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Greg Lauren, Nephew of Ralph, Launches a Hand-Sewn Collection

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Greg Lauren with his wife Jessie Spano, um, Elizabeth Berkley
Greg Lauren with his wife Jessie Spano, um, Elizabeth Berkley

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Greg Lauren, nephew of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren—and, bonus trivia, husband of Jessie Spano (a.k.a. Elizabeth Berkley)—is getting into the family business. Today's WWD reports that Greg's launching a hand-sewn fashion collection that's already been picked up by specialty stores including Barneys New York.

Racked spoke with Lauren last year not long after his "Alteration" exhibit closed in New York—the installation was a fascinating fusion of fashion iconography and social commentary expressed through the medium of men's fashion. Lauren created a convincing collection of men's garments meticulously constructed from special Japanese paper. Exhibited in a storefront gallery space, "Alteration" was often mistaken for a shop by people passing by. The pieces themselves were extraordinary—"leather" jackets that appeared oiled and waxed to a bad-boy motocross patina, razor-sharp white dinner jackets, and superhero uniforms.

"I think I have something to say in the area of clothing," Lauren told us. "A lot of my work has to do with contrasting themes—the pain beneath beauty, the vulnerability behind an iconic, strong façade. I wanted to look at identity and image and the way it's shaped by clothing and fashion and who we aspire to be."

The self-reflective nature of his work is no accident. From childhood, Lauren says he was spoon-fed images of historical figures, images of style icons, men to emulate. And it’s his dissection and analysis of American idolism—both literal and metaphorical—that resonates so well with audiences.

“If you understood how they were and how they dressed, you could learn how to be them,” Lauren says. The "Alteration" exhibition notes read:

Each piece serves as a "portrait" where the artist confronts complex facts and ideas about inherited ideals, aspirations and dreams, and the challenges one faces in building individual identity. He explores the love/hate relationship with clothing and all that it can symbolize. He clearly states, “I was taught to dress like Cary Grant and JFK, but actually felt more like Charlie Chaplin or Oliver Twist.” This show is an attempt to make manifest the feelings and the facts by embracing the awkward pain and sadness of being taught to play a definitive role set up by others, only to realize the sacrificial cost is not the final option. With this confrontational awareness, comes a realization of the intricate fabric of one’s own image and a world of one’s own making.
“I was definitely exploring the idea that these archetypes are a thing of the past for me," Lauren says. "The economy caught up to what I was addressing on a personal level—it struck such a chord with people, people coming in and looking at a tattered black and white slightly torn paper three-piece suit and saying, that’s so great, that’s so now. They’re right.”

Lauren was born and raised in New York City and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BA in Art History at Princeton and has exhibited at Neuhoff/Edelman Gallery in New York and DACRA in Miami. He was previously an actor and had a recurring role on The Young and the Restless.
· Greg Lauren [Official Site]
· The family business [WWD]