JARED LETO WILL SEE YOU NOW

WE’RE IN LONDON TO TALK TO THE AC­TOR AND POSTER BOY ABOUT ALL THINGS GUCCI ‘GUI LT Y AB­SO­LUTE’.

GQ (Australia) - - STYLE -

Jared doesn’t want to shake hands.” This un­set­tling nugget is flung mere mo­ments be­fore you step into the room-within-a-room-within-a-room to meet Jared Leto. Many hours have led to this point. You’re told to fly 26 hours to spend 10 min­utes with Jared Leto. Yes, it will be no more than 10 min­utes, though may turn out to be eight. But there will be time. Leto’s time? It’s never been more valu­able. This in­ter­view isn’t about Sui­cide Squad, or win­ning awards. It’s not about his mul­ti­plat­inum-sell­ing band, 30 Sec­onds to Mars. Nor will it cover his ef­forts to pre­serve Amer­ica’s na­tional parks through a se­ries of white-knuck­led mi­cro-doc­u­men­taries. No, this is about Gucci. To be more pre­cise, it’s about two peo­ple: Leto and Alessan­dro Michele. The lat­ter, Gucci’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, has rein­vig­o­rated lux­ury’s old guard with a much-wel­comed punch of ir­rev­er­ence and ro­man­ti­cism. And so, via Dubai, you land in London greatly de­bil­i­tated. It’s De­cem­ber. The weather has turned. You, vis­it­ing for only 48 hours, are ter­ri­bly un­der­packed. Your fel­low jour­nal­ists, hap­pily, are not. They’re from far-flung cor­ners of the Jared Leto writ­ing world – from Mex­ico and Venezuela, from Greece and Malaysia. There are many of you, all headed to the same des­ti­na­tion: 10 min­utes, “maybe”, with Jared Leto. Gucci, the chic un­der­writer of this jour­ney, has done its best to per­fect each touch­point, as though it were bound for a run­way. You’re greeted warmly in the ho­tel lobby. You’re in­formed dis­creetly that, yes, the mini­bar is gratis. Your brows raise a lit­tle at this last point – re­al­is­ing this goes against ev­ery sin­gle in­stinct re­gard­ing self-preser­va­tion, much like the first puff of a cig­a­rette. It’s 12 hours later that you’re told that Leto doesn’t want to touch your hand, thanks. You’re in an­other ho­tel in May­fair, sur­rounded by lay­ers of standers-by, those won­drous peo­ple who blur the lines be­tween PR, mar­keter, man­ager and pro groupie. In a turn of events that would thrill Gucci’s di­a­mond-pat­terned moth­er­ship in Mi­lano, there are pretty, eth­ni­cally-am­bigu­ous women scat­tered around the room, each wear­ing a leg-length­en­ing tar­tan skirt and thick-rimmed frames. Sit­ting by a roar­ing fire­place, sip­ping very Bri­tish Tea, are other writ­ers – oth­ers tem­po­rar­ily caught in the Jared Leto vac­uum. They’re dressed in their Sun­day Best’s Sun­day Best. Groups from Ger­many and Latin Amer­ica are hud­dled over their hot leaf wa­ter, whis­per­ing fever­ishly about the ques­tions they’ll at­tempt to squeeze in.

