Poet, composer, actor, producer – Benjamin Clementine is the true modern interpretation of the classic Renaissance Man, making him the perfect choice to launch the latest in the Givenchy Gentleman fragrance series, Gentleman Society.
If there’s one thing that society could do more with today, it’s gentlemen.
Cinemaphiles may recognise Clementine from 2021’s mega-hit Dune where he starred as the enigmatic Herald of Change while those of a more musical bent will be across the launch of his third studio album, And I Have Been October last year. With a list of prestigious accomplishments as long as Clementine’s, ICON spoke to the hyphenate talent about the latest addition to his resumé as face of Givenchy Gentleman Society.
ICON: Why did you decide to become the new face of Givenchy Parfums? What does the brand represent to you?
BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE: I am honoured to be the face of such a prestigious House. The brand represents elegance and creativity – something I hope I represent too. I believe that Givenchy spends a lot of time crafting fragrances that are in tune with the times.
ICON: What do you think makes a gentleman today?
BC: A gentleman understands perspectives and leaves room for correction. I am not a member of any nobility or royalty nor am I rich or a member of the House of Parliament, but I feel the need to continually improve as a human because clearly no one is perfect.
ICON: They are two distinct artforms, but do you think that perfumery and music share common elements within their creativity?
BC: I have always been fascinated by perfume-making or, in this case, artistry. The closest medium to music, I believe, is perfume. I think that what matters most in artistry is patience. Patience is the greatest weapon art has. This scent also embodies this concept brilliantly. In music there are different chord progressions, playing styles, techniques. And then, there are major and minor frequencies, whether unknown or known.
For me, perfume is very much the same: several months of testing are required to find the right fragrance accord. To acquire and achieve the desired fragrance is very similar to how I make music.
ICON: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
BC: I often draw inspiration from Erik Satie and Jean Michel Basquiat. During my early years as a professional musician, I used to recite my poems while playing piano chords, until the song became meaningful to me. After having done so for many years, I am now testing different methods through music engineering. I’ve learned a lot about equalisation and compression and how they enrich every song I record. Writing music has become more complicated but it is worth it in the end.