As the ideas of niche perfumery took hold in the first years of the 2000’s the designer houses were determined not to be left behind. What that meant were the imaginative creative directors of the designer houses took an active hand in the perfumes which bore the logo. In hindsight we look back and see that was a time where some of the best designer perfumes were produced.
I’ve never understood entirely why the brands seemed to step away from this after five or six years of making it an extension of the brand aesthetic. This turned into a concentration of safe trend following fragrance which felt engineered to elicit a response rather than inspired by emotion. In the last couple of years, the pendulum seems to be swinging back with the creative directors taking the reins of the fragrance side again. For Maison Margiela creative director John Galliano has stepped into the perfume game again with Mutiny.
To show how this becomes more intricately entwined with the brand aesthetic Mutiny was debuted along with the Spring/Summer 2019 clothing collection at Paris Fashion Week at the end of September. Mr. Galliano spoke in an interview with Vogue about how he designed Mutiny in the same way he designs his clothing collections with distinct layers. Working with perfumer Dominique Ropion the idea was to make a transparent version of tuberose and leather to form the core.
What seems to have occurred is M. Ropion put together a tuberose accord from a number of modern sources. What it allows for is the chance to pick out the parts of tuberose you want to enhance while removing those you don’t. What M. Ropion chooses is an indole-free and menthol-free tuberose accord. If you are not fond of those aspects but really enjoy the fruity floralcy along with the creamy oleaginous quality, then M. Ropion chose the right ones.
Mutiny opens with a very wispy version of tuberose supported by citrus and orange blossom. M. Ropion is teasing out the fruit chewing gum character of tuberose. As it deepens with more layers of tuberose added it skips the things are missing to get to the fatty creamy nature also characteristic of this white flower. Also coming together is a fine leather accord using saffron, oud, and vanilla. This is also stripped of the more animalic aspects of a leather accord in favor of something refined. No rough edges here. Once both accords are in place that is where Mutiny lingers.
Mutiny has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mutiny is done in the transparent style which seemingly is what younger perfume lovers desire. Under that qualification Mutiny is a complete success. I also like it more than others trying similar techniques because there is much more of a spine here instead of wisps of fragrance on the breeze. I also believe this isn’t a perfume that is trying to straddle the middle. They chose to go transparent and they succeeded. If you’re a fan of full spectrum white flower perfumes I suspect Mutiny is not for you. If you want a cleaner version of tuberose and leather Mutiny is a great version of that. As a beginning I see the hand of more creative direction from Mr. Galliano. I am hopeful for more because I think it is where something amazing might come.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Maison Margiela.