You know Adam Driver, right? The Oscar-nominated actor known for his breakthrough performances in Girls, BlacKkKlansman, Marriage Story and the Star Wars franchise? The private celebrity that has fan account followings of over 70K across, without any actual accounts of his own? You know, the one that ran shirtless down a beach before merging with a horse? Or is that last one not familiar?
In Burberry’s new fragrance campaign, Driver, wearing nothing but a pair of trousers, runs into the ocean with a stallion before becoming part-horse himself. Directed by Johnathan Glazer, the video overlays sensual shots of Driver and the horse exchanging forms beneath the waves, before resolving the story with a short clip of Driver’s centaur form silhouetted by the sunset and a shining glass of Burberry Hero floating over the landscape.
But, the thing is, even before Burberry turn him into a horse, Driver was already a hybrid of sorts. In the past few years, especially after The Force Awakens, Driver has quickly become a sex symbol praised by half of the internet. However, on the other side of the web, many sit in utter confusion, trying to understand Driver’s sudden desirability. The debate has raged on for years – spanning article and online feuds. Even tweets thirsting after him acknowledge that his beauty is subjective.
The ethereal, incomparable, irreplaceable Adam Driver. If loving him is wrong, we don’t want to be right. (📷: Mario Sorrenti) pic.twitter.com/nyIpRu3UmX
Though, @AdamDforever may be onto something with their comment on the female gaze. Driver has the six-pack abs and 6ft 3in frame coveted by men, but he also lacks the conventional beauty of many other Hollywood stars like Ryan Gosling and Chris Hemsworth. The dichotomies combine to create a phenomenon in which Driver becomes attractive but not overwhelmingly so.
Like Driver, Burberry Hero aims to redefine masculinity on their own terms. Chief creative officer for the fragrance, Riccardo Tisci explains, “I wanted Burberry Hero to encapsulate modern masculinity, to play on the essence of primal human and animal instincts, channelling the duality between strength and sensitivity.”
Driver certainly plays on those instincts to the public. Flexing on horseback, the actor evokes control, power, and sexiness, while the horse affects a sense of trust and tenderness allowing him to sit. Combining the man and the animal, the silhouette of the centaur hints at a new type of man, one that is both strong and sensitive as Tisci hoped.
Burberry even acknowledges that the centaur reimagines the modern man. On their website, the brand states, “The campaign challenges the traditional stereotypes of masculinity, bringing a horse and a man together to create a modern myth amongst an awe-inspiring landscape, exploring our codes of duality and the power of the animal kingdom.”
With Driver’s looks already a contested topic, by turning him half-horse and still demanding that he is seductive, Burberry Hero challenges what we consider to be masculine beauty.