HOW DID A SMALL-TIME ACTOR WITH HUGE FASHION CONNECTIONS AND A TALENT FOR PAINTING NUDES BECOME THE HYPER-LUXURIOUS DESIGNER WITH EXHIBITION-WORTHY CLOTHES THAT YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF? NOELLE LOH REPORTS ON MONCLER’S LATEST COLLABORATOR.
Opposite: Greg Lauren brings his raw, artistic eye to Moncler in a tie-up that fuses streetwear and the brand’s signatures with antique fabrics.
There are hardly any stories on Greg Lauren (above right, with Moncler CEO Remo Rufﬁni) that don’t mention Ralph Lauren, but when your uncle is the American fashion legend who made preppy cool, it’s pretty much inevitable.
Also often mentioned is how he had a role known simply as “Young Stud” in Boogie Nights (1997), the iconic ﬁlm about the Los Angeles porn industry in the ’70s (his most famous line: “This is twice in two days that a chick has OD’d on me!”), and was in two ’90s Batman movies (congrats if you can spot him).
None have dwelled on how his dark, chiselled good looks are the stuff Disney hunks are based on, but that would be reducing him too much. Because Greg Lauren, 47, has been making hacked-up, highly artisanal, highly luxurious renditions of streetwear even before Vetements so much as bleeped on fashion’s radar. And because he’s the man Moncler is tapping on to reveal an even more experimental side to its four-ﬁgured skiwear this Fall/Winter.
Browsing his eponymous brand on Barney’s e-store at press time showed up slightly boxy plaid shirts spliced with raw denim patches retailing for US$875 (S$1,180), and a dishevelled chic coat crafted from vintage military tents and blankets at US$3,875 (S$5,250). All his designs are said to be nearly entirely handmade in his LA atelier – right down to the label that he handwrites in marker – yet possess a ﬂair telling of his breeding. (“I grew up in a family where tailoring culture was practised in a form I can only deﬁne as a religion,” he says over e-mail).
Before launching his brand six years ago, he was an artist: Princeton-schooled, DC Comics-approved, with a knack for modern nude portraiture reportedly coveted by the Hollywood set.
It was what he wore to the opening of his buzzy 2010 paper menswear garment installation, Alterations, that prompted him to switch careers: a deconstructed jacket he made out of his studio’s paint- splattered drop cloth on a whim.
“My own collection is a mix of new fabrics and re-purposed fabrics, and in the end it is really as much about re-imagining (what a garment looks like or symbolises) as the fabric itself,” he explains.
“What I try to (create) in my fashion work is an idea of new luxury, which is customised and unique – far beyond (pandering to) any brand uniformity or generalised trend.”
Dubbed Collide, the 200-piece collection he’s created for Moncler would send followers of designer streetwear into a rabid frenzy, as much as it would appeal to those with more intellectual tastes.
Spanning men’s, women’s and unisex styles that are either limited edition or one of a kind, they include jeans, hoodies and the Milan-based label’s signature puffers fused with the distressed fabrics Lauren favours. Part of a red lacquered nylon Bady coat (one of Moncler’s most popular quilted outers among women), for example, is reinvented in antique boro, patchwork-style, often indigo-dyed textile worn by peasants in ancient Japan.
“My team and I literally cut the Moncler jackets and collided them with vintage fabrics, giving them a new shape, a new style and a new story to tell,” he says. Now, such an approach and dedication – not Uncle Ralph; not Young Stud – is the real Greg Lauren story.