Four years after launching his signature collection of high-end bicycles, Lorenzo Martone will introduce his first collection of athleticwear this fall.
Shoppers will find a sampling of what’s in store in the Martone Cycling Shop in The Wellery on the second-floor of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship. Although the brand’s modernistic self-shifting bikes retail in the four-digit range, its activewear will hover around $100. This fall’s 16-piece collection is designed for women and men and features the brand’s signature red link logo, which is used subtly, such as a small closure instead of a seam on a sleeveless hoodie. Each item has metallic or reflective accents as much as for cycling safety as for a shot of fashion. Instagrammable as the apparel is, Martone said, “It’s an interesting mix of having a wink without coming across as too over-the-top.”
In November, Martone will open Martone Lab, a 3,000-square-foot hybrid space in downtown Los Angeles in Little Tokyo. The store-office-studio will feature an array of services such as photo shoots, filming or design space for artists or illustrators to customize an all-white Martone bike. Just as he insisted the Saks shop have a few chairs for people to linger, Martone hopes the West Coast outpost will have numerous reasons to entice patrons and keep them comfortable. The new business will be part of an eight-floor Art Deco development project, Brunswig Square, that is going to be a Chelsea Market-type retail and commercial space.
During his frequent trips to Los Angeles, Martone has noticed how L.A. residents don’t think twice about wearing activewear all day long. To appeal to those customers and the scores of others who wear ath-leisure on a daily basis, Martone wanted to create options with more style. Binge-watching “Glow,” a show with glitzy and Lycra-loving women’s wrestlers, was another source of inspiration, as was a Fourth of July stay in Mexico City where people aren’t afraid to mix a little animal pattern and spandex. “After that, I thought, ‘I just need to bring it.’ There is no real season for activewear,” Martone said.
Housed in what used to be Phillip Lim’s space at Saks, the all-white shop sits opposite a steely gray one occupied by ConBody, which includes an area that is dedicated to prison style bootcamp classes. Occasionally in the store when people are working out with formerly incarcerated fitness instructors, Martone said the abundance of bland or all-black activewear left him unimpressed. “It’s a fun class, but no one has boldness in what they wear,” he said.
With Martone pop-up shops in Covent Garden and Holt Renfrew, Martone is partial to transient retail. Predicting that retail as we know it will become inconsequential, Martone said he liked that Saks is willing to take chances with unconventional ideas such as The Wellery, which also features Peloton, Technogym and Skinney MedSpa, among others. “Destination retail is finished. Brands and retailers have to go after clients, identify their lifestyles and have more retail timed to interesting things that are going on like the Biennial in Venice or Art Basel in Miami,” Martone said.
Also on display at The Wellery in the Martone area were two styles of Andi bags with Martone-inspired patches designed by fashion illustrator Justin Teodoro. The customized bags have sold out well ahead of schedule and a second delivery is expected next month. Andi founder Andrea Weinberg said, “It was supposed to be through October.”
Teodoro artist first approached Martone when he launched his bike company, dropping off an unsolicited sketch of the entrepreneur on his bicycle. And the collaboration is not Martone’s first professional tie-up with Weinberg, who is among his clients at The Creative, the marketing agency he runs with Caitlin Shockley.
Weinberg has her own line extensions in the works with plans to introduce bags made with PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, recycled materials for holiday. Abiding by her brand’s “Be Good to Yourself” motto, Weinberg recently helped Girl Scout Troop 6000, a group of homeless New York girls, earn their innovation badge. One of the more enterprising participants dreamed up public showers — a much-needed concept that left Weinberg wondering how she might share with others to make it a reality.