Ralph Lauren's New Extreme Man

AFTER THE SUCCESS OF RALPH LAUREN’S POLO RED FRAGRANCE IN 2013, THE BRAND CALLED UPON PERFUMER OLIVIER GILLOTIN TO CREATE A NEW, MORE INTENSE VERSION WHERE BLOOD ORANGE MIXES WITH STRONG COFFEE ESSENCE ON AN EBONY WOOD BACKGROUND. THE NEW FACE OF POLO RED EXTREME IS LUKE BRACEY, AN AUSTRALIAN ACTOR WHOSE STAR’S ON THE RISE. THE 27-YEAR- OLD HAS BEEN TURNING HEADS SINCE STARRING IN 2015’s POINT BREAK REMAKE, AND APPEARING IN LAST YEAR’S HIGHLY-ACCLAIMED FILM HACKSAW RIDGE, DIRECTED BY MEL GIBSON.

- By Stéphane Le Duc

Hacksaw Ridge was nominated for six Oscars! What was it like working with iconic actor and director Mel Gibson?

Any actor growing up watching movies from the late ‘70s until now is pretty much in awe of his amazing talent as a storyteller in front of and behind the camera. But as Australians, we feel extra pride because he grew up Down Under. Working with Mel was wonderful. I had such an amazing time learning from him and being around him. He is a warm, funny man. His humour is one of his best assets. People might not think of him that way because his roles have been kind of intense, and the movies he makes are intense.

What comes to mind when you think of your life now?

Just seven years ago, it was completely different. I think about it quite often. Where would I be? What might I be doing otherwise? I feel good that I found a job and profession that I really enjoy. That’s one of the greatest blessings that came with this part and how I kind of fell into it. I found something that I don’t even consider work. It’s probably the luckiest thing that has happened to me in the last seven years: I found something that inspires me.

Did you ever think that someday you would be the face of a fragrance?

I certainly did not! If I did, I would have probably needed to have my head checked. Sitting on the northern beaches of Sydney, playing rugby and looking to be a builder, I would have said it was impossible to imagine. But once I got into acting, it’s something I thought would be really interesting to do. I have always been fascinated by smells and the intense memories they can conjure up. It’s probably one of the most intense senses we have. I never had any grooming traditions other than wearing cologne. I always wore cologne and enjoyed that aspect of being a man. My search is over for finding a cologne. I have one for the rest of my life, which I am very proud of. It’s a beautiful scent and it suits me perfectly. Ralph Lauren is an iconic brand. I do have to pinch myself, though.

How did you feel about the brand before they approached you?

For me, Ralph Lauren is the perfect brand for the quintessential man. It’s very down-to- earth, authentic, masculine and classy. It’s got an amazing taste to it. The whole brand epitomizes that. When they approached my agent for me to become the face of Polo Red Extreme, I told my agent to make the deal because I did not want them to change their mind! When I did the movie Point Break, there was this amazing motocross opening sequence—and I think this new rebranding of Polo Red has a similar adrenaline to it. The whole movie was about pushing boundaries, and pushing yourself in a rush of adrenaline.

There are quite a few pictures of you taken by Bruce Weber for the ad campaign. Which image is closest to the actual you?

The elegant man, or the guy in the red T-shirt? With Ralph Lauren, it goes both ways. It can represent a very relaxed, down-to- earth nature, and it can have a very chic, polished look. I would say I am closer to the red T-shirt kind of guy, but I do enjoy a beautiful suit and standing up straight. It changes the way I walk.

How do you see your future with Ralph Lauren?

I had such an amazing time being involved with this campaign ad. I hope it’s the start of a long relationship with Ralph Lauren for many years to come. I just feel at home—the brand suits me perfectly.

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