Step into spring with actress Stacy Martin, who reprises her role as the face of Miu Miu’s fresh new fragrance.
As soon as the camera starts flashing, French-English actress Stacy Martin contorts herself into a series of uncomfortable-looking poses in front of a billowing parachute. She’s visibly trying to assist the photographer in getting the perfect shot. “You never know what you’ll do when you have a huge parachute blowing behind you,” she laughs about “getting into character” for today’s shoot for Miu Miu’s happy new fragrance, L’Eau Bleue. “You have to make shapes that will tell a story, which is completely different from the way we communicate through acting.”
For Martin, channelling that Miu Miu character is something that she’s no stranger to. Following her breakout role in Lars von Trier’s racy Nymphomaniac, she became the familiar, and only, face behind the brand’s relatively new fragrance category. In September 2015, the first-ever Miu Miu Eau de Parfum ad saw Martin as a retro, cat-like beauty alongside the bottled lily of the valley and Akigalawood blend. For L’Eau Bleue, which came out in February 2017, Martin’s reprise has her sprawled out with a bouquet of that same flower, acting out a lighter, dewier tribute to mornings during springtime.
“L’Eau Bleue feels a little more peppy!” she says, paying no mind to the miserably cold weather outside of the studio. “It’s like, when the season changes, so do all of the smells around you. There’s something that surrounds you. Like wearing a fragrance, it can change you.” The bottle’s exterior is a near replica of its predecessor’s, but this time the matelassé body—a nod to the house’s signature quilted handbags—is translucent with a vintage-inspired, pastel yellow disc of a cap, like the ones women used to apply perfume to their necks.
Both fragrances are meant to represent the many contradictions of the Miu Miu woman. She’s fun, but serious. She’s cultured, but not pretentious. She’s timeless—maybe even ageless. She’ll be able to pull off a pair of jewelled shoes when she’s 80. And above all, she’s nonconformist, but not eccentric. “It’s the idea that you can be very girly and strong at the same time, and there’s a freedom within the woman that it represents,” Martin says.
These genre-defying codes are what have always defined the world of Miuccia Prada. And most, if not all, of them apply to Martin herself. In person, she’s reserved, but talkative; modest, but self-assured; slightly awkward, but poised. And you get the sense that there’s a lot more to her than the beauty secrets that fashion media has been so eager to get her to talk about because, let’s face it, there’s no secret to good genetics. “I find it infuriating when someone criticises me for working in the fashion space. Why is that a problem? Why can’t we like fashion and also have an important career? You can have style and that shouldn’t negate that you believe in women’s equality. You can be feminine and fashionable by being yourself, instead of what women and girls are expected to be. Miu Miu represents that energy.”
That sentiment wasn’t lost on L’Eau Bleue’s creators. Upon first glance, you might assume the blue bottle is a cologne that has been accidentally placed on the perfume shelf. The fragrance market has long relied on such predictable conventions, like blue being for boys. It’s a good reminder that any colour can be unisex and that there’s no reason why a deeply feminine burst of lily of the valley can’t come out of a blue bottle.
The more obvious example of how the brand is putting this philosophy into action is through its shortfilm series that’s been ongoing since 2012 called “Women’s Tales,” which is feminist to the core, employing only female directors who take a critical approach to the feminine perspective. According to Martin, that idealism is being filtered across the board. “It’s so rare the way this brand supports women in cinema. They’ve formed a community. So when you go to a runway show, you don’t just go to sit and talk. It’s an inclusive experience. You meet everyone and they’re all a piece of a puzzle. There’s something really exciting about meeting fellow actresses who might be in the same position as you, or who might have more experience or less experience, and to just share that.”
After a patient wait for the right scripts to come along, Martin will be starring in some tales of her own in 2017. In Michel Hazanavicius’ upcoming comedic biopic about Jean-Luc Goddard, Martin plays actress Anne Wiazemsky, in a dramatised version of her controversial marriage to Goddard when she was only 17. Martin also scored the lead role alongside Nat Wolff in Jessica Manafort’s indie thriller, Rosy.
“Five years ago I was taking acting classes, happy to just be reading lines from a play,” Martin recalls. “I’ve learned that what you say no to is sometimes more important than what you say yes to. If I’m going to dedicate my time to something every day it needs to make me happy in order for me to do my best.” This speaks volumes about her willingness to co-star in numerous photoshoots alongside a bottle of perfume, which she seems to not only enjoy, but really have a knack for. Anyone can hold a bottle of perfume or a handbag and strike a pose, but when Martin’s in the mix, the imagery tells a real story.
“You have to find your own way of working in this industry and, for me, Miu Miu has been a big part of that. At the end of the day, it has to feel like me.” She doesn’t want to let her guard down for long enough to show us exactly who that is, but it’s appropriate for a Miu Miu woman to leave an air of mystery.
Diamond necklace, Tiffany & Co. OPPOSITE: Earrings, Bulgari