Aaron Taylor-Johnson On Fronting A Fragrance Campaign With Substance
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a nice guy. He’s polite. You can tell by the way he answers the phone and asks, with total authenticity, how you’re doing. There’s no sense of urgency from his side. No inkling that he’d just like you to get on with the questions – a minor miracle, considering he’s spending his day fending off the press. (And no, none of this courteous behaviour has anything to do with his British accent, though that likely just broadens his appeal.)
Really, Taylor-Johnson is more than a nice guy. He’s a gentleman in the truest, most modern sense. So it’s only natural that the 28-year-old actor, who received broad critical acclaim for his role in the film Nocturnal Animals, would be an obvious choice to front a fragrance collection by a luxurious French brand.
Launched as an eau de toilette in 2017, Gentleman Givenchy is a modern reinterpretation of the classic 1974 fragrance by the same name, followed by an eau de parfum in 2018, and now, the cologne this year. All three scent variations have been fronted by the actor.
“I’m flattered and honoured to be part of Givenchy – and to be associated with the label of gentleman,” said Taylor-Johnson. “I think it’s a real mark of elegance. It’s just such an incredible fashion house and the most wonderful people and we’re becoming very close family. I like to be surrounded by people who are down to earth, modest, and humble. There’s no ego, there’s no arrogance. Artistic director Clare Waight Keller is such a beautiful, beautiful human being. Such a sweetheart.”
But in the short amount of time since Taylor-Johnson first became the face of the house’s fragrance line-up, the narrative around what constitutes masculinity has shifted significantly. So what makes a man? What’s a gentleman?
“It’s someone who is open-minded, compassionate and for gender equality. Someone who carries themselves with a sort of genuine kindness and respect for other human beings,” Taylor-Johnson elaborates.
“And actually, when I find myself to be my most empowered as a man or in my masculinity is when I’m supporting my wife in her ambitions, and being at home taking care of my kids and being paternal.”
For just as long as Taylor-Johnson has been at the front of the fragrance, his wife Sam Taylor-Johnson has been working behind the camera as the director of the same campaign, a collaborative effort that he values immensely.
“It speaks about tenderness and masculinity,” he adds. “My favourite shot is actually of my back. I think it’s interesting because it’s not the archetypal image you would see for a fragrance.
“I think the beauty of that is just in the simplicity and the nature of our human form. The sensuality of your back or your neck or your hands. It’s in your posture and just the nature of how you hold yourself. There’s just something so elegant about it.”
Of course, the symbolism of this particular artistic partnership between husband and wife isn’t lost on Taylor-Johnson.
“I love working with Sam. I think she’s a fantastic filmmaker and director. But I think to collaborate on something like this was essential – how giving you can be to your partner, your relationship, and how you can embrace each other with both sides of your creative craft or talent. I think it should be encouraged – that the husband can support his wife in her choices and have that sort of fluidity and trust. To me, loyalty is everything.”
The Right Notes
“Its main scent is the iris, but I’m actually a huge fan of vetiver. It’s such a beautiful smell. The fragrance is bright and refreshing.”
Head: Citrus, rosemary.
Base: vetiver, musk.
Gentleman Givenchy cologne, from $90.