GREATEST / Gogo Lupin
The multidisciplinary Parisian discusses his life as a muse and his perspective through Pink Vision.
Growing up, Paris native Grégory Robert had an inclination for the interdisciplinary. He taught himself to dance, sought out the latest fashion—each interest another opportunity to picture the world through his lens of love and compassion. This was especially true in his relationship to color, despite ubiquitous disapproval. Robert, known to many by his alter ego, Gogo Lupin, was raised in the Parisian suburb Cergy, home to tightly-knit, conservative communities. There wasn’t much support for a man whose greatest love was the color pink. But today’s another story. A lauded multi-hyphenate, Robert has taken to the streets around the globe, spreading his affection-infused view of the world: Pink Vision.
People usually start by asking you questions about the way you look. Does that bother you?
People automatically gravitate toward the physical. They’re not going to look any further. People forget that there’s a story to everything in the end. That’s how I see things. I love stories, and I love telling them. Life is a long story.
How do the different fields in which you work inform one another?
I don’t give myself any limits. When I started dancing, I had no idea I’d become a model. When I became a model, I had no idea I would get into creative directing, etc. I see doors all around me, and whenever I can open one, I do. People love to say that I’m talented. I don’t think I’m talented; I’m just curious.
Does that mean you choose your work at random?
I probably had three or four consecutive modeling opportunities. I said no to each one. I was really focused on dancing. But once you open yourself, you realize you can do whatever you want. That’s why I say that there are only doors around me. If I like something, I’ll do it. Everything I do is based on how I feel, be it a shoot, a magazine interview, an editorial, a dance show. If there isn’t sincerity in the request, I won’t do it.
When I was actively modeling, I realized that models are basically treated like hangers. When I went to Milan with pink or blue hair, my agency would freak out because I had to check a certain box. From then on, I realized that I didn’t want to be part of that world. I wanted to be myself. Now, if you work with me, you take me for what I am. And I learned that I could say no. That’s our only real power today: saying no.
You’ve said that street culture has deteriorated. What do you mean by that?
My favorite movie today is La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz. That’s where street culture comes from for me. Today, the way fashion uses street culture as a fashion effect really bothers me because there’s no history behind it. I come from the projects, and I still live there. Sure, I’ve done stupid things in my life, but that doesn’t make me a hoodlum. People today appropriate street culture because they think it’s cool to play hoodlum.
If you wear a pair of Reqin [shoes], I think you should know that silhouette’s history. Just like Lacoste outfits—there’s a story behind all of this. I don’t like to see people wearing a Lacoste outfit with a pair of Reqin shoes without knowing anything about where those items came from. That’s just my opinion.
What inspired you when you were growing up?
I grew up in Cergy-Pontoise in a neighborhood called Les Louvrais. I still live there today. That’s where I feel the most comfortable. My childhood was extremely inspiring. It was crazy, actually! That’s where I learned what life was. You know, when you experience things that you shouldn’t be experiencing at a young age, that’s how you grow and mature. My brother was into hip-hop, like Snoop Dogg and Mobb Deep, so he was really where I got my inspiration. He had the best style. As a little brother, you do what your big brother does. I started dancing because he danced. I tried a bit of everything, basketball, soccer, handball—but my core was dance. People used to call me “Slim Gogo.” They’d ask me to dance everywhere with my little body.
I see doors all around me, and whenever I can open one, I do. People love to say that I’m talented. I don’t think I’m talented; I’m just curious.
What kind of dance do you gravitate toward?
I’m particularly touched by classical dance. I love it. You learn the lightness of movement and the maintenance of the body. It’s an extremely poetic dance that requires complete control. You need incredible strength.
What do you think of when you dance?
Dancing comes from the heart, and that’s what I dance with. This is going to sound weird, but I think of nothingness when I dance. It’s up to me to make something of nothing. It’s liberating. I travel with my body, and I want you to travel, too. It’s all in the subtleties and in the detail.
What differences do you see between street culture in Paris and other parts of the world?
I’m a lot more accepted overseas than in France. French people are a bit complicated when it comes to accepting difference. They’ll say, “I don’t like this, so I won’t accept it.” Abroad, they open the door for me. It’s only when I come back from working overseas that French people tell me I’m doing great work. Five years ago, those people wouldn’t even look at me twice. I’m very proud of being French and Parisian, but I think French people are too skittish.
