FASHION AD MAN, THE BEAUTIFUL LORENZO MARTONE, TALKS CREATIVITY, SEX AND FOOD IN THIS EXCLUSIVE DIRTY INTERVIEW
PERHAPS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS VERY PUBLIC RELATIONSHIP WITH FASHION MAGNATE MARC JACOBS, THE BRAZILIAN BORN ITALIAN LORENZO MARTONE IS FAR MORE THAN A STUDLY VISAGE. HE’S FOUNDER OF NY BASED TALENT AGENCY ARC NY. HE’S A BRAND STRATEGIST AT CHANDELIER CREATIVE, ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREMIER FASHION ADVERTISING AGENCIES. IN ADDITION, MARTONE CONCEIVED OF, AND RECENTLY LAUNCHED HIS LATEST PROJECT, SWIMWEAR LINE ‘NYCKED’ NAMED AFTER HIS LOVE OF NYC.
WE MET UP WITH THE GLOBETROTTING CREATIVE IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF LONDON FOR A SUPER SEXY PHOTO SHOOT, WHILE ON HIS SUMMER HOLIDAY. AS WARM AND KIND AS HE IS BEAUTIFUL, LORENZO OPENED UP ABOUT HIS CHILDHOOD, CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS, HIS FIRST GAY EXPERIENCE AND EVEN SHARED A SECRET DIRTY FANTASY!
DIRTY: WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW?
LORENZO MARTONE: On a plane from Amsterdam to Barcelona!
D: WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU DID THIS MORNING?
LM: Rented a bike (everyone has at least two in Amsterdam) and went for a tour in this gorgeous town!
D: HOW HAS YOUR SUMMER BEEN?
LM: June and July are pure work for me… With Arc NY, my talent PR agency with Ryan Brown, we had a lot of events and movie premieres to attend with our models, including the Follow the Sun party hosted by Alessandra Ambrosio in the Hamptons during 4th of July weekend. And my swimwear line with Jules Kim, Nycked, we presented our 2012 resort collection at the W in South Beach. So now in August I took some time off and came to Europe to visit friends… Let the fun begin!
D: WHAT’S THE MOST FUN YOU’VE HAD THIS SUMMER SO FAR?
LM: The Nycked after party at the Wall in Miami was super fun, very good vibe and the feeling of accomplishing the show made it even more special!
D: DO YOU COME FROM A LARGE FAMILY? BROTHERS / SISTERS?
LM: No, very small actually, only one brother, younger, super cute… I miss him very much, he lives in Sao Paulo.
D: YOU WERE BORN IN BRAZIL, BUT I’M TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE OF ITALIAN DECENT?
LM: Yes, our family origins are from Trento, Northern Italy, but my grandparents migrated to Brazil after the war. Sao Paulo has a huge italian community.
D: I READ SOMETHING ONLINE ONCE ABOUT A PRIVILEGED UPBRINGING THAT INCLUDED PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND LOTS OF TRAVEL - WHAT WERE THE EARLY YEARS LIKE FOR YOU?
LM: I’m not sure about privileged, but certainly comfortable. I did go to private schools and when I was 15 years old my parents sent me to live in Riverside, CA, for a year. However, I started working very early in life… I became very independent at 19. I went to university in Sao Paulo and chose the night course, so I could start working full time from an early age.
D: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB EVER?
LM: I started working while in university. It was in a company called STB — Student Travel Bureau — I was in marketing there, and it was based in Sao Paulo. It’s the same company that sent me to Madrid a few years later, to work on the launch of their European operations.
D: AS A KID, WHAT DID YOU IMAGINE YOUR ADULT LIFE BEING LIKE? WHAT DID YOU PICTURE YOURSELF DOING?
LM: I always remember being passionate about advertising. I was that type of kid that LOVED watching the ads during the breaks, and as a teenager spent more time looking at the ads in magazines than actually reading the articles. The Brazilian ad industry is recognized world-wide by its creativity and wittiness, and I remember being really attracted to that. I always loved fashion, and since I was a kid I was very selective about what I wore. I knew I was going to be in a creative industry…
D: WERE YOU THE ARTSY KID? THE NERDY KID? THE SPORTY KID?
LM: My parents made sure to enroll me in all kinds of extracurricular courses. They thought it was important to give me options… I did 4 years of piano lessons, 7 years of swimming at a very serious private swimming institute… I also took theater classes, and my dad, being a nerd himself, would teach me math at night, which I hated! My favorite subjects in school were always arts, history, music…
D: DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW THAT YOU WERE INTO GUYS, EVEN AS A YOUNG BOY?
LM: When I learned later in life that being homosexual is not a choice, but rather genetic, I started to realize that there were moments in school when I felt attracted to men. My hot swim instructor for instance. But throughout my teenage years I had girlfriends that I had sex with. I was 19 when I had my first gay experience.
D: HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
LM: I was backpacking through Europe. It was in Brussels, Belgium. It all happened really fast, so I don’t know his name or anything. I was 19.
