Lucien Clarke Epitomises The No Rules Era Of Style
Lucien Clarke is not a model. Yeah, you’ll see him on runways on occasion – he walked Virgil Abloh’s LV show in Paris in January. Uh huh, he’ll carry a magazine fashion editorial – exhibit A, just here. But no: not a model. He’s something entirely more.
Really, the 31-year-old Palace skater teeters painlessly in that sweet spot between skater culture, style’s zeitgeist, and everything that a modern artist-about-town should be: chill, talented, and with plenty of fits to boast.
Top it Off
The right hat can do wonders. And right now, that hat is most definitely a bucket hat. Flip the brim for a little extra something.
(Bucket hat, $515, jacket, $5,225, Fendi)
Clarke took up skating at 14, and eventually fell in with the Palace Skate crew, a collective who became phenoms unto themselves, dropping unmistakably British skate tapes and, eventually, an eponymous clothing line.
“I feel like skating is an intersection of all kinds of people from different backgrounds. Because of that, the styles that emerge are genuine and unique which make it something really special,” says Clarke. “Some of us are also fortunate enough to travel the world and learn about other cultures and be influenced by things we see on the street while skating.”
Clarke first met Abloh in skate circles – well before the latter would rise to become the toast of fashion’s new class.
Flex a Little
Streetwear is grounded in good old-fashioned anarchy – so don’t be shy to, every now and then,
just do you.
(Jacket, $780, t-shirt, $305, bag, $555, Off-White. Joggers, $155, Palace. Hat, $450, boots, $1,250, Gucci)
“LV is iconic and has been part of my culture growing up especially with my mother. I’ve known Virgil for a few years now – one of the realest people I’ve ever met,” he says. “He’s doing an incredible job at the helm of LV and paving the way for creatives by opening up opportunities within fashion for emerging talents.”
It was an easy choice, tapping Clarke to front GQ’s blowout streetwear feature – his style is anchored by that signature, effortless ease that only comes with totally, wholly, unmistakably owning who you are. For his part, Clarke thinks the term “streetwear” could have its days numbered.
Sweats are near the top of the streetwear totem pole, and for good reason: they can be as comfy as they are impactful.
(Sweater, $180, Palace)
“I see streetwear as a kinda outdated term – especially as high-end fashion designers now create entire collections of clothing and shoes based on what normally would be categorised as street, and come from the youth or a small independent label,” he says. “Streetwear is cool because it has in a way cut up a fashion class system and incidentally made brands more accessible and wearable. Clothing should be practical and with comfort, allow you to go about your day and get things done, nothing fussy.”
Take note of the hands – you’ll rarely see Clarke without a stack of jewellery, something that he says holds supreme sentimental value.
If you’re terrified of leaving a break in your trousers, this mightn’t be for you. Then again, the greatest style moments come from experimentation.
(Hat, $185, A-Cold-Wall at Matches Fashion. Jacket, $1450, Balenciaga at Mr Porter. Trousers, $625, Off-White. Sneakers, $280, Eytys)
“My father was a jeweller, so my rings are very personal to me. At the moment, I’ve been wearing three at a time: one’s a Kentucky horse ring which I got from a recent Palace trip, one my friend Ellie Mercer designed, and the third is from India where my girl and I spent Christmas last year.”
Revive the Print
Prints can work magic. And when they’re as wavy and dynamic as this Versace number, they can work wonders.
(Shirt, $1250, Versace)
For those swerving toward fashion’s new mood for the first time, Clarke advocates for some Vivienne Westwood (“Vivienne herself is such a political and social warrior – pure punk”), A.P.C. (“The founder, Jean, told me recently that he used to skate in the ’70s on the old, flat-shaped boards), the North Face, and Palace (“Obviously, always”).
Layer with Feeling
Sometimes, you can keep it simple – and allow a hero hue (like street green) to carry the whole darn look.
(Hat, $40, trousers, $170, Palace. Jacket and funnel top set, $2355, sweater, $595, Balenciaga at Matches Fashion. Sneakers, $280, Eytys)
When he’s not dipping into any number of creative side hustles (video, design and photography projects are en route), Clarke is happily leaning-in on fashion’s moment.
Take it Apart
The graphic burst of a stripe will always give your style something. Swerve towards unexpected colour combos to keep things fresh.
(Hat, striped top, t-shirt, trousers, price on request, Craig Green. Sneakers, $280, Eytys)
“Menswear and fashion in general is having an exciting moment. Many collections are gender fluid – my girl is always stealing my stuff and wearing it – and technology has given new designers a platform to reach the masses. Everything is linked culturally across art, sport, music, and moments in history are referenced over and over again, creating this regurgitated sphere of ideas with endless possibility,” he says. “But then the negative is that you have to work harder for originality and to get your work out first. It’s cool that people can pursue whatever interests them and do multiple things at once, there is no longer a stigma that you must choose a path and stick to it that say, our parents would have had.”
Find Double Denim
Double denim has a place in 2019 – it just needs to be totally unapologetic, and anchored by some get-outta-the-way sneakers.
(Shirt, jeans, sneakers, prices on request, Louis Vuitton)
Rock a Skater Suit
Yeah, suiting can get street-y. The key: leave plenty of room, and fuss around 60 percent less.
(Blazer, t-shirt, trousers, sneakers, prices on request, Burberry)
Photography: Danny Lowe
Styling: Rhona Ezuma