We try to stay away from labels at SLU– but creating new and not expected ones, especially when they are as multi-faceted as Maurice’s trademark Gospel-Urban-Prep, is too tempting. The mauve Raf Simons button-down has a “crisp enough for church” written all over it, right down to the cut-out details, while his turquoise trousers are country-club ready and his leopard Louboutin sandals are the perfect touch of conspicuous consumption; Maurice said he had to have them, even though he had just been laid off at the time. Most reflective of Maurice, however, are the vintage African glass beads, a detail that gives his look the stamp of individuality it needs and exactly the kind of thing he feels menswear needs more of in order to spice up the boredom factor.
It’s all about the composition, Maurice feels, like his grandmother’s hats. A milliner herself, she wore a hat to church every Sunday, encrusted with jewels, plumes and petals. You need to dig to find the gems when it comes to beautiful things, he feels, whether it is the cuffs of hammered gold sequins on his classically striped Dries van Noten shirt or the chandelier in his dining room to which he added opulent black rooster feathers. In his dreamy, meticulously-crafted floral arrangements he often incorporates just such a fantastical surprise. Despite Maurice’s obsession with the specifics of aesthetics, he manages to make everything look completely effortless, in that “LA” kind of way,” like the way he adds a fringe necklace or a sparkly clutch to a long sleeve tee-shirt, pink pants and Vivienne Westwood plastic tassle loafers to go out at night.
“When you don’t fit into something, it forces you to create what you need to create in order to live. I think that’s informed my practice of everything,” Maurice says. He wears a broach instead of a tie, boldly striped socks with his penny loafers, and deadstock vintage ribbons as pocket squares. And he is never without his signature collection of tribal bangles, no matter how traditional the rest of his outfit. Maurice describes his “Brady Bunch” family as typically Christian; his father was a pastor. The four kids, along with the parents, moved in single file, spoke only when spoken to, were proper and mild-mannered and followed the rules. It was not until it all crumbled when his father left his mother, that his view of religion – and of the status quo – shifted. “In a weird way… being a closeted gay person, there was no way for me to be me until this happened. Instead of being an android, I manifested in my own direction.”