Maison Margiela’s first Manila store brings a whiff of fresh fragrance

Here’s everything to see, smell, and feel in this innovative scent-uary. 

One should never underestimate the power of scents. You’d know why each time you find yourself catching a whiff of a fragrance, then it reminds you of a loved one, friend, colleague, or even someone you just met in passing. Scents, in addition, can transport you back to specific moments in your life, from the mundane to the monumental.

This sensorial power is exactly what avant-garde fashion brand Maison Margiela infused into its unisex fragrance line called Replica. And now, the Parisian haute couture house is finally giving Filipino cognoscenti a share of its charmwork for their everyday lives.

Replica provokes an emotional response with scents like Lazy Sunday Morning in Florence, Springtime in a Park in Shanghai, and winter night By the Fireplace in Chamonix.

Maison Margiela Fragrances quietly opened its first standalone boutique in the country last January and held its grand opening on May 24. Located on the first floor of Greenbelt 5 Makati, the 36-sqm boutique offers an immersive experience that engages all the senses—something that has always been part of Marson Margiela’s ethos since it was birthed by Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela in 1988.

The philosophical term “deconstruction,” popularized by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1960s, was widely used to describe the luxury fashion house founder for his avant-garde pieces fabricated from day-to-day objects. These range from waistcoats made out of frayed playing cards to jackets created from assembled wigs, among many other showstopping garments.

Step inside the luxe house that avant-garde fashion designer Martin Margiela founded in 1988.
Photos by Justine Punzalan

In 2012, Maison Margiela birthed its first fragrance collection, Replica, which is inspired by the brand’s eponymous clothing and accessories collection. Twelve years later, the eau de toilette line landed in the Philippines and is the main attraction of Maison Margiela’s first store in the country.

Sophisticated and engaging scent-uary

From its upcycled masterpieces to its live shows held in streets and metro stations, Maison Margiela has since been proving that it’s a master of uniqueness. That’s why you probably wouldn’t be surprised that its Manila fragrance store is far from the ordinary.

The Post and other attendees of the store’s official launch were welcomed by an interactive digital screen wrapped around the entrance. It flashes vibrant images that change when a bottle is picked up from the Replica olfactory bar at the right side of the entrance. These images reflect the ambiance and emotions one usually experiences when using their chosen scent from the collection.

Choose your new signature scent at Replica’s testing bar.

Elegance is further defined in the boutique’s minimalist interiors comprising off-white walls and furnishings as well as beige concrete shelves that showcase the brand’s collection of fragrances, home scents, and bath and body products.

You can start your scent-sual journey by exploring the testing bar with all 16 Replica fragrances at the front and center of the boutique. But as with all things Maison Margiela, its Manila fragrance store also offers another interactive approach to selecting your signature scent.

The digital screen changes images when a bottle is picked up from the Replica olfactory bar.

On the left side of the boutique is the Replica discovery wall with framed images depicting the emotions and memories associated with each of its scents. You simply select an image or two that best resonate with you, and a fragrance advisor will help you choose the perfume that best suits your personality.

It’s a method that provides fragrance lovers with an actual experience of Replica’s concept of replicating “familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods.”

Springtime in Shanghai,
winter in Chamonix

If you prefer perfumes with floral aromas, you can opt for Springtime in a Park, which is inspired by the blossoms and fruity notes in Shanghai way back 2019. Meanwhile, those enchanted by the sweet smell of fruits can opt for Under the Lemon Trees with its scent of relaxing and bright lemons that will take you back to Palermo, Italy in 1987. Another scent worth exploring is On a Date, which blends the smell of grapes and roses that will transport you to Provence, France in the year 2014.

Fragrance lovers who fancy a summer state of mind all year round can try Sailing Day with its scent of an aquatic deep sea in the summer of 2001 in Paros, Greece. There’s also Beach Walk that recreates the warm breeze of summer or the feeling of having sun-kissed salty skin in Calvi, France back in 1972.

Replica’s discovery wall evokes emotions and memories associated with scents.
Choose your signature scent from Margiela’s collection of fragrances. Photo from Maison Margiela on Facebook

Topping the list of best-sellers is Lazy Sunday Morning featuring a floral fragrance that would remind you of the comfort of waking up in fresh bed linen one bright morning in Florence 2003. Another favorite of Maison Margiela lovers is the Jazz Club, which combines the scent of rum and premium cigars to create the feeling of being in a private club in Brooklyn, New York in 2013. Completing the list is By the Fireplace, which emulates the aroma of burning wood and chestnut on a winter day in Chamonix, France in 1971.

If you want the latest from Maison Margiela’s Replica collection, then take a whiff of From the Garden. This new perfume was crafted by master perfumer Olivier Cresp and his son Sebastien to share with its users their fond memories of smelling fresh plants in their garden. It’s one of their simple joys that they translated through the perfume’s juicy scent from combined tomato leaf accord and Green Mandarin notes. It is inspired by a sunny afternoon in a blooming garden in Puglia, Italy in 1988.

Replica bath and body line
Replica home scenting line.

To make your use of every Replica scent even more memorable, Maison Margiela Manila is offering ways to make their perfume uniquely yours. Every purchase of a 100ml Replica perfume comes with an option to have your name printed on the label of your perfume bottle. You’ll also get a complimentary photo print-out inserted into a specially designed fragrance cotton pouch.

Apart from Maison Margiela’s fragrance line, its Manila store offers the Replica bath and body line. It features a luxurious lineup of shower gels, perfume lotions, and scented hand creams in Lazy Sunday Morning, Sailing Day, and By The Fireplace scents.

The luxury fragrance line also has a Replica home scenting collection which consists of home sprays and candles. The latter is infused with up to 12 percent perfume concentrate, making your home smell like your favorite perfume.

The Maison Margiela Fragrance store at Greenbelt 5 is open from Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm; and until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.

The new lifestyle.