D: WHERE DID YOU GO TO UNIVERSITY? WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
LM: In Sao Paulo, at a University called Anhembi Morumbi. I did their advertising and communications 4-year course.
D: YOU ALSO HAVE A LUXURY BRAND ADVERTISING MBA, FROM ESG IN PARIS. WHAT WAS THAT PROCESS LIKE?
LM: I was living in Madrid at the time, and felt my time there was over. Madrid is a beautiful city, but a bit provincial and I needed somewhere more cosmopolitan. In 2004 the hot topic in communications was branding, and I had a girlfriend in Paris doing this same MBA. I went to visit her for a week and decided to apply to ESG. 4 months later, I had sold all of my furniture and moved to Paris! It was a magnificent experience. Very international and Paris being a luxury mecca, we had access to professors that were CEOs of amazing companies such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, just to mention a few. The MBA was the hardest thing in my life, because half of the subjects involved international law, all types of mathematics and accounting courses, which, as I mentioned before, are NOT part of my talents.
D: GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE?
LM: Definitely, yes. It opened my mind and made me I realize that I want to be an employer, not an employee. It also gave me a foundation in business, helping to balance my creative side. Good ideas are nothing without strategy. And the cherry on the cake was learning French fluently, and learning a lot about french culture and joie de vivre!
D: DID IT SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS OF PERSUASION?
LM: An MBA transforms you into an achiever. It was 15 months of hard core intensive classes. I started every day at 7am, including Saturdays, and many days I would be there until 10 pm. There were so many projects and assignments that you learn how to work under pressure and fast. In the french system, the higher your GPA, the higher your chances of getting a good internship. So it’s VERY competitive. It was scary at times.
D: IS NEW YORK CITY WHERE YOU LIVE FULL TIME?
LM: Yes, for 4 years now. I’m obsessed and addicted to New York. Its home for me.
D: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST BORING THING ABOUT NEW YORK?
LM: Two things: first the LONG winter! UGH! Then, the fact that there is ALWAYS something going on. It works both ways: Its a sign of the dynamism of the city, but also it makes the social scene a bit less special. The feeling of having free time in New York is a bit scary, because it seems you could be missing something. I find that quite boring. But I guess it all helped me to become selective. To be quite honest, New York and boring should not go in the same sentence. New York is a dream.
D: WHEN WERE YOU LAST IN BRAZIL? IS MOST OF YOUR FAMILY STILL THERE?
LM: Oh, just a few weeks ago, I took Jason Wu to Sao Paulo to promote a collaboration he did with a shoe brand I work with called Melissa. It was my 7th time this year alone. I went for new years eve, carnival and five times for work. I feel I’m always there, it’s great.
D: IN 2009 YOU FOUNDED TALENT AGENCY, ARC NEW YORK. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INTO TALENT MANAGEMENT?
LM: Working at Chandelier, a NY boutique ad agency, I met many people in the modeling industry, Ryan Brown included. He was a booker at Elite and was developing their marketing department and a big part of the strategy was to do PR around their biggest models. He had decided to leave and came to me asking if I knew someone, or if I would be interested in becoming his partner in this idea of his. We shaped the business model together and I fell in love with the project. It’s a perfect combo because I use a lot of my advertising background with the models in their branding.
D: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS?
LM: We currently represent Alessandra Ambrosio, Irina Shayk, Julie Henderson, Julie Ordon, Jeisa Chiminazzo and Fernanda Motta . All the girls are so lovely and talented, with amazing careers.
D: WHO’S CAREER OUT THERE DO YOU THINK IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF BRILLIANT BRANDING?
LM: In the modeling world, definitely Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum. They both have collected a vast number of brands under their names (in most cases as endorsement models), and are financially very well off. In a different universe, certainly Kim Kardashian. But there are other cases in different industries that I’m fascinated by. Like Philippe Starck or Andree Puttman in the hotel and interior design industry. They have ultra powerful names world-wide and every product or property they touch becomes a gold mine. It’s a longer process because unlike the model/celebrity world, where branding comes handy for fast consumption, in the second scenario, the equity around the name is helpful to secure success in investments that are much more timeless.
I also can’t deny the excellent work within the Hermes and Chanel brands. Mind blowing DNA is of course the foundation to an incredible result in branding. I consider them brilliant because every, EVERY product that comes out of these houses are recognizable without having to look for a label. Thats brilliant branding to me.
D: CHANDELIER IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE AGENCY – HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE GUYS OVER THERE?
LM: When I decided to move to NY, I hired a head hunter and she organized several interviews. That was in 2007, and the moment I walked in, I knew Chandelier was perfect for me. What office has a baby grand piano and an amusement park PINK helicopter after all?! It’s an office that doesn’t feel like an office. It also has an extraordinary fashion library and amazing talent. Richard Christiensen, the founder is pure creativity and his motto is “too much is never enough!” A belief I also share! (Laughs) Oh, and by the way, when an employee joins the company, instead of receiving a traditional human resources guide book, you receive the DVD pack of Dynasty. I mean, pure fabulousness!
D: WHAT ARE SOME PROJECTS YOU’RE WORKING ON?
