Greg Lauren wants to know if you’re man enough to wear a jacket with ribbons on it.
An LA-based artist and the nephew of Ralph Lauren, Greg made the move from art to fashion rather, ahem, seamlessly. Last year at an exhibition he showed paper sculptures of classic menswear like military looks, tuxedos, and yes, superhero costumes. Growing up in the family he did, it’s no wonder that Greg has had menswear on the mind.
He started turning his paper sculptures into real garments made from canvas and drop cloths from his studio. People started asking him where they could get the pieces, and the collection took off.
I stopped by to meet the designer at Barneys, where his collection is available now. The word that comes to mind immediately when you see Greg’s clothes is “deconstructed” or alternatively, “moth-eaten.” But look more closely and there are some genius elements there.
Military is a huge motif, and Lauren constructed many of the pieces out of vintage duffel bags, some from World War II, so they’re all one-of-a-kind. A canvas tuxedo jacket with a crushed silk lapel that looks almost ruffled and a nipped in waist attracted my attention. Lauren’s collection contains pieces for both men and women, and I thought the tux jacket was womenswear. I was wrong.
“Tuxedos don’t mean anything anymore; the rules of wearing a tuxedo don’t exist. I wanted to create one that was the opposite of what we have grown to know and expect from a tuxedo,” the designer told me. He’s had women buying men’s pieces and women buying the men’s pieces.
Lauren is purposely playing with the masculine/feminine theme. The testosterone-heavy military jackets tie with ribbons at the wrist. “So many of the archetypes I learned to love are so macho. I wanted to tear that down,” he told me.
He also offers a limited edition run of shoes modeled after a pair of beat up classic English boots for guys and a pair of olive-drab knee high boots for women.
I’m totally man enough.