We review Beach Walk, a salty, sulphuric, sun-kissed-skin Eau de Toilette (EDT) from Maison Margiela’s REPLICA collection.
Maison Margiela is a French fashion house founded in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela.
It didn’t take Margiela long to make a name for himself as one of the most private and enigmatic players on the 1980s Paris fashion scene. He refused to take bowls at his live shows, shunning the spotlight and demanding that all interviews be taken by the design team together.
The house of Margiela, designer of haute-couture and ready-to-wear garments, bags, shoes, jewelry, and fragrances, celebrates the aesthetics of the unorthodox and embraces a philosophy that fashion is an artistic expression rather than a personality cult.
Maison Margiela fragrances are like everything else: unobtrusively authentic and deceptively simple recreations of past memories, a representation of how someone saw things at a particular time. You wear them not because they came from a particular designer or were concocted by a named nose—but because you want to wear it.
Today, Maison Margiela is part of fashion conglomerate OTB Group, the parent company of brands Amiri, Brave Kid, Diesel, Marni, Jil Sander, and Viktor & Rolf.
REPLICA Beach Walk
|Fragrance||REPLICA Beach Walk|
|Concentration||Eau de Toilette (EDT)|
|Noses||Jacques Cavallier, Marie Salamagne|
|Description||A salty, sulphuric, sun-kissed-skin recreation of a Corsican beach in the year 1972.|
|Sizes||0.33 fl oz (10 ml), 1.01 fl oz (30 ml), 3.38 fl oz (100 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Fragrance, Water, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl P-Cresol, Amyl, Cinnamal, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Coumarin, Methyl Anthranilate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl, Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Isoeugenol, Citral, Hydroxycitronellal, Farnesol, Amyl Cinnamyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Anise Alcohol, CI 15510, CI 19140, CI 14700, B206223/1
Source: Maison Margiela, last retrieved December 27, 2021
With Beach Walk, a 2012 addition to the REPLICA collection, Paris-based designer house Maison Margiela has concocted a beachy summer fragrance that lives up to its name.
Beach Walk is a recreation of Calvi, a picturesque French town on the northwest coast of Corsica with a population of 5,666 (2018 census), in the year 1972. The citadel that rises above the townhouses’ sloped red-tiled roofs. The white yachts moored in the marina. The beach—oh, the beach!—that stretches all the way around the bay.
Some fragrances paint a picture. This one defies the laws of physics and transports you to an alternate universe where, in the afternoon shade on a sultry summer’s day, you are walking barefoot by the Corsican sea.
The top notes are bergamot, pink pepper, and lemon. The heart notes are transluzone, ylang-ylang, and coconut milk. The base notes are musk, cedar, and benzoin.
Close your eyes and, from the very first whiff, you are taken to a sandy beach on the Mediterranean coast in golden hour. The hot sun caresses your naked body as the warm wind invitingly brings you the salty smell of the sea.
It’s so real, you hear seagulls.
The opening is one of citrus fruit. A sip of salty Margarita with a big squeeze of bergamot juice at the beach bar.
Halfway through, and the Neptunian note of transluzone blends with ylang-ylang’s floral sweetness. (Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree from Asia-Pacific with a scent as exotic as its yellow, star-shaped flowers.)
The scent dries down with the musky note of tanned skin lathered lavishly with milky, creamy sunscreen. And the smell of wet wood, like that of a wooden jetty in the sea, reminding you of its age and dampness.
It’s salty and frisky. It’s beachy and exuberant. It’s floral and bright.
For the wearer who likes to remember the glamour of the sea, Beach Walk is sensual. But not in a clichéd, Julio-Iglesias-love-song way. More in a fun-loving, volleyball-on-beach way and in a cheeky kisses-by-the-sea way.
Co-created by French noses Jacques Cavallier and Marie Salamagne, Beach Walk is a perfectly replicated moment in time that’s bottled in an old-fashioned, apothecary-style glass jar with a chic atomizer and cotton label with typewriter-like print.
One thing’s for sure: this is not an Eau de Toilette (EDT) for every wearer.
Love it or hate it, but you will have no way of remaining neutral once you get a whiff of this fragrance for the first time. It’s salty and sulphuric, to the extent that some will be enamored by it—and others will find it too much.
And this, after days of wear, leads me to the biggest contraction of Maison Margiela’s REPLICA Beach Walk: Even if you like the smell of the sea, do you really want to smell like the sea?
Some do. Chances are they will like the scent so much, that they will get addicted to it.
That contraction is what makes Beach Walk such a hit or miss—and a scent that is in no way suitable for buying blind. Get a tester, a decant, the travel spray, even. By all means, don’t buy a whole bottle of it without having tried it on your skin.
For Beach Walk to be a love at first whiff, you must crave the salty and noticeably sulfurous smell of the sea; there’s just no way around it. It’s the epitome of the beach and the sea in summer, and it should come as no surprise that it is best worn all day long in the humid days of June, July, and August.
Of course, you could pull off wearing it in cold weather. Especially if you want to travel back in time to last year’s vacation in Corsica.
Beach Walk is a genderless of a fragrance as genderless fragrances get. There is nothing overly masculine nor feminine in its scent. It’s just a recreation of a beach and, at the beach, all gorgeous and tanned bodies smell of the sea.
Like most of the fragrances in Maison Margiela’s REPLICA collection, Beach Walk stands out for its authenticity, but not necessarily for its longevity. Even when I applied the scent to my just-bathed skin in the morning, the scent did not last more than 4-5 hours on me.
Then again, for an Eau de Toilette (EDT), a lesser concentration of perfume essence (fragrance) compared to Eau de Parfum (EDP) or Parfum, a longevity of several hours doesn’t seem all that bad. Temper your expectations, and take the fragrance with you for the occasional re-spray, and you will not be disappointed.
You asked, we answered: Why some perfumes last longer than others
Beach Walk by Maison Margiela is an Eau de Toilette (EDT) with an average sillage and projection. The sillage is strong for almost as long as the fragrance lasts. However, after a few hours at the latest, it needs to be reapplied to recover the scent trail.
All in all, I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t impressed either. The thing about REPLICA perfumes is that you don’t wear them for longevity or sillage, but for the experience you want to gift to yourself. You take a set of recreated, stitched-up memories by the Maison, and then you make them fully yours.
Maison Margiela’s REPLICA Beach Walk comes in three sizes: a compact 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray, as well as a standard-sized 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) and a 3.38 fl oz (100 ml) glass bottle.
The travel spray is equipped with a cap, whereas the standard-sized bottles are only equipped with a protector. If you want to carry them in your purse, do not throw that protector away at the time of unpacking.
Frequent travelers should consider going for the travel spray (or a decant). Those who want to add REPLICA Beach Walk to their fragrance collection can safely keep the standard-sized bottles in their dresser drawer where they belong.
If you buy this fragrance from Maison Margiela’s online store, you can personalize the text on the cotton label with your own wording for Provenance and Period as well as Style Description.
Read our guide: Which size perfume to buy?
REPLICA Beach Walk is a reasonably-priced designer-house Eau de Toilette (EDT) for the quality of the juice and bottle that you get.
On the day of publishing this review, the 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) REPLICA Beach Walk travel spray sold for $30, the 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) bottle for $30, and the 3.38 fl oz (100 ml) bottle for $150 on Maison Margiela’s online store.
Consider Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford (unisex), Bronze Goddess by Estée Lauder (for women), and Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani (for men).
If you want to feel like you’re by the sea—and smell exactly like it—Maison Margiela’s REPLICA Beach Walk is just the fragrance for you. If you don’t, it really isn’t.