PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Dallas

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Greg Lauren can shoulder the moniker of artiste — and not strictly because he is a painter sporting a BA in art history from Princeton. The nephew of Ralph Lauren and husband of actress Elizabeth Berkley, his creative repertoire includes appearances on The Young and the Restless and in the films Batman Forever, Robin & Batman and Boogie Nights. But his most recent appearance happened beneath two vintage military tents, when he showcased his eponymous menswear and womenswear collections during his debut runway show at New York Fashion Week. Add to his résumé a unisex fragrance aptly named Greg Lauren (produced exclusively for Barneys New York by master perfumer Ralf Schwieger), and Lauren becomes the epitome of a Renaissance man. Linden Wilson sat down with the artist, actor and designer the day after his trunk show at Forty Five Ten to chat about his endless creative roles. YOUR AESTHETIC. I love the heritage of clothing. My clothes are tailored but The unconstructed with a very artisanal attitude. I explore duality and mix things that are contradictory, and it is 100 percent reflective of my personal style. When I was painting, I would leave the studio for dinner wearing paint- splattered pants that were from that day, but throw on a jacket that made it a touch more presentable for the restaurant. That mix is very much who I am, so I try to put it into the clothing. TRANSITIONING FROM ART TO DESIGN. I've been painting and drawing my whole life and had my first exhibition in 2000. I decided [designing] was something natural for me to explore. In 2008, I learned to sew, and in 2011, I launched my label. I approached the runway show no differently than I would an art exhibition. It's creating a world for people to enter and be moved and think a little bit differently about the space they're in. Every season, there's a combination of using repurposed fabrics in a very unusual way or using existing luxury fabrics in a different way by destroying them, washing them or creating something you wouldn't expect. WHO YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE WEAR GREG LAUREN. David Beckham, Johnny Depp … They have a great sense of style. I would have loved to dress Ernest Hemingway. As an artist, he was someone who really lived his life as rugged and as outwardly masculine as he was. There are some great people now who do wear my clothes and represent the Greg Lauren guy: Brad Pitt, Chris Martin and Lenny Kravitz. OIL ON PAPER. It's my signature medium. Paper is fragile; it takes to whatever it's been through. If it's been wrinkled, the wrinkles stay. PAINTING BATMAN. I love superheroes — Batman in particular, because he's really the only one who doesn't have a superpower. He grapples with things that are very human, even though there's a dark side. I did a painting called Cup of Coffee — it's Batman having a cup of coffee in what might be the middle of the night. He's all alone and not actually out there saving the day. I'm interested in what heroes are like when they're not being heroic, and in the difference between how we present ourselves and who we really are. YOUR FRAGRANCE. It has sandalwood, vanilla and tonka bean. I wanted to create a mixture that makes you feel like you don't know if you want to cry or laugh — something that smells like the way a great sad song feels. Just outside of Paris, I paint- splattered 3,000 bottles, writing my name on a piece of masking tape on each of them. I wanted people to pick this bottle up and say, "Wow, someone took the time to make this." It's special and unique. FUTURE PLANS. It's all about storytelling. I think a possible next step might be directing a film. I've directed a short; I just did the signature costumes for Shailene Woodley in the upcoming Divergent sequel; and I usually shoot my own photographs that I use as ads or for lookbooks. Greg Lauren menswear and womens- wear, at Forty Five Ten; fragrance $195, at Greg Lauren Spring/ Summer 2015 Greg Lauren's Cup of Coffee Spring/ Summer 2015 SERVANT P aul Andrew is not your average cobbler. The luxury shoe designer has woven his way through the fashion world while working with some of the most iconic names in the industry. Starting with Alexander McQueen, then Narciso Rodriguez, Anne Klein and finally Donna Karan, Andrew learned from each and launched his own line of women's shoes in 2013. His first collection garnered praise throughout the industry and laid a strong foundation for the brand. Now hard at work on his Spring 2015 collection, Andrew — who is currently one of 10 finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award — carved out a few minutes to discuss life as a designer. HOW IS THE CFDA GOING? It's been an interesting process, almost like taking on another full-time job. It has been teaching me a lot about my brand and my business and making me think about things I do in a very different way. When you start a business like this, you jump in headfirst and are suddenly entrenched in all the day- to-day activities of the job. You don't have the opportunity to step back and look at the landscape, understand where you are going and where you've been. A MASTERS IN FASHION. I graduated university in the late '90s in England and entered a competition called Graduate Fashion Week in London, in which all the top colleges put forward their best students, and I was fortunate to win. American Vogue wrote an amazing piece about me, and I was introduced to Alexander McQueen, and that's sort of how I got my first job out of school. At a certain point, I realized I needed a job that paid a little more (McQueen not being then what it is now), so I called the accessories director of Vogue UK, and she introduced me to a lot of NY-based designers. I moved [to NYC] in 1999 and worked with Narciso Rodriguez for one year, then Calvin Klein for three. When he retired, he introduced me to Donna Karan, where I worked for the better part of 10 years. LESSONS LEARNED. McQueen was all about taking a sketch to a totally different level and getting you to think outside the box. He got my creative juices flowing. Narciso was about toning back, streamlining everything, creating clean lines and modernism, while Calvin had an idea and never wavered; he taught me the importance of staying true to your original idea and not getting distracted. Donna taught me about the importance of fit and comfort, ideals that are so important to me now and a key element of what I do. WHAT KIND OF DESIGNER ARE YOU? A lot of what I do is my own ideas mixed with what women really want from a shoe. I have built a core business out of our signature pump with wing detail. It has become a very important piece for us. THE EVOLUTION OF THE STYLE. Spending 15 years working with iconic fashion designers — while flying back and forth to Italy almost 10 times a year — really taught me the craft of shoemaking. And that is so important to what we do. I've always been drawn toward an elegant single-sole stiletto style of shoe, and the years I've put in have given me a real education into the true craft of shoemaking. Because of it, I am truly a part of the manufacturing process. I hand-build the prototype of every shoe we produce to ensure the fit and comfort is just right. FALL 2014. The latest collection is a lot of fun. Much of the inspiration comes from a trip I took to Santa Fe. I have a friend who organizes a folk art market there with people from all over the world. The trip and the market were hugely inspiring. I saw work from Mali that was made from zebra skin mixed with lizard and other exotics that inspired many of our shoes. I was also inspired by the landscape and colors; the new collection uses many of the reddish and green colors for its palette. THE TOUGHER SIDE OF FASHION. Not to focus on the negative, but [the fashion calendar] can be exhausting. The schedule is 24/7. When you've finished one collection, you're already in the middle of the next. I'm about to present my Spring 2015 collection; meanwhile, I was in Italy last week, launching Pre-Fall 2015, so I'm always working. At the same time, it is quite invigorating. I like to be on the go. When I'm in one place for too long, I feel a need to be moving to the next. DREAMING BIG. We have big visions. In the next five years, we want to be a major global player in the women's shoe business. In the meantime, we are seriously considering launching a men's shoe collection. I've noticed a real niche in the market, and I see a place for a new voice in that world. WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT. Up until two years ago, many of the designers were putting out heavy, platform, chunky shoes. I felt the need for women's shoes to return to a sort of lightness — to put forth a collection that was elegant and chic, but had a joyful quality to it, all the while doing it in a very modern way. Along with this vision is the technical knowledge and experience to put out a shoe with a level of craft that many designers today simply cannot match. BY STEVEN HEMPEL. PORTRAIT SETH SEBAL. Paul Andrew

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