The models pay ARC a retainer to help them raise their profiles and diversify their brands into acting, music, or product development, which will, ideally, turn them into supermodels. Henderson is launching a line of skin-care products based on a grapefruit her grandfather bred in Texas, and White wants to sing R&B (she is very proud of her version of Prince’s “Pop Life”). There are big, sultry close-ups of the girls on the walls of ARC’s offices.
Martone is a sort of lyrical visionary for the company. This June, for instance, ARC is hosting a party for Ambrosio atop the Empire Hotel next to Lincoln Center. The party will be called “Follow the Sun,” to play up her beach-goddess allure. “Alessandra Ambrosio stands for summer,” goes some copy Martone wrote. “It’s her passion, it’s her fashion, it’s her obsession.” Another bit reads: “Alessandra is the sun … let’s follow her.” Martone loves models. “They have a certain enchantment that I’m attracted to,” he says. At a Victoria’s Secret product-launch event that Ambrosio hosts, Martone trails her and fusses over her. He loves how she (and, to tell the truth, all models) toss around their big hair, and often does it himself with his smaller hair, in imitation of them. “Look at her waist,” he says of Ambrosio, enraptured. “It’s amazing. It’s not human!”
One afternoon at ARC, Martone and Brown sit down with Francesca Hammerstein, whose husband, Simon, owns the nightclub The Box, as well as an Austrian named Sandro Suppnig, the creative director for a media outfit called Vision On, to plan a party for ARC during Fashion Week. Vision On has created a short film called La Demimondaine starring the model Iris Strubegger that will screen at the event. (You can watch it online; it seems like an extended fragrance commercial.)
They pass around a box of Dean & DeLuca cookies and brainstorm. “I think we need food no matter what happens,” says Martone. “I don’t like parties without food.” Martone describes himself, and others describe him, as decisive, and he drives the meeting.
Martone bought matching pink-gold rings for him and Jacobs and had bears engraved on the inside. Martone calls Jacobs “Babybear,” and he calls him “Papabear.”
For one thing, Martone insists that the party be branded “Not Now, I’m Dancing.” He wants all ARC parties to use this slogan. “We thought that was such a model’s attitude,” he says. “That’s something I want to own.”
But as for The Box party, in addition to “Not Now, I’m Dancing,” it’s also supposed to be called “Bohemian Revolution,” in keeping with the demimonde aesthetic of the short film. The question becomes how to combine the two. Suppnig suggests a themed event, something dress-up, like they do in Vienna—“The old thing brought to the modern”—which Martone has little patience for.
“Meaning what?” Martone asks sharply. “People should dress a certain way? Find a seventeenth-century-inspired gown? They won’t do it.”
Suppnig looks a bit crestfallen. “Just a hat?”
“They won’t do it that week,” Martone says firmly. No costumes. The guests will be too busy with the shows.
After the meeting breaks up, Martone gets a text from Jacobs telling him to come to the window. We look across the street. “Oh, look, there he is!” Martone says. I can see a lean figure in silhouette waving to us. Martone’s eyes are alive. He opens the window, leans out. Then the silhouette is gone.
Soon Jacobs is back in Paris, and Martone invites me over to the duplex they’ve rented in Chelsea while doing the build-out on a $10.4 million West Village townhouse. That night, Martone’s going to Berlin for a few days to meet with BMW—he wants to get his girls modeling for them—and also with a Chandelier client, Melissa Plastic Dreams shoes.
The space itself is huge and manly—they rented it from professional hockey player Scott Gomez, and other than a Terry Richardson photo of Batman and Robin making out, propped on a console, it doesn’t say much about the current occupants. They do love this photo. For Halloween, Martone went as Batman and Jacobs as Robin.
When I arrive, Martone takes me upstairs, where he’s decanting Fresh toiletries into little airport-friendly containers. Vuitton luggage is strewn everywhere. Martone shows me a novel he’s reading, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, a heady tale of a Paris serial killer searching for the perfect scent. Then we go back downstairs so Martone can eat some sushi he’d bought at Whole Foods. Their housekeeper, Reisa, comments that the couple never eats at home, and, in fact, their huge Sub-Zero fridge is neatly crammed with protein drinks, Diet Coke, VitaminWater, bowls of blueberries and raspberries, and cold cuts.
On the coffee table, stacked with their art books, is the scrapbook from their first-anniversary party, which they had last March at Martone’s old friend and boss Christina Bicalho’s home in São Paulo. “Lorenzo and Marc,” says the front, with appliqués of two cute cartoon bears.