Beach Walk, but I already own Bobbie Brown Beach. I wonder if you did a side by side comparison of Replica, Bobbie Brown, CB I Hate, and Six Scents, just how different they could possibly be?

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