The other day I was sent a youtube clip of a Melissa Shoes photo shoot by my friend Lorenzo Martone, so I thought it was time to catch up with him, see what he is up to and of course find out the status of his impending marriage with Marc Jacobs. First a little background on Lorenzo. He was born 30 years ago, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the grandson of Italian immigrants. Lorenzo's life started out charmed with a privileged upbringing (private american schools, travel, etc...) until at 15 when his family's finances had a downturn.
He attended University and began working full time at the age of 20. He worked until 2004 when he decided to go back to school to get a Luxury Brand Advertising MBA in Paris at ESG.
He currently works for Chandelier Creative, which shares the same building as Artwing in Soho. Chandelier is an advertising agency specializing in fashion, beauty and some hotel work. Chandelier's clients include Commonwealth Utilities, Kimora Lee Simmons, Peter Som, Club Monaco, asssorted beauty brands of Givenchy and of course Melissa shoes. On a personal note he is one of the sweetest, most generous people I know and am proud he is a friend.
SB: Hey Lorenzo how are you doing? My first question, which is always my first question to you, is where are you now? We work in the same building yet I rarely see you.
LM: Yes, you are right, lots of travel lately. In this exact moment I'm talking to you from Las Vegas. I'm here for all the trade shows-Melissa and Commonwealth are showing here. I'm in between meetings, so I'm by the pool of the Wynn. I feel pretty lucky!
SB: Sounds nice, am jealous. So tell me about the current project you are working on for Melissa Shoes.
LM: The project with Melissa was an idea to collaborate with Nylon Magazine and their September-TV issue. Nylon throws a mega bash in LA for this issue with major celebrities. I want Melissa to be associated with this cool, fresh, bubbling, fashion-forward crowd. LA is really booming now. Its awesome. So to that end, I directed a photo shoot in their studios that is part of the issue featuring Melissa Shoes. The team there was great and we casted Taylor from Muse models. I think she is gorge.
SB: So the shoes are actually made out of plastic. In the video, you smell the shoe and say they smell delicious. What do they actually smell like?
LM: They all smell like tutti frutti - its a very childish, naive smell of bubble gum!
SB: I love the smell of bubble gum. I actually use Jonathan Antin's Dirt because it smells like bubblegum! Anyway, Melissa has already worked with some major designers. Who is on your wish list to design for the brand?
LM: Melissa has collaborated with Jean Paul Gaultier and Karim Rashid in the past and currently Campana brothers, Alexander Hercovitch, Vivienne Westwood, J.Maskrey (U2 make up artist / crystal tatoo designer).and of course Zaha Hadid. It is their focus to be at the edge of design and that's why they combine fashion designers with architect and others with non expected skills. They are always aiming to create something never seen. As for my wish list, it is loooooong (laughs) because i think that there are so many extraordinary people out there that could use their main raw material (plastic) and develop the most incredible shoes. Let's say Marc Newson, Frank Ghery and maybe Peter Marino? Then for the fashion designers I think Nichols Kirkwood is the sex, Margiela and then of course Laboutin!
SB: You are a man of many hats. Besides your work in advertising, you are also quite an acccomplished photographer. You actually donated a piece to an AMFAR event I was hosting and your piece went for the highest bid! Where would you like to see your photography go?
LM: Photography and advertising kind of go together. I'm not a professional photographer, but working in advertising enhanced my visual sensibility. It's a hobby I absolutely adore and will keep on working. I'm having a show, well, I don't want to call it a show, I'm SHARING some of my fave pics at the Ruffians Gallery, in October. You are invited! I consider myself creative and in the world of today one must at least understand all facets of the industry. I have a personal style, in what I like, in what I wear, in brand and design I appreciate, and photography is just one more tool to bring all that to life.
SB: Nice I look forward to it. So now onto personal matters. You recently had your birthday party at hotspot Avenue, even Madonna came. What was that like for you?
LM: Yes, my 30th (sigh). It was unforgettable. Not only Madonna came,who I absolutely adore and consider one the most special human beings, someone who has been great to me, but also 20 friends came from other countries and cities. It was very moving, I felt very special. My dearest love of my life, Marc, surprised me in every way he could. Its quite something to see you go through life, and some people really stick with you, put up with all your shit. Its magical. Avenue, the venue and its owner Noah, were incredible helpful and generous. That party combined my closest friends, people that I' ve known for 15 years, with my mom and brother who came in from sao paulo for the occasion, with Madonna, with Marc's best friends all from the art world, like Peter Marino, Larry Gagosian, Barbara Gladstone, Elisabeth Payton, John Currin, Rachel Feinstein, and then some of the hottest New York young figures likes Genevieve Jones and Julia Roitfeld.. everyone had a good time and it was the very first party at Avenue, before it was open to the public, so everything felt super special.
SB: Well you are a special guy, you know that. Finally, I don't expect an answer to this, but I have to ask, when are you getting married?
LM: As for my status with Marc, things got really out of control lately, and even though in the beginning we didn't keep anything private, now we decided to take that matter in hands and keep it very intimate. What I can share is that we are very happy together.
SB: That's great, am happy for both of you. Well it was great chatting with you. I will let you go so you can work on your tan some more (laughs) Let's get together when you get back.
LM: Many thanks and hope to see you soon in our building.
[Photos via Scott Buccheit].