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Oct / Nov 2015
Scent of a Woman

WRITER: Pip Usher

Provocative film roles notwithstanding, actress Stacy Martin is the pretty face of Miu Miu’s highly anticipated debut perfume. Shot with a black and white cat named Truman, and of course, the powder-blue quilted bottle of Eau de Parfum with a ruby cap, the angelic-looking actress and model adds a bit of intrigue to this light-hearted scene.


It’s fitting that the campaign for Miu Miu’s first-ever fragrance, Miu Miu Eau de Parfum, is fronted by an acting sensation whose own introduction to fame occurred only last year. But that’s not all that Stacy Martin and the fashion house’s first perfume have in common. “There’s something very playful and, at the same time, very strong and assertive about the woman Miuccia Prada envisions when you see her creations,” says Martin, a French-English actress who became an overnight sensation thanks to her portrayal of a sex addict in Lars von Triers’ two-part film, Nymphomaniac.

“One of the things that I admire with Miu Miu is its duality in references and style. It mixes past iconography and modern tailoring, takes references and evolves them for women today.” Who better then to represent that decidedly contemporary breed of femininity than Martin, whose lovely visage masks the nerves of steel needed for such a controversial debut.

Even though Martin describes her own sense of style as “minimal and comfortable,” the low-key actress is mesmerising on-screen, with compelling, wide-set eyes, a whippet-like frame and – even as her character’s sexual addiction spirals – a peculiarly innocent gaze. And following her starring role, it was only a matter of time before fashion houses came knocking.

Martin, who was previously signed with Premier Model Management and used to model part-time to pay her way through drama school, draws comparisons to Jane Birkin, and with good reason. But beauty is only part of the equation; it’s her sense of the risqué that ensured she was a natural fit for Miu Miu, even before their perfume, as they cast her in their autumn/winter 2014-15 campaign. After all, the fashion house – Miuccia Prada’s luxury line for a younger clientele of exuberantly dressed fashionistas – has a history of choosing bold women to star in their shoots. Age-old hipster Chloë Sevigny was the face in 2012; a year later, Léa Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos, the French stars of contentious lesbian love story, Blue is the Warmest Colour, landed the gig. These may be exceedingly chic shoes to fill, but Martin is confident in the pluck of her ambitions. “I’d like to think that it mirrors my choices in my work, I want to do work that is strong and subversive,” she explained, “so I’m honoured that Miu Miu have supported me this much and made me part of their family.”

Miu Miu’s passion for promoting warrior women extends beyond its advertising campaigns. Women’s Tales, a series of short films by the label, have been showing at the Venice Film Festival for years now, to great acclaim. In 2014, artist Miranda July’s short took it one step further with an iPhone app, an apt extension of her film examining digital-era relationships. With such an emphasis on creativity in all its guises, it’s little wonder that the Miu Miu clan is a desirable one. In Martin’s eyes, she was “invited into a family that was passionate not only about fashion, but also film, art, music, culture, and so many other things.” They are, she adds, “a family who believes in art and the process of making art. It was a very natural decision for me to continue working alongside Miu Miu and especially for their first fragrance. I think it encapsulates what Miuccia Prada does with Miu Miu on a new level, scent.”

“Floral and earthy,” the new perfume sounds like just the type of understated scent that Martin would choose for herself. “Any woman who loves contradictions and fun would wear it, I think,” she says. Better yet, Martin promises it’s a scent that can be worn from day to night, with a complexity that evolves. “I like the idea of wearing the same perfume whatever the occasion. It’s something that becomes part of you.”



The symbiosis between Miu Miu and Martin (as their muse) looks set to continue. Martin joined Mia Goth, Maddison Brown and Hailey Gates in the atmospheric autumn/winter 2015-16 advertising campaign, with the girls’ pastel-coloured, print-heavy outfits bringing drama to the streets of New York. Martin steals the show here, too – her coltish angularity and penetrating gaze tailor-made for a brand that has always prided itself on producing items of odd, unconventional beauty intended for a woman that’s both sensual and rebellious in her manner.

As for Martin’s next film role? She’s open to anything. “I’ve just come back from Venice to present two films, The Childhood of a Leader by Brady Corbet and Taj Mahal by Nicolas Saada. Another film High-Rise by Ben Wheatley is coming out soon. I’m looking forward to people seeing my work and how diverse it’s been. I think that’s one of my aims. I don’t have a straight path [that] I want to go down in terms of career,” she said. “I’d like to keep doing roles that are challenging and that are part of a story I’m inspired by.”

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