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Austin Butler on Bikes, Marlon Brando, and the Scent of Nuanced Masculinity

Name it a little bit of French humor, that one of the vital placing portraits of Yves Saint Laurent ought to present the style designer stripped of his garments. The 12 months was 1971. Photographer Jeanloup Sieff and his sandy-haired topic selected a spare set-up: three black leather-based cushions stacked on the ground, with Saint Laurent seated in lanky repose. Moreover his glasses, he’s, presumably, sporting one different notable accent. In any case, what higher commercial for a brand new YSL eau de toilette—the very scent he had privately worn for 3 years—than the bare-chested designer himself? 

A half-century later, as YSL Magnificence unveils its newest males’s perfume, Austin Butler steps in as doppelgänger, with a equally lengthy body and days-old scruff. This time, the accoutrements are layered—leather-based pants, double-breasted coat, a full Le Corbusier lounge chair—and so is the understanding of id, in a manner. The eau de parfum, referred to as MYSLF, is emblematic of a technology accustomed to dropped vowels and an idea of masculinity that doesn’t conform to stereotypes. (Decoding the title would reveal masculin féminin bookends, with the model’s monogram neatly contained inside.) The intention is to tease out the wearer’s completely different aspects, by means of Tunisian orange blossom, patchouli, and a heat ambery be aware. 

The bottle for MYSLF, designed by Suzanne Dalton, has the silhouette of a slim-cut go well with.

From Grey Sorrenti/Courtesy of YSL Magnificence.

“It begins out on this shiny, floral place,” Butler explains on a spring morning in New York, when the climate was cool and Hollywood’s unions had but to strike, “after which a kind of candy, woody nature comes by way of. It evolves because it settles in your pores and skin.” The function of a perfume face is to humanize the ineffable—a dusting of Oscar-nominated star energy doesn’t harm—and Butler reveals up with an actor’s eagerness to discover the backstory. There’s Saint Laurent himself: “I’ve simply been so impressed by him,” says Butler, “realizing how he got down to shatter any concepts of what fashion was at the moment and the way in which that he revolutionized a lot.” The orange blossom be aware, too, faucets into custom in unlikely methods. “The concept that orange blossoms are associated to a new child child or a lady on a marriage day—there are such a lot of completely different variations of life which can be surrounded by this scent,” he says. (Even the Solar King was a devotee, utilizing floral water doubtless drawn from his Versailles orangeries.) Might a white floral on the coronary heart of a males’s scent be the olfactory mate to Le Smoking, Saint Laurent’s avant-garde girls’s tuxedo from 1966?

By leaning into extra of a Mediterranean palette, the three perfumers—Daniela Andrier, Christophe Raynaud, and Antoine Maisondieu—sought to subvert expectations. There’s a fizzy, inexperienced bergamot be aware within the preliminary burst; Provençal aromatics, like clary sage and lavender, give method to a honeyed ingredient created from sugar cane. And on the core, the orange blossom evokes Tangier, the place Andrier combed the souk for various variations of the scent, and hung out close to the previous residence of Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé—a pair whose aesthetic sensibility was famously expansive. “We needed to categorical a person who wasn’t a caricature, in all his subtlety,” Raynaud explains of the dimensionality they searched for MYSLF. Butler, as snug on a classic Harley as he’s within the marketing campaign’s sheer black button-down, gamely performs alongside.

Self-importance Truthful: Males’s fragrances typically have a story of journey or lust, however this one has a extra inward focus. How do you interpret the story of the scent?

Austin Butler: Once they first pitched the idea to me, it was all in regards to the completely different aspects of your self. That’s what ended up being the core of it. After I was a child, I had an orange tree within the middle of my yard—that was in Anaheim, California. The scent of orange blossoms actually jogs my memory of choosing oranges with my mom and making orange juice in the home.