Gogo Lupin (real name Gregory Robert) considers himself, foremost, a gentleman. The 28-year-old model, dancer, and overall multi-hyphenate's reinvention of this dated term manifests itself through a “mix of classy and street”. Those who know him by his influencer online presence, or who have been lucky enough to catch him cut a striking figure on the streets of Paris, understand that his claim to fame is swathing himself entirely in pink. It's a move that's raised his profile among the fashion set for shirking conventional gender norms around color, plus landing him a coveted spot in Elite Model Management talent roster. Some would say he looks at the world through rose-colored glasses, but he’d call it his #PinkVision.
24/7, Gogo sports a rotating uniform of hot pink t-shirts and pastel trousers, finished off with a fresh pair of sneakers. He’s particularly taken with the Hogan Urban Trek, which he regards as a gentlemanly footwear choice to complement his self-described “cosy pink dandy sprinkled with some hip-hop flavor” style. But what’s most remarkable about Gogo’s head-to-toe get-up is not the color shock alone, but how his careful assemblage of dusky roses, rouges, and muted corals demonstrate dressing as an act of resistance. Being the only person wearing pink among a sea of black wasn’t always rewarded with castings at Tokyo Fashion Week and Vogue magazine features
“I come from the ghetto,” Gogo says frankly. One of the first things he’ll tell you is that he grew up – and still resides – in the projects on the northwestern outskirts of Paris. It’s in these ends, Gogo says, he developed both the social and shrewd aspects of his personality: “My project mentality really helped me to be honest with me first and with people,” he explained, “I can talk with everyone, everything, but don't take me for a stupid guy.”
“[Cergy] is where I actually learned how to be a man,” he tells me, and it’s the result of this precocious upbringing that led him to initially absorb the same kinds of masculine ideology and muted palettes that surrounded him. “You follow the movement, you follow your group,” he says.
Despite this, it wasn’t long until his sartorial curiosity, learned from his father and his trendsetting older brother Rudy, who was also a dancer, took hold. The former favored traditional tailored suits and expensive leathers. The latter, considered “the boss” of Cergy, was the first person in the neighborhood to fly to NYC and pick up a whole new '90s hip-hop wardrobe, complete with cloud shoes and puffer jackets in “really crazy, beautiful colors.” Gogo’s own style aspired to remix the best of both, which is why he is so drawn to Hogans. "These are not really sneakers, but really classy shoes" that he says he can mix with both street and formal fits. His affinity for pink, however, was one step too far for his family.
“At this time, I was really, really alone,” he reflected. Gogo was 17 then, had newly discovered Paris while enrolled in dance school, and it was in this fashion capital where he realized his own aesthetic agency. “Wow okay. So I really can do what I want,” he thought to himself, and suddenly all those childhood years of idolizing the Pink Panther found a place in his closet. But more than anything, Gogo naturally gravitated toward rosy hues as an outward expression of his own gratitude.
“Love saved me, it really saved me,” he confesses. When Gogo was younger, he suffered from sickle cell anemia (“the same thing as Prodigy from Mobb Deep”). Gogo believes the love from his family is what rescued him from the chain of hospital visits and tranquilizing medication that defined most of his early years. “That's why I think pink is really the perfect color for love,” he says, “And that's what I'm really here for – to share only love and believe in this.”
Even in spite of these earnest intentions, Gogo’s insistence on wearing his heart on his sleeve faced an almost unanimous backlash from family and strangers alike. Such a soft color on a black man from the projects elicited long stares in public and presumptions about his sexuality. But he refused to regress back into conformity. “You don't feel good because it's not you,” he explains, about the pre-pink years. “I was starting to feel that every day. I did this, but I don't feel good after that. It's going to be difficult, but let's do only the thing I love and I want to do.”
So Gogo continued to wear his truth. Then in 2012, he became acquainted with Pigalle designer Stephane Ashpool who cast him as a muse for the brand. Pink was difficult to find in menswear at the time and his new “second family” created bespoke pieces for him. He left dance school and started modeling full time; magazines came calling for style interviews; Millennial Pink winnowed its way into the cultural zeitgeist in summer 2016; and, over time, his community back home finally commended his daring. His parents, however, didn’t understand the extent of his influence until two years ago, when they attended his first Pink Vision exhibition in Paris, an installation where he clad 20 models entirely in pink to demonstrate the color’s highly underrated, democratic appeal. The event was so popular, attendees blocked off the street.
Now, Gogo’s parents help him dye his hair. Two months ago, much to his amusement, Gogo’s father told him pink was his favorite color, too. This hard won acceptance means he can continue to share his love all the more freely. His upcoming project, the second iteration of Pink Vision titled “Bazaar Agogo,” shares his personal battle with sickle cell. He’ll also be designing a Gogo Diary jacket, where 30 percent of the profits will be donated to a local disease association.
Gogo’s keen awareness of himself that initially led him into pink is what also keeps him loyal to his roots in the ghetto. This sense, he says, is hard to grasp onto within an industry culture where the people, as he has previously described in interviews, “love to call you ‘brother’ or ‘fam’ after meeting you once.” He knows his real brothers have been by his side for over ten years, so it’s by their side where he remains. “I feel good. I feel protected [here],” he explains. “So that's why I didn't leave my city, my projects because it makes me understand and feel like who I truly am."
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