Greg Lauren and Paul & Shark splice and dice for S/S 2020
Artist, actor and fashion designer Greg Lauren isn’t one for labels. He is known for his artisanal approach to taking, reinventing and breaking apart archetypes that have been universally adopted by fashion. In his hands, formal military field jackets, plain hoodies and army issue cargo pants take on a West Coast ease. Earlier this year, Lauren started working with the eminent Italian nautical company Paul & Shark. ‘When the introduction came I said, do they know what I do? Do they know that I’m going to take all of those amazing classics and try and destroy, and turn it into something new? Will they let me be me?’ he said.
Growing up on the Upper East Side of New York, Lauren was exposed to a very specific, very potent code for how to dress. ‘Really, it was the artificial idea of some lifestyle that isn’t even very real,’ he says. His uncle is the renowned fashion designer Ralph Lauren who has shaped what we think of as the all-American style. ‘Every time I get the chance to take something that’s so classic, so conservative, I want to redo it in a fun way.’ In his early meetings at Paul & Shark, he took apart a smart, cashmere-blend peacoat and spliced it with vintage American denim overalls. It was the meeting of two worlds – Lauren’s crafty, bohemian spontaneity and the sacrosanct Made In Italy sprezzatura.
‘I am of the generation that wants imperfection. I think that something should be perfectly imperfect’ – Greg Lauren
Lauren’s tear it up, turn-it-upside-down-and-inside-out MO feels opposed to the solemnity of upper-class elegance. Yet the co-branded pieces have everything that aficionados of Italian menswear love – and more. They combine Old World style with a modern, sustainable, hi-tech sensibility.
Drawing on Paul & Shark’s seafaring heritage, a long kimono, boxy work-shirt has been mixed with hi-tech typhoon fabric, which is used as patches behind tears on denim. An archival bright yellow hi-tech sailing parka from the 1980s is cut into a more military sport kimono, with vintage denim and black fleece sleeves. Lauren even stripped the lining and made a pair of cargo pocket trousers out of it. ‘I was taught to love certain things, beautiful things, but they were appropriate for another generation,’ Lauren says. ‘I am of the generation that wants imperfection. I think that something should be perfectly imperfect and clothing should be about individuality. It should be about uniqueness. In order to find that voice, I had to destroy the old things.’ §