It’s after midnight on a recent Friday in the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel. The floor-to-ceiling windows look down on the frozen city as the inky sheen of the Hudson bends away from us. “Let’s All Chant,” the hedonistic disco song from one of Faye Dunaway’s fashion-shoot scenes in Eyes of Laura Mars, throbs over the sound system. Courtney Love, in granny glasses and a crazy Stevie Nicks ensemble, huddles conspiratorially over a BlackBerry with Michael Stipe. Donna Karan, Terry Richardson, Richard Prince, and Simon Hammerstein are dispersed among the glitter.
Lorenzo Martone is there, crowded into one of the seventies-style banquettes listening to his friends chatter happy late-night fashion nonsense, waiting for the right time to get up and dance. “You feel like you’re at the top of the world here,” he says in his deep, Brazilian-accented voice, nuzzling close to be heard over the din. Martone, who’s 30, arrived in New York just two and a half years ago, another canny, good-looking, well-mannered fashion PR guy of the sort who decorates places like this. But for the past year, he’s been Marc Jacobs’s fiancé. Now he’s surrounded by celebrities, all of whom know him.
Martone (or Lolo, as his friends call him, like he’s a big puppy) loves to touch people. He has a powerful, and soothing, physical presence. He even smells reassuringly expensive (his cologne is called Poivres à Trois, which, he jokes, translates into “a pepper threesome”). He dresses in a happy, colorful uniform of tight shirts, suspenders, skinny jeans, scrunchy socks, and high-top sneakers, all by labels like Lanvin, Dior, and Marc Jacobs (he says he gets a slightly more than 20 percent-off VIP discount). For the last two years, Martone, who speaks four languages and has an M.B.A. in, of all things, luxury-brand management, has worked as a strategic planner for Chandelier Creative, a fashion and beauty ad agency with clients like Parfums Givenchy, Nars Cosmetics, and threeASFOUR.
Tonight he’s wearing a Chanel watch encircled with diamonds, which he got from Jacobs after “I caught him smoking in action in Venice,” he says. Martone hates smoking, and they got in a fight over the fact that Jacobs hadn’t quit like he said he had. “Between the Taurus sign and being Latin, I probably reacted … ” He trails off. “And all I know, we were shopping in Venice and I got this watch as a gift.”
Martone wears two rings. One he bought himself, with a matching one for Jacobs—pink gold from Boucheron, “which is Marc’s favorite brand.” He’s had bears engraved on the inside. “We call each other bears because of our facial hair and all that,” he says. “I have an attraction for beards. It’s kind of a fetish.” Jacobs grew one after they started dating. “I’ve molded him in my image,” Martone says, not quite seriously. The other, an infinity ring of emerald-cut diamonds, Jacobs gave to Martone off his own finger after they’d been together for eight months. “It was not an engagement ring, just a gift,” Martone says. Like Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of his beloved Pride and Prejudice, he has his share of status conflicts over his marriage prospect. But then again, Jane Austen never imagined the blogosphere. Or for that matter, Butt magazine, the arty gay quarterly that Martone posed bare-bottomed for in the spring 2010 issue, discussing their wedding, as well as his personal sexual history.
Marc Jacobs, who advertises in Butt and has been interviewed in it, too, is one of the great neurotic, uncompromising, brutally self-searching New York auteurs—complete with the usual drug history. His story is complicated by the sad fact that he’s estranged from his mother and siblings, and that his father died when he was young. That profile, for whatever reason, doesn’t often accommodate connubial bliss.
But about three years ago, Jacobs, who is 46, had a transformative midlife crisis. He got sober and got thin and got ever more tattooed. He became exhibitionistic, delighting in his workout routine. Suddenly photos of Marc Jacobs sleeveless, shirtless, or just in his underpants became commonplace. Meanwhile, he was dating—the old, schlumpier Jacobs had never seemed to be dating—a former hustler, Jason Preston, who tattooed MARC JACOBS on his forearm. Then Jacobs went back to rehab, then re-dated and finally ended it with Preston. It was a very public spectacle, and with it Jacobs’s repressed persona was replaced with one that didn’t seem to care what anybody else was thinking. Whatever was going on on the inside, he appeared to be a bolder, more confident man.
Martone made his public debut by Jacobs’s side at the Costume Institute Gala in May 2008. Early last year, they announced their engagement.