LM: I split my time in 3. I still work at Chandelier with some clients like 7 for all mankind. Then, from January through April, I focus on Nycked, my swimwear brand, because during these four months is the time we have to create the collection and produce samples and do fittings. Arc NY is the project that takes up most of my time. The publicist job sounds glamourous because we get to go with the most beautiful girls in the world to the most coveted events. But there is a lot of work involved – immediately we have to write releases and select pictures to serve the press. I had projects and events that I had to write entire releases from the event, using my phone. And my girls are very active in the cultural and social scene. It’s a year round project!
D: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
LA: I moved from France to America 4 years ago, so I think in five years I will be in New York still. Enough moving! (Laughs) I think I have planted enough seeds to keep myself busy for the next five years. I will be working for all three companies I’m involved with at the moment. Hopefully creating amazing campaigns within the Chandelier Creative crew, keep building my girls’ careers and branding within Arc NY, and of course, developing my swimwear line Nycked. Sucess doesn’t happen from one day to the next, and I know that If I want to succeed I have to work super hard. My life objective is happiness, and work is a big pillar to that goal, but I also see myself doing things I love in order to reach that happiness. Eating, dancing and traveling allincluded!
A few times in my life I've had moments of clarity where the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think. - Tom Ford
D: WOULD YOU SAY YOU’RE A TYPICAL TAURUS?
LM: Definately yes… Love food, very romantic, very curious, a bit difficult and hard worker. Also a bit too persistant sometimes, and tend to think im always right, which comes across me being obnoxious. Not true!!!! Its all fault of the cosmos and the stars. (Smiles)
D: WHAT WAS THE LAST GREAT ART EXHIBIT YOU SAW?
LM: John Currin at Gagosian. Mind blowing! I also enjoyed George Condo at the new museum.
D: DO YOU COLLECT ART?
LM: I’ m starting to. I’m very interested in having a real collection one day. I have (and am very proud of) an Aaron Young, two sketches by Murakami, one Mr. Brainwash, and one skateboard George Condo did… I stalked him until he signed the piece! (Laughs) I’m also interested in mid-century sculptures and furniture. I have two sculptures (a bird and a plant, bath in brass) by American artist Curtis Jere. I dream of owning a John Currin, a Terrence Koh, and a Scott Campbell.
D: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MONOGAMY?
LM: I do. However my longest relationship was only 2 and a half years. A lot of couples I know that have been together for 15 or 20 years have healthy open relationships. I often wonder if that influences a relationship’s longevity.
D: WHAT KIND OF GUYS DO YOU FIND SEXY?
LM: Guys with amazing personalities. Being interesting is key. I don’t really have a particular physical type, although I do prefer a man smaller than me, but again, what turns me on is a guy’s brain. I tend to like creative types.
D: BLONDE OR BRUNETTE?
LM: Im so not that type! (Laughs)
D: ARE YOU SEEING ANYONE?
LM: No, I’m single at the moment.
D: NOW I HAVE TO ASK YOU, IN RETROSPECT, WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING MARRIED TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST FASHION DESIGNERS?
LM: Actually, we were never married, there was a lot of press speculation around a party a friend threw for us, where, just for fun, they prepared us a wedding cake. But being with Marc was absolutely the best, and most loving relationship I ever had. He is the most incredible human being I know.
D: ARE YOU AND MARC STILL FRIENDS?
LM: Best friends.
D: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
LM: A lot of the english bands. But the XX is my favorite.
D: FAVORITE BOOK?
LM: Dangerous Liaisons. So well written and deep. It spoke a lot about the human race.
D: ANY MOVIE THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
LM: Pride and Prejudice. It made me believe in true love.
D: WHAT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
LM: Chocolate. I’m addicted.
D: DO YOU HAVE ANY DAILY ROUTINES?
LM: Oh, so many. From making my bed immediately when i get out of it, to the way i prepare my coffee and how to glance at emails, and answer whats urgent. It sounds boring or robotic, but because of my multiple hats if i dont do that i cant get things done. I also play the piano for about 30 min every morning before work. Not sure how much my neighbours appreciate that routine, but its an excellent way to start the day for me….
D: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CREATIVE OUTLETS THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT?
LM: Old movies and special books. Sometimes my inspiration comes from specific periods in history, or a list of ideas that the period represented. It’s a very layered process creating a mixture of different cultural references. Oh, and traveling to exotic places always helps!
D: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF GROWING OLD?
LM: Keep searching and enjoying happiness. Through work, friends, relationships. I just don’t ever want to stop!
D: TELL US SOMETHING DIRTY ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS!
LM: One of my dirty fantasies is to have sex in an airplane with a random handsome passenger, while the rest of the plane is sleeping. (Smiles)
TEXT Paul Bruno
PHOTOGRAPHY Justino Esteves
WARDROBE STYLING Jay Wilson & Kelly Nicholls
MAKEUP Thom Ticklemouse
HAIR Kieron Lavine
A few times in my life I've had moments of clarity where the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think. - Tom Ford