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Marc Jacobs’s Brazilian Bombshell


How they met, Jacobs’s take:

“I was going to the gym a few months before I met him and had cut my hair.” I’d gone through this very radical transformation from 21 percent body fat, not being in a gym for fifteen years, and eating nothing but McDonald’s and KFC to, like, being the total health-food nut that woke up with wheatgrass and ginger shots, no white flour, no butter, no dairy, no caffeine, no sugar,” he says. Why so extreme? “I had health problems, I had colitis— ulcerative colitis. I still have it.”

He’d just broken up with Jason Preston at the time. “So Lorenzo keeps inviting me to breakfast, lunch, and dinners, and I kept refusing. Not refusing—that sounds wrong—but I kept saying, ‘I don’t eat breakfast, I eat raw eggs and wheatgrass.’ And he’d say, ‘What about lunch?’ and I’d say, ‘I can’t really eat in a restaurant, because I only eat organic food.’ ” We all laugh. “I always had these excuses. And then my [business] partner Robert [Duffy] said, ‘Marc, you complain that you don’t meet the right person, but when somebody wants to go out with you, you make it impossible to get in.’ ”

Why was he really saying no to Martone? “I don’t know,” Jacobs says. He starts to get squirmy and uncomfortable. “Well, actually, I do, probably, on a psychological level, but I’m not going to get into that.” Finally, his trainer, Easy, whom he used to fly to Paris, told him, “ ‘Are you crazy? That guy’s good-looking, so why don’t you go out with him? You’ve been with such a bunch of—’ ” Jacobs stops short. “Unbeknownst to me, Lorenzo was moving to New York the next day, but I said to him, ‘Would you have dinner with me?’ And he said, ‘But only if you’re not going to cancel. I’ve invited you to my birthday, I’ve asked you out, and you always come up with some excuse, and I’m moving to New York tomorrow, so if you’re going to screw me over on a Friday night, I don’t want to go.’ ”

So Martone and Jacobs went to dinner—to Kai, a Japanese restaurant. What was he thinking about Martone? “I thought it was great, I thought he was hot and sexy and charming, fun.” But the question in his mind was: “Why would someone like him want to be with me?”

After a moment of silence, I ask him, why do you think? “I still don’t know the answer to that,” he says.

So what did he see in Martone? “Well, I just saw someone who was, like, really wonderful and fun and interested in so many things. Lorenzo has this amazing curiosity and he has this really beautiful and genuine, authentic love of people. Almost like a child. Over the years, again for a lot of different reasons, I became … I don’t know if jaded is the right word, but I don’t really like being in social situations. But then when I met Lorenzo and I got to enjoy things that I used to enjoy through the eyes and the enthusiasm of someone else … ” He pauses. “This is getting, like, heavy.”

Martone finally breaks in. “Um, you just wanted a quote or something, right, you said?” he asks me.

Is Martone really so centered and calm? I ask Jacobs. “Centered and calm? He’s a control freak! We threw a birthday party for him and he was like, ‘Okay, everybody has to eat now because we have to be at the next place in one hour.’ He was sooo micromanaging everything.” Martone laughs along with us. “And he’s also, culturally, there’s a certain machismo that Lorenzo has and a certain ego about what it is to be a man and to take care of things and do things and have order in things, and I’m not like that.”

Weirdly, at this point, the final theme song from The Devil Wears Prada—when Anne Hathaway throws her hated cell phone into the fountain—comes on the stereo.

Two days later, Martone and I meet at Industria Superstudio for lunch before he heads off to the Grammys to promote his girls. He’s overseeing the shooting of a look book for Chandelier client Rafael Cennamo, a young, Venezuelan couture designer. Everything is beautiful, controlled, perfect—the models, Cennamo’s racks and racks of glittery, opulent, neo-eighties dresses, the table full of fiercely spiked and platformed Louboutins and YSLs—even the people working on the shoot. Martone glides here and there, commenting on his favorite gowns, positioning Cennamo in just the right light.

Earlier, I’d asked Martone if he’d been attracted to the old, less physically self-actualized Jacobs, and he was honest about his preference for the prettier current version. “It’s not someone I’d be sexually attracted to. It’s quirky, like, fun to watch, but I wouldn’t go, like, ‘Oh, God.’ ” What if Jacobs stopped taking quite as good care of himself as he does now? “I would put pressure for him to lose weight,” says Martone, laughing. But then he becomes more serious. “You’re attracted to someone or something initially for a reason, usually more superficial, external. And then you start loving things and people for internal reasons more, less tangible than beauty. So I guess I’d kind of put up with something if it happened, like, if the beauty factor goes down.”

Which sounds, as much as anything, like commitment, especially from someone who’s traveled the world to get right where he is right now. “With more maturity,” he says, philosophically, “You learn there’s no next. It’s really about building where you are. Also, New York kind of feels like the top of the world, in a way. It’s all downhill after here.”


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