I work on my own projects, either by myself or with the help of my best friends, Samo and Taylor [Martinez]. After that, I share them. If you like them, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s cool.
Speaking of your friends, how did [the art collective] Flower Boys come about?
We’ve known each other for 10 years and share the same perspective on life, so Flower Boys created itself, really. I was working at Pigalle with Taylor. If you don’t know the store, Pigalle is full of flowers. One afternoon, we were taking care of flowers, adding pictures and videos of what we were doing to our Snapchat stories and captioning them “Flower Boys” for fun. Eventually, people picked it up and started calling us Flower Boys.
What projects is Flower Boys working on today?
We have so many! We’re really working on our music now. Our single “One More Dance” came out on all the platforms, and we’re currently working on the EP. The music video will come out soon. Each one of us has his own projects going on, but we don’t hesitate to help each other. That’s how we started, and that’s how it’ll end. We work together. I don’t trust anyone in the creative industry, or at least I trust very few people. People have varying definitions of “brother.” In this fashion culture, people love to call you “brother” or “fam” after meeting you once. I don’t trust those people. I have my brothers whom I’ve known for 10 years.
Why did you choose to work with photography?
A photograph always speaks about the present moment. All these influencers take hyper-calculated photos with beautiful backgrounds. I do the opposite. I’m in the real. If the background behind me is disgusting, I don’t care because that’s where I am! I use photography to show the real side of things, the side influencers don’t show.
When did you first realize you loved pink?
I always knew pink was my color. When I was a kid, I loved the Pink Panther. When you live in the projects, wearing pink is complicated because you’re really just following what your other friends are wearing. That’s fashion: trying to resemble your friends. But the older you get, the more you accept yourself. One day, I was fed up with it all and wanted to wear what I wanted, so I started wearing pink. A pink pair of shoes, a pink t-shirt, pink pants. Then I dyed my hair. It’s now been four or five years that I’ve had the total 24-hour pink look.
Tell me about your Pink Vision [fashion] exhibition?
I was one of the only guys wearing pink in Paris when I started working on this exhibition. People were looking at me weird. They challenged my person with their eyes. I thought it was funny. So, I asked 20 or so people to pose in pink. I wanted to show that pink was for everyone. At the end of the day, pink softens your look. Why? Because pink is the color of love, and I think we’re here to share and live love.
Did you grow up with a specific pair of sneakers?
I grew up with a bunch of sneakers, specifically Reqin. When you come from the projects, you have to know what a Reqin is. I also wore Nike [Air] Prestos, of course. Where I grew up, you had to have a pair. When I started dancing, I wore the adidas Stan Smith, a classic Run DMC shoe that every dancer wears starting out. But if I were to really look back on the first sneakers, I’d say it was a pair of [Nike] Air Max 90s. My brother bought them for me. White color scheme with black Swooshes. They were nuts. No one else at school had them.
How do you integrate sneakers into your look?
I love sneakers with structure and pastel colors. I love pink, but above all, I love pastel colors. The name of the game is to mix pink with a million colors. You can mix it with green, yellow, beige, purple. Color play is my favorite.
What pair are you wearing these days?
I love Hogan sneakers. These days, I really love the Off-White Converse, which I wear all the time. They’re great to wear with different colored socks. As I always say, the devil’s in the detail.
Behind Pink Vision, there’s a true message of love. For me, man and woman together is perfection.
Who is Gogo Lupin?
My name is Grégory Robert and my nickname is Gogo Lupin. People often ask me who’s who. Grégory Robert is the man who’s afraid of today’s world. He’s a dreamer. He wants a family, a house and a full-time job. Gogo Lupin is my alter ego. He’s the woman here to make all of Grégory’s dreams come true. It’s an alliance between man and woman. I accept and celebrate the woman in me just as much as I accept the man in me. I am a man. I am heterosexual. But I am also woman.
Ninety percent of men today have a feminine side, just like ninety percent of women have a male side. I accept that duality and have created an alliance. People started telling me that I was the perfect intersection of man and woman. I love that. Behind Pink Vision, there’s a true message of love. For me, man and woman together is perfection. That’s how I appropriate that union. Many people will have a same-sex alter ego. For me, it’s a woman. It’s the perfect mix. When you see a couple outside, it’s beautiful. Two people loving each other is beautiful. It gives you wings! Together, Grégory Robert and Gogo Lupin make magic, create an impossible dream. Grégory needs Gogo just like Gogo needs Grégory. It’s a perfect alliance.