Miu Miu is a brand in love with contradictory women: intelligently frivolous, fearlessly fun, seriously lighthearted, feminine feminists. Miuccia Prada understands implicitly that fashion is not superficial: it mediates our relationship to the world around us. The power to construct identity – to acknowledge, twist, and break rules – is the prerogative of the Miu Miu woman. It’s her declaration of independence. She sets her own agenda, she will not submit. Her style is the embodiment of these qualities, at once delicate and forceful, refined and raw, demure and outrageous.
A fragrance can’t say everything we’re thinking but it triggers immediate reactions and evokes deep emotions and memories. We literally sense it. But with Miu Miu nothing is ever exactly what it seems because the codes of real and artificial, fantasy and reality, classic and modern, are always twisted and reworked. There is a coy, mischievous quality to everything in the brand; it flirts with, and upsets, expectations. So the first fragrance for Miu Miu is something of a chimera: you can’t quite categorize it because it refuses to be categorized. The scent is elusive – the Miu Miu character naturally rejects the expected, the proper, the reserved, or the clichéd – because the qualities it evokes are elusive: youth, femininity, freedom, and confidence that comes from knowing exactly what you want.
Miuccia Prada is a master of the counterintuitive. She mixes the common and the ultra refined to create something surprising and knowing yet never contrived. Drawing on Prada’s inspiration, perfumer Daniela Andrier creates a study in contrast. She starts with an elegant, sensual floral, lily of the valley, composed of real jasmine, real rose absolute, and synthetic green notes.The soft, fresh, ingénue scent is set against a deep earth-toned background: the wood and pepper of Akigalawood®, an extract of patchouli. The Akigalawood® adds a brooding mystery to the subtle sparkle of the floral. The surprising combination feels natural and timeless – flower and earth – but the effect created by the multi-faceted process is utterly contemporary, an alchemic slight of hand. The final effect is both scintillating and a little defiant: very Miu Miu.
Like the fragrance itself, the Miu Miu bottle is a contradiction in terms. The sensual, soft blue-pillowed opaque glass – reminiscent of Miu Miu’s signature matelassé – with white matte collar is simultaneously traditional and pop. The translucent red disk gives a playful, graphic, outré quality; the warm tone complementing the cool of the bottle. The overall effect is youthful and feminine but also that of a slightly exaggerated elegance: a vaguely-remembered dream re-rendered in vivid Technicolor.
Stacy Martin is a singular talent with a playful intelligence and artistic rigor that is the essence of Miu Miu. Shot by renowned photographer Steven Meisel, the advertising campaign for the first fragrance captures Stacy’s unique nature: at once soft, ultra-feminine and a little edgy. Her exaggerated eyes, sweptback hair and sky-blue patterned Miu Miu party dress – that perfectly complements the colored glass of the bottle – all recall the optimism of early ‘60s cinema and the lighthearted, playful spirit of the brand. That lightness of spirit takes an unexpected plot twist in the final shot: Stacy comes nose-to-nose with a black-and-white kitten. In typical Miu Miu fashion, the encounter has an uncommon twist: Stacy and her kitten are engaged in a battle of wills, the perfume bottle the contested prize.