On the other side of the room, a lanky man presses his ear to a large wooden door that guards the in­ner sanc­tum. He’s lis­ten­ing to the in­ter­view be­fore yours, wait­ing for the mo­ment to strike. He does, and you en­ter. Jared Leto, a vam­pire-like 45-years-old, is sat by a fire­place on the op­po­site side of the room. He’s wear­ing a but­tery leather jacket and cropped, black-dyed hair – like a grown out 2017 Cae­sar cut. The whole scene feels a lit­tle Burt Reynolds-by-the-fire, al­beit with more so­phis­ti­cated, Queen Mother-wor­thy dé­cor. As­ton­ish­ingly, not one stander-by is present. You sit. And, of course, you do not of­fer your hand. “This is around the time I tend to get a lit­tle… sleepy,” says Leto, jet­lagged from a jaunt in Ja­pan. You nod in weak agree­ment. Mar­vel­ling at his youth­ful face as you men­tally re-read his Wikipedia en­try, you en­quire about the ac­tor’s groom­ing rou­tine. “This is go­ing to be easy. I take a shower. I sham­poo. And that’s it.” Wow. No face wash? No mois­turiser? “Ab­so­lutely noth­ing. I hon­estly don’t use any­thing. It’s pretty bor­ing.” This, of course, is an ex­pected part of the Jared Leto co­nun­drum – this is the guy who, some­how, is equally at home in a mid­night-blue Gucci tuxedo as on a Yosemite cliff face. The man who can sit at a char­ity ban­quet one night, then mail his Sui­cide Squad co-stars dead rats and used con­doms (method act­ing – it’s a thing). You press again, be­cause hand­some­ness, while un­com­pli­cated, must be more com­pli­cated than sham­poo and noth­ing else? “I credit, num­ber one, sleep. For a solid 10 years, I’ve been mind­ful of it,” of­fers Leto. “As a singer, you can’t skip on sleep, be­cause of your voice. If you go out, the next day you wake up and your voice is like down here and deeper. You can’t sing, at all. I’ve al­ways been mind­ful of get­ting sleep while on tour. You don’t want to can­cel a show – it’s not a fun thing to do. That taught me to sleep.” You nod. “I’ve al­ways had a good diet. I’m healthy. Sleep and food – those are two big ones.” One thing that hap­pens when you’re Jared Leto is say­ing ‘no’. This is a cru­cial point in un­der­stand­ing the Leto-michele-gucci tri­fecta of luxe. “In 20 years in this busi­ness, I’ve only said yes three times,” he states. “I got to know Alessan­dro first. We be­came friends. It was re­ally nat­u­ral to work to­gether. We have a lot in com­mon: we’re both cre­ative peo­ple. He’s a bit crazy, like me. We have a sim­i­lar sense of hu­mour. We’re sim­i­lar ages. He looks very in­tense and mys­te­ri­ous – a bit Rasputin, you know? A bit mes­sianic. I, of course, had my long hair and a beard, too. He’s very warm and very sweet, and fun and funny – he’s easy to like. We be­came friends. That’s been nice. The nicest part of all of this is the friend­ship that we’ve de­vel­oped. That’s re­ally cool, when that hap­pens.” The true rai­son d’etre for this tête-à-tête is Gucci’s new male fra­grance. Named ‘Guilty Ab­so­lute’, it’s re­mark­ably Leto-like – cre­at­ing an in­stant im­pres­sion that evolves to have re­mark­able stay­ing power. “I do a spray on the neck,” says Leto of his per­sonal ap­pli­ca­tion of such. “It’s a spray on the wrist and a rub to­gether. I re­ally don’t use very much. Maybe I should, I’m not sure?” When you’re Jared Leto, you don’t need to be sure. You aren’t paid to be sure. You’re just paid to be here, jet­lagged and hand­somely vam­piric, sit­ting fire­side in London with a ro­tat­ing cast of slack-jawed shmucks. An­other thing that hap­pens when you’re Jared Leto is say­ing ‘yes’. In a sense. You, clutch­ing an ac­tual cam­era, ask for a por­trait. He mis­un­der­stands you, in his way. “Sure, I mean, I’m ex­hausted. But we can do one to­gether if you like?” With bal­let-like chore­ographed grace, he fetches your phone off the ta­ble, stands you up, and invites you to stick a tongue out at the front-fac­ing phone cam­era. Click. It’s more than a wor­thy me­mento of the oc­ca­sion – un­ex­pected, brash, and at least half hand­some. The lanky man be­hind the door knocks. You wish Leto well. He re­turns the favour. You ex­tend your hand. And, of course, Jared Leto shakes it. gucci.com

THE MAN BE­HIND ‘GUILTY AB­SO­LUTE’, AL­BERTO MO­RIL­LAS, HAS CRE­ATED MORE THAN 400 SCENTS. GUCCI ‘GUILTY AB­SO­LUTE’ WILL BE AVAIL­ABLE THIS JULY.

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