Dakota Johnson Found the Mixed Reactions to Suspiria “Very Interesting”

“Very interesting.”

2018 LACMA Art + Film Gala - Arrivals
David Livingston

With two films currently in theaters—Bad Times at the El Royale and Suspiria—it’s safe to say that Dakota Johnson has been on her fair share of movie sets recently. And it’s really getting to her. “Typically film sets smell like shit and industrial space and fire and engines and catering and man armpits,” Johnson quipped recently in her suite at the Chateau Marmont, in Los Angeles. “They don’t smell very good.”

Thankfully, the topic at hand was something much more appealing to the senses: Gucci Bloom, the fragrance that Johnson has served as the face of since 2017. “It feels like a long time ago, but I think [the campaign] holds up. It feels very current,” Johnson said of the campaign images. She added, of her campaign costar the photographer Petra Collins, “I think she feels much more inclined to be behind the camera. I feel uncomfortable in photo shoots, and I think she does too, so we both were like, ‘What are we doing?’ and found a sort of similarity in each other. But behind the camera, she is an animal.”

Although there are no actual animals in this particular campaign, it has all the hallmarks of a classic Gucci ad: stunning florals, bright clothing, and the general over-the-top drama that has come to be associated with the creative director Alessandro Michele. “I met him at his first Gucci fashion show in New York,” Johnson said of the designer. “We just really like each other. I really respect him as an artist, and I think he feels the same.”

Johnson would be spending the following evening with Michele; the two attended the star-studded LACMA Art+Film Gala over the weekend. “It is so lovely because he is very shy and very quiet, and likes to stick together,” she said. “I like that. It’s nice to experience those kind of things with someone.

“I’ve been going [to the LACMA gala] for a long time,” she went on. “It’s really beautiful. It’s not so much a costume show; everyone is really elegant. It’s truly about art and film, and you learn a lot. There are a lot of incredible artists and filmmakers there, and the focus is really about the foundation, and not so much the gossip or the glamour. But everyone is really chic. I really admire that. I love art and film, and have my whole life.”

Of the L.A. art scene, Johnson, a native, said, “If you know it, it’s really incredible. Especially downtown in the smaller galleries. There are a lot of incredible galleries and artists. There’s a sort of hidden, bubbling culture of art here.”

As for her own commitments for the sake of art: “I’m a little tired, but I’m good,” she said of the monthlong press tour she just wrapped for her recent films. “I’ve been waiting to release Suspiria for a long time. I was interested in how it would be perceived for a long time. I find the [reception] really interesting. I haven’t been following so much anymore, but when it was first released last week…I find the diversity in reaction very interesting.”

In addition to the critics’ takes, Johnson herself had received plenty of reviews (all favorable) for a recent red-carpet outing, during which she donned a piece from Hedi Slimane’s new Celine, marking the collection’s debut red-carpet moment—a look that the actress called out as a press tour highlight. “I thought it was beautiful. I thought [the collection] was great. I love him. I was so excited to wear that dress. It was a real party dress.”

When not dressing for the carpet—”You mean, what do I do when I don’t have Kate [Young, the stylist]?” she joked—Johnson says her style is “simple.” “I have things that I stick to,” she added. The same goes for her makeup routine. “I’m very low-key. Very simple. I really like to be clean and feel clean and hydrated. That’s pretty much it,” she said. “When I’m not working, I don’t really wear makeup.”

As for her return to acting, Johnson was happy to have a break. “I’m working on a few different things, but I’m not filming anything right now. It’s weird because I really like being on set, so I get really antsy,” she said. “Today, I don’t know when I’ll [next be on set]. Maybe tomorrow I’ll know.”