On the Contrary
A moment with Stacy Martin, the face of Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue.
As soon as the camera starts flashing, the French-English actress Stacy Martin contorts herself into a series of uncomfortable-looking poses in front of a billowing parachute. Martin, the face of Miu Miu fragrance, is trying to help the photographer get the perfect shot. “You never know what you’ll do when you have a huge parachute blowing behind you,” she says, laughing about “getting into character” on this shoot introducing Miu Miu’s happy new scent, L’Eau Bleue. “You have to make shapes that will tell a story, which is completely different from the way we communicate in film.”
Martin is no stranger to storytelling. Following her 2013 breakout role in Lars von Trier’s controversial Nymphomaniac, she became the face of Miu Miu’s first-ever scent. In September 2015, the debut Miu Miu Eau de Parfum campaign featured Martin as a retro, cat-like beauty alongside the bottled lily-of-the-valley-and-Akigalawood blend. For L’Eau Bleue, a fresher, greener iteration of the original (think earthy notes blended with honeysuckle and fresh flowers) out this month, Martin’s reprise has her acting out a lighter, dewier tribute to mornings during springtime. “L’Eau Bleue feels a little more peppy,” she says. “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 exterior of the new bottle is a near replica of its predecessor’s, but this time the pillowed-glass body—a nod to the house’s signature matelassé handbags—is translucent blue. (As with the original, the vintage-inspired cap, topped with a pastel-yellow disk, is a modernized take on the stoppers women once used to apply perfume to their necks.) Both fragrances are meant to represent the many facets 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 bejeweled heels 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,” Martin says.
These genre-defying codes are what have always defined the world of Miu Miu, the fashion line Miuccia Prada launched in 1993 as a younger, more playful companion to her namesake brand. And most, if not all, of them apply to Martin herself. In person, she’s reserved but talkative, awkward but poised, modest but self-assured. You instantly get the sense that there is a lot more she wants to talk about than her beauty secrets.
“I find it infuriating when someone criticizes me for working in the fashion space. Why is that a problem? Why can’t we like fashion and also have an important career?” Martin wonders. “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.”
After some time off to find the right scripts, Martin will be bringing her own delightful blend of contradictions back to the big screen very soon. In Redoubtable, Michel Hazanavicius’s upcoming comedic biopic about Jean-Luc Godard, she plays the actress and writer Anne Wiazemsky, who married the 36-year-old New Wave filmmaker when she was only 20. Martin has the lead role alongside Nat Wolff in Jess Manafort’s indie thriller Rosy, and has been cast in Kirsten Dunst’s feature-film directorial debut, The Bell Jar, with Dakota Fanning, which starts shooting this year.
“You have to find your own way of working in this industry, and for me, Miu Miu has been a big part of that,” Martin explains. “It has to feel like me.” She doesn’t want to let her guard down long enough to show us exactly who that is, but it’s appropriate for a Miu Miu woman to leave an air of mystery.