Margiela's New Replica Fragrances Are Literally Bottled Fever Dreams and Fantasies

These fragrances call to mind dreams and fantasies, even if we’ve never shared them with each other.
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Publish date:
December 9, 2016
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perfume, fragrance, Maison Martin Margiela, Replica

Do you smell in your dreams? Is that even possible? From what I’ve read, the jury is still out on that last one. People say that if you have an intimate relationship with your olfactory senses, then you can perceive scents in your dreams. Others say that anything you smell in your dreams is influenced by your surroundings when you’re asleep, kind of like when you start to hear a fire alarm in your dreams, but it turns out that it’s your alarm clock buzzing you awake (rude.) If you smell coffee in your dreams, chances are, coffee is brewing somewhere in your apartment. If the smell of your lover’s fragrance is playing a major role in your dreams, chances are, they’re sleeping right next to you.

Others say that scents in your dreams are indicative of how you’re feeling at the time. If the setting of your dream is foul smelling, you’re probably angry or anxious about something. On the other hand, if your dreams smell pleasant, whatever a pleasant scent means to you (to me, it’s clove, coffee, and Hidden Fantasy by Britney Spears) then you’re probably in a good spot. You’re happy.

Margiela’s Replica collection has four new fragrances out this season, only this time, they're putting a twist on the Replica idea.

People get hyped on Replica, and for good reason. Their concept of using a few notes to create a scent that conjures a sense of nostalgia for a certain time or place, and expecting enough of us to respond to it and be moved to purchase it, is a bold endeavor. More often than not, they get it right. They hand us a fragrance built out of only a handful of notes and trust our imagination and experience to fill in the blanks. Replica has tapped into something and created a collection that calls to mind at least one time or place that we’ve all loved. Or maybe they’re just good scents — I don’t know, dude.

But now they’re doing something more.

They’ve created the four new eau de parfums that side-step human experience and toy with our subconscious. To me, the thing that makes Replica scents so great is that they combine just a few notes to nail a literal scent of a time and place: a fire side, a fun fair, a lazy Sunday morning. The fantasy scents take what is Replica’s biggest strength and throw it out with the bathwater.

These new scents have a more ambiguous approach to building four fragrances that we all respond to. These fragrances call to mind dreams and fantasies, even if we’ve never shared them with each other. Like common or reoccurring dreams, it's the through line of the human subconscious that blooms in our sleep, interpreted in a fragrance that we can wear throughout the day — a waking dream.

Flying

I don’t have dreams of flying; I have dreams of falling. What would that smell like? Gun powder? Hot pavement? Iron? But of course this collection wouldn’t be complete without a scent inspired by our desire to fly.

This was the one I was most excited to try out and oddly, the one I responded to the least. It’s good, just not the kind of scent I reach for.

It’s very fresh, a blast of clean. Flying is heavy on the citrus, but more oil and rind, instead of juice and meat. I wouldn’t call it fruity, not right off the bat at least.

Neroli, orange absolute, and bergamot take center stage throughout, but musk and moss cloud the citrus with nearly just as much weight, giving it a foggy freshness. Clean, almost to the point of being sterile, but still approachable. Flying is musky but not heavy, humid, but more than anything, it’s crisp. It’s like flying through a raincloud, emerging into a blue sky, taking a breath of cool air deep into your lungs.

If you’re at all familiar with Replica, Flying would make a nice companion to Beach Walk. All of the earthy notes, the pink pepper, cedar, and heliotrope are absent, but they are both fresh, clean scents perfect for starched shirts and white tablecloths.

Across Sands

Across Sands is an equal balance of oud and spice. Cinnamon and dates pair with the wood to both enhance and mystify it, pushing and pulling it in ways that make Across Sands its own animal.

It’s velvety throughout wear, with just a touch of incense and patchouli adding an earthy, spicy depth. It smells almost sacred. The date note gives a subtle bit of sweetness that takes the edge off what could be a very abrasive scent, adding longevity and almost reading as a praline note after hours of wear.

The wood and spice end up playing well together, giving Across Sands a synergistic energy that melts into your skin and smells better at the end of the night than it did when you first sprayed it on. It’s perfectly balanced, a great all day scent for the cold weather but not too heavy to wear in the warmer months.

Soul of the Forest

Instead of approaching Soul of the Forest as simply a woody scent, Margiela looked at the forest as a whole and created a scent that embodies the forest as its own ecosystem instead of layering a bunch of woody notes and calling it good.

Soul of the Forest is very lively and green, like a forest after a rain, water droplets still clinging to the tips of leaves. The balsam and cedar are exactly where you’d expect them to be. The addition of sap and moss begin to bring the forest to life, running your fingers down the bark, the stickiness of the sap between your fingers, your foot landing on the soft bed of moss below you, creeping over the roots and up the trunk.

There’s a brightness at the top, added not by citrus, but by pimento, equal parts bright and tangy. Incense works its way out throughout wear, complimenting each note individually and tying everything together.

Dancing on the Moon

At first glance, this scent would repel me. It’s shot through with aldehydes, giving it a breezy, airy feel that pairs well with florals, like jasmine, which this scent is also heavy on. Amber and musk balance the light, effervescent top, preventing it from floating away and fading completely off of your skin.

It’s hard to strike a favorite from the four since they’re all so unique and different, putting a spin on fragrance themes we’ve grown accustomed to, HOWEVER, there’s something about Dancing on the Moon that keeps me coming back.

Maybe it’s the name or the idea, one of the many things about a fragrance besides the scent itself that can make you fall in love with it. Perhaps it’s that Dancing on the Moon is the most fanciful name of the bunch, the one that’s the most dreamlike, but there’s something about the fragrance that really brings the idea to life.

It’s airy, more so than an ozone note and not as heavy. The florals don’t read powdery— instead, sweet, like they’ve just been picked after baking in the late afternoon sun — almost syrupy. The amber imparts just a bit of caramelized sweetness while the musk throws a blanket over it all and gives it all something to cling to.

Dancing on the Moon feels like floating, being suspended in air, surrounded by the pitch black night sky. The fragrance is floral and musky, but deceptive, it doesn't really smell like flowers or musk. It's sweet, but you don't even realize it. It's optimistic.

I'm a big fan of the original Replicas because of how they capture a snapshot through a fragrance. The Four Fantasies give a scent to our unconscious by taking scents we'd think predictable and making them both fanciful but familiar. It's a pretty abstract concept but they execute it perfectly, making the collection part fragrance, part fever dream.

  • Have you tried these scents?
  • What dream/fantasy would you want to base a fragrance around?