The Artful Style of Lauren Wittels

Lauren wears a Maison Rabih Kayrouz dress with a black Saint Laurent jacket and Saint Laurent jeans
All photos Instagram

Lauren Wittels is a dedicated collector of fashion with an idiosyncratic personal style that is intuitive, exuberant, and joyful. The 6’2” gallerist first caught my eye at the Art Show Gala Preview Benefit in February 2018 clad in a Dries Van Noten dress.

She was a towering figure among the extraordinary small-scale sculptures in her booth. I always take note when I find that rare woman with a strong identifiable look and unique way of presenting herself.

“I’m 6’2,” and I embrace looking unusual. I’ve never worried about looking like other people.”

Lauren Wittels

Lauren is a partner at the acclaimed New York-based Luhring Augustine Gallery. The Columbia University grad has run her own gallery throughout her career, served as the contemporary art expert at Citibank Private Bank art advisory services, and founded a nonprofit arts publishing house.

Lauren wears a dress by The Row accessorized with a
Dries Van Noten bag and shoes

Lauren also sits on the Art Dealers Association of America and Visual AIDS boards and is a faculty member of the Artist in the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of Art. Lauren recently relocated from Manhattan to the Gold Coast of Chicago, where she resides with her beloved 8-year-old rescue terrier mix, Bee.

Her interest in fashion began at a very young age. “Clothes have always been IT for me. All my earliest positive memories are about fashion,” says Wittels, who turns 55 in June. Over a lengthy phone call, she explained that during COVID, she became bolder and more experimental. “COVID freed me up.”

Lauren wears a Saint Laurent jacket, Romeo Gigli men’s shirt,
and Dries Van Noten skirt with train

Lauren started wearing 5-inch Dries Van Noten platforms, making her almost 7 feet tall. Instead of saving her evening clothes for special occasions and events (which were not happening), Lauren started wearing them to work at her Chelsea gallery, which reopened in July 2020.

“I would never carry an ‘it’ bag. “I’m not a status person. I love clothes but not logos. I don’t want to be a billboard for insecurity.”

Lauren Wittels

Lauren is regularly posting pictures of her interesting fashion combos on Instagram. She currently has over 3725 followers, myself included.

Lauren wears a Saint Laurent Jacket, a No.21 gold mini dress
and black leather leggings

By Lauren’s own admission, she has built up a wardrobe of “wonderful things,” which she repeatedly wears, artfully moving them around to create completely different looks. In fact, she has challenged herself to never repeat an outfit.

She is a fashion knowledgeable, savvy shopper, who is super assiduous when finding great deals. While some of her favorite pieces are purchased at retail, others are scored at unbelievably low prices due to diligent daily searches on everything from 1stdibs.com to The RealReal and eBay. For example, The Row dress, seen was purchased for $275 during Barneys’ “death sale”.

Lauren wears a Lanvin cardigan, vintage Tee, and Dries Van Noten skirt

Lauren does not have a uniform per se. Still, certain constants reappear in her photos: the sequins, the inventive layering, the mannish trousers, anything by Dries Van Noten, and a Thom Browne blue oxford button-down shirt that works with everything.

Then there are those omnipresent thick oversized rectangular eyeglasses (using Celine and Wyeth frames), the enormous tortoiseshell chain link necklace found at a consignment shop, and a Prada strap removed from a bag and repurposed as a necklace.

Lauren wears a Maison Rabih Kayrouz dress under a Gap sweater

Lauren’s favorite pieces are the navy and gold Maison Rabih Kayrouz dress she bought at Ikram in Chicago. In the photo here, Lauren has paired it with a black Saint Laurent jacket that was part of a pantsuit that she found at The RealReal, reduced from $3000 to $500. Pairing it with a gray sweater from The Gap, Lauren gives the dress new life by instantly transforming it into a fabulous skirt.

Lauren wears a No. 21 gold dress layered over a black Helmut Lang dress with an Alexander McQueen belt

The gold sequined one-shoulder dress that Lauren admittedly wears “all the time” is by Alessandro Dell’Acqua for No.21. “It’s a real gem,” says Lauren, who scored it for a “gem” of price, $125, at The RealReal.

Lauren wears the No.21 gold dress over a vintage Romeo Gigli man’s shirt and Calvin Klein trousers

Lauren has layered the dress over another dress (the black dress seen here is by Helmut Lang, purchased at Nordstrom Rack). She has also worn it over black leather leggings and her black Saint Lauren blazer and paired it with a vintage men’s Romeo Gigli shirt purchased at the Chelsea Flea Market and Calvin Klein trousers bought at The Outnet.

Lauren wears a Marc Jacobs lilac sequined pantsuit with a Thom Browne shirt

Another favorite is the lilac sequined pantsuit from Marc Jacobs’ fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection. Lauren bought it at Bergdorf Goodman, where it was on sale from $3000 to $500. The Thom Browne shirt was purchased in a man’s size XL. Though not vintage, it was purchased from a vintage dealer.

Lauren pairs the Marc Jacobs blazer with a Dries Van Noten skirt

Lauren likes to break the suit up and wear the jacket with a long Dries Van Noten skirt in turquoise with a raised copper leaf pattern that she found at The RealReal. She has also worn the lilac sequined pants with a black Saint Laurent blazer, the oxford Thom Browne shirt, and a Marni cardigan thrown over her shoulders.

The Lanvin gold and silver sequined cardigan circa 2017 is one of Lauren’s indispensable finds, scored at The RealReal for $275. One of Lauren’s inspired outfits combines the cardigan with a printed Marni top (also bought at The RealReal) and her beloved extra long skinny Saint Laurent denim trousers.

Lauren wears a sequined Lanvin cardigan with Marni top and Saint Laurent jeans

Lauren admits she paid retail for the pants. “They’re worth it” because they are so long. Lauren had to remove two inches from the hem, and they don’t wrinkle.

Lauren wears a Marni cardigan, Thom Browne shirt, Sally LaPointe sequined skirt

The thick wool patterned Marni cardigan (with buttons on the sleeves which convert it to a cape) was also an admitted splurge purchased at retail. I love how Lauren nonchalantly juxtaposes it with the Thom Browne shirt and a pink paillette skirt by Sally LaPointe. Lauren spotted it on a mannequin in the window of The RealReal in Chicago. It was reduced several times, and Lauren bought it without even trying it on.

Lauren’s “insanely fabulous” green iridescent wide-legged pants are by Dries Van Noten. They were purchased at Nordstrom. In this shot, Lauren pairs it with a No. 21 yellow and black striped sweater with a sash, bought at The RealReal, a scarf purchased on eBay, and a Chanel jacket that belonged to her late mother.

Lauren wears Dries Van Noten pants with a No. 21 sweater
and her mom’s Chanel jacket

In her Instagram post, Lauren poignantly recalled at one point, when she put her hand in one of the pockets, she found her mom’s tissue still there.

Lauren admits that getting “jazzed up” draws a lot of attention, and she loves it. “It’s asserting your worth, your experience, and your value. It makes me feel proud that I’m 55 and have been in this business for 30-something years, I know what I’m doing, and it shows!”

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I could not agree more.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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