Jared Leto Talks Scents He Loves—And Hates

“I think what makes scents so powerful is their ability to connect directly to our past."
Reading time 2 minutes
All images courtesy of Gucci

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the nose must be the chimney. Yes, the olfactory system can indeed guide us to the center of a person—a place where treasured memories exist, waiting to be conjured with every whiff. Whether getting there requires a fragrance, oil, or mist, there’s no denying the power scent has to inspire intimate thoughts and desires. Someone who recognizes this ability is multihyphenate and Gucci muse, Jared Leto. “I think what makes scents so powerful is their ability to connect directly to our past,” he says, “not just through memory, but through emotion. It’s very special.”  

His sentiments on the matter are legit, considering he’s the face of a new era for one of the Italian fashion house’s classic fragrances, Gucci Guilty.

Handpicked by the house’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, Leto helps tell a new story for the inimitable scent in a cinematic trailer alongside Lana Del Rey. Directed by Glen Luchford, Del Rey and Leto star in #ForeverGuilty as an Adam-and-Eve-esque couple exploring a retro futuristic L.A. landscape. They wreak mystical havoc everywhere they go—supermarkets, laundromats, and diners included. Courtney Love even makes a cameo, too, playing a waitress. It’s just another kooky, magical element we’ve come to love and expect from Michele’s whimsical, Guccified world.  

Casting Leto alongside Del Rey as the face of #ForeverGuilty makes perfect sense. While filming the short, Leto realized he shares certain similarities with Del Rey, qualities that go beyond simply being campaign stars. “We're both slightly crazy—and so is Alessandro,” he notes. “We're artists. We love our work. We like to take chances.”  

Famously, Del Rey and Leto accompanied Michele to last year’s Met Gala, where they channeled Italian Renaissance-era religious figures. Over the course of their friendship, the two have built a unique bond: “Whatever you do with Gucci, it'll be an adventure in every way,” Leto states poetically.  

However, Leto’s poetic nature fades when I ask him about the smells he despises. He cites the scent of animal slaughterhouses as his aromatic kryptonite in addition to “dirty people and shit.” But the poet reemerges in discussing his most beloved scents. “The smell of the earth after it rains—it's really nice. I like the smell of a pine tree.” He adds gasoline to the list as well. Gucci Guilty—we imagine—is a given, too.  


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