Maison Margiela’s New Fragrance Is Starting a Revolution—Just Ask Its 6 Bold Celebrity Muses

“It is the heart of the tuberose, and it’s a very magical mix—after you’ve left the room, people know you’ve been in there,” says John Galliano, describing what is essentially indescribable—the lingering mystique of scent, a force that lies far outside the power of mere words.

Nevertheless, we persist! It’s a fair afternoon in Paris when I sit down with the designer, who is wearing the white lab coat that all Maison Margiela staffers sport, in his atelier to discuss his new perfume, Mutiny, launching September 26. This is Galliano’s first fragrance venture since he became creative director of the brand, and though he clearly hopes it will be embraced by Galliano-Margiela acolytes all over the world, he insists this is a deeply personal project. “Perfume doesn’t need an audience,” he proclaims, swearing that it is something he splashes on even when he is spending the day alone. “It can uplift you; it can change your emotions!”

But how do you construct an uplifting emotion changer that feels—and okay, smells!—just right in the crazy, shaky times we currently live in, when all of our timeworn assumptions about seduction, femininity, and gender roles are melting into air? How can a mere scent encapsulate the mutinous desires that even the shyest, most genteel among us are harboring these days?

Galliano explains that he built Mutiny—with help from legendary French perfumer Dominique Ropion—by layering the new scent in the same way he builds a fashion collection. He is renowned for his revolutionary techniques of bias cutting and deconstruction, and Mutiny echoes these obsessions, residing in an imaginary country where the memory of tuberose comingles with a leathery essence that accommodates safran, oud, and vanilla, along with notes of orange flower and citrus. Even the bottle has an insurgent energy—it can stand upright or lay on its side, and its top is meant to resemble an open cage “so you can fly out!” Galliano says, laughing.

Of course, to execute a successful mutiny, you need a team of fearless mutineers. The designer has assembled a tribe of muses to represent the new scent—a roster of women whom one might easily imagine seated front row at his Spring 2019 show in Paris tomorrow, and that includes Willow Smith, a 17-year-old actor who describes her generation as perhaps a little more defiant; Princess Nokia, a 25-year-old singer who believes rebellion comes from within; Molly Bair, a 21-year-old model dedicated to redefining beauty; Hanne Gaby Odiele, a 29-year-old model, born as intersex, who thinks that gender is something that’s made up to put people in a box; Sasha Lane, a 22-year-old actor proud of her tattoos and her dreads (for more on that, see the exclusive campaign outtake below); and Teddy Quinlivan, a 23-year-old transgender model who says that just being who you really are is an act of resistance.

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My head swimming with the clarion call of insurrection and—full disclosure—my wrist redolent of the haunting ghost of tuberose, I sit down next with two members of this fierce posse, Quinlivan and Odiele. What does Mutiny, and mutiny, mean to them?

“Only John’s genius could combine the codes of the house of Margiela with a fragrance!” Quinlivan declares. “By speaking up and living our truths we become mutinous. It’s a way of living; it’s a mentality; it’s an experience, seduction in the eye of the beholder . . . it’s not about objectifying ourselves.” Odiele explains thoughtfully that she never thought she could be in a beauty campaign, but now, she says, “We are telling our stories. The world is finally ready for new ideas. It’s amazing—being an outcast is sort of the norm right now.” Or as Quinlivan sums up: “Mutiny celebrates what it means to exist in 2018! The boundaries are breaking before all of our eyes.”

<cite class="credit">Photo: Courtesy of Maison Margiela Fragrances</cite>
Photo: Courtesy of Maison Margiela Fragrances

Mutiny by Maison Margiela will be available September 26 at

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