Because same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, rumors circulated that it would happen last summer in Provincetown, where Jacobs’s business partner, Robert Duffy, has a house. But that didn’t happen. Then pictures surfaced of a party hosted by Larry Gagosian on St. Barts New Year’s Eve, complete with a cake topped with miniatures of Martone and Jacobs, which either was or was not their big day. At the time, they said it was merely an engagement party, but in the Butt Q&A, Martone called it an “intimate ceremony.” (Though an earlier version of the interview appeared on Gawker, calling it an “intimate wedding.”) So which was it? “We considered it a wedding, or a union. I don’t think we are as concerned as everybody else in labeling things in such a way,” Martone says.
Wedding or not, in many ways, 2010 is the year of the roll out of Lorenzo Martone, successful and well-known Manhattanite. Last fall, he teamed up with former modeling agent Ryan Brown to start an outfit called ARC NY Talent PR (the name, he says, doesn’t stand for anything, he just liked the optimistic sound of it, the upward trajectory).
Martone grew up in an upper-middle-class Italian family in São Paulo. His parents divorced when he was a teenager, and they sent him to be an exchange student with a Mormon family in Riverside, California. He came out at 18, following a backpacking trip in Europe. After college in Brazil, the travel agency he worked for sent him to Madrid, and he decided to stay. He tended to date older guys, but the longest relationship he had before Jacobs, who’s sixteen years his senior, was about a year and a half.
In 2004, he moved to Paris to get his M.B.A., and realized he had to adapt. For one thing, something was wrong with his wardrobe. “Madrid is not a very fashion-oriented place,” he says. He dressed too colorfully; in Paris “everyone is wearing black and gray. So I learned about Dior Homme and became a big fan of Hedi Slimane and changed into someone conscious about fashion who admires design.” Martone started going to L’Usine Opéra, a gym with a gay fashion crowd that at the time was the David Barton of Paris. Among those who worked out there were John Galliano, Stefano Pilati, Rick Owens—and Marc Jacobs.
How they met, Martone’s take:
One day at L’Usine Opéra, he and Jacobs—who’d already changed his habits to become more healthy—were running on neighboring treadmills. Martone invited Jacobs to go running with some friends in the Jardin du Luxembourg. “He never actually came,” Martone says. “But we kept in touch, saying hi.” Were you flirting? “I guess checking out each other’s body but not really flirting.” You were attracted to him? “I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ He looks like a little boy without those tattoos. When you live in Paris, you’re used to all these proper kids, a little preppy, a little fashion-forward, a little feminine and longer hair. So when you see a cool New Yorker with diamonds and tattoos—I was just, ‘Wow.’ So we just kept this friendship. I had this boyfriend at a certain point who also worked at Louis Vuitton, so we’d all socialize together.”
But then Martone left Paris for New York. “I get bored so quickly, I need to entertain myself,” he says. “I always felt like, ‘Oh, I already speak the language, I already know everyone.’ When I felt it wasn’t enough for me anymore, I just moved continents and countries.” He also felt that his career advancement was going to be limited, since he wasn’t French.
In New York, he and Jacobs continued to spend time with each other. “When he broke up with [Preston] in January 2008, we started going out, the two of us versus in groups—the theater, then dinner. It started having this format, more of a date.” Their first kiss happened after they saw Spring Awakening. “Then to Nobu, then we kissed and more. We slept together.” Soon enough, Jacobs started introducing him as his boyfriend, though they never talked about it. Martone didn’t mind. “I was flattered. That’s what I wanted, too.”
The windows of ARC’s sleek, snug Soho offices face those of Marc Jacobs’s vast atelier across the street. Martone says ARC’s goal is to “revive the supermodel.” It currently has seven clients, four of whom are in the most recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue: Julie Ordon, Irina Shayk, Julie Henderson, and Jessica White. The others are Fernanda Motta (host of Brazil’s Next Top Model), Alessandra Ambrosio (Victoria’s Secret), as well as SI alum Valeria Mazza. (Until recently, Lydia Hearst was a client, too.)