EDITOR’S THE LETTER
Looking back, I should never have turned my phone notifications on. Every morning my alarm goes off and I reach for the bedside table, only to find the real wake-up call is seeing what’s been happening overnight, in the good old US of A. You see, news alerts have become somewhat of an obsession for me, ever since a certain real estate mogulturned reality TV show host decided he wanted to play politics. And I know I’m not alone here. American presidential campaigns have always had a certain showbiz quality to them, but this one was downright gruelling. Every day, it seemed there was some new revelation; a new twist in the story so shocking that even West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have scripted it better. And I was hooked; each day’s news arriving like a fresh instalment of House of Cards. The political intrigue was captivating. Then in early October, I woke up to the Washington Post’s scoop of the notorious Access Hollywood tape, recorded in 2005. Trump, at that point a hugely influential public figure – a man who by then was on the cusp of his sixties – was caught describing not just his appalling treatment of women, but the fact that “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. Shocking revelations were a daily occurrence at this point, but there was something different about this. Something truly startling. In many ways, it is those unguarded moments, when we think people aren’t listening, that have more weight than what we tell people, or even ourselves. Those are the moments that show others who we really are. In the end, it made little difference. Trump is in the White House and the revelations keep pouring in, one news alert at a time. This is the leader of the free world. A man so out of his depth, so trapped in out-dated ideas of what it means to be a man, so cast adrift from reality, there seems little chance of the spectacle improving anytime soon. For us or for him. At GQ, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the evolution of men over the past decade. Aussie guys used to be afraid to show an interest in fashion or talk about their feelings. But these days, we realise there is no single definition of masculinity or set of rules that we all have to live by – and that’s a very good thing. Just look at sports people; cricketers were once portly, beer-swilling blokes and today they’re style icons. The same is true of some politicians – unlike Mr Trump, Obama has always known the benefits of a well-cut suit, and Canadian Pm-cum-style icon Justin Trudeau even recently graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Beyond the fact they scrub up well, these two men have been champions of women, minorities, immigrants and LGBTIQ individuals. The kind of people who now find themselves struggling to see where they fit in Trump’s world – or if they even fit into it at all. But it’s comforting to know that there are great role models out there for today’s young men – you just have to know where to look. Take James Franco. Yes, our cover star is one of the most handsome men on the planet, but it’s what he says in our interview that really caught my attention. In what must be his most open, honest interview to date (p182), Franco discusses coming to terms with his success, discovering who he really is, and finding time to be present in the moment. Sometimes we have to slow down to get ahead. It’s advice I’m trying to take on board, too. I still check my news alerts each morning (hey, the man has his little hands on the nuclear codes now), but I’m trying to make sure I try my best to truly appreciate each moment as it arrives. Even though most days my calendar barely allows me enough time for a quick coffee between travel, shoots or meetings, I still try to make an effort to sit back, take a breath and be present whenever I can. After all, I have to admit that being the editor in chief of a magazine like GQ does come with its perks. One of those is being able to introduce this, our fantastic September/october magazine. I’m very proud that our Big Style Issue is packed with opportunities to sit back and appreciate the world we live in. Whether it’s our frank chat with the hilariously mouthy Liam Gallagher (p88); our foray into the incredible world of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci (p234); a visit to Iraq, more than a decade after the conflict began (p228); our bumper GQ Style section (p107); or our in-depth look at why people believe conspiracy theories (p194) – I’m confident there’s something for everyone. It truly is one of our biggest and best issues of the year. And that, I’m very happy to say, is some good news.
Cotton/cashmere shirt, approx. $1620, by Tom Ford at Harrolds; denim jeans, approx. $620, by Fabric-brand & Co.