After Monday’s MPG Sport presentation, a few street-bound models stopped to thank Lorenzo Martone with an air kiss or two and with that, another brand was officially off-and-running thanks to his branding role at The Creative.
Before taking off himself, Martone ran through some of his other business pursuits. While some still associate him as Marc Jacobs’ former boyfriend, Martone has defined his own identity within the fashion industry and beyond. Through his company Martone Bicycles, he will launch the women’s version of a rose gold-colored bike at Saks Fifth Avenue this spring. Designed to be treasured like a valuable in the cyclist’s office or living room, versus a commodity that is locked up on the street, the bicycle will retail for $1,700. As an accompaniment, there is the rose gold-colored necklace with a charm that resembles a bike crank.
Thanks in part to citywide bike rentals in major locales like New York, London and Paris, cycling continues to catch on with a wide range of peddlers. “Cool people, who haven’t been riding bikes for 10 years, have decided to, because it is convenient and we are living in a more sustainable green era where people don’t want to create more pollution or traffic. So biking is a gesture towards helping your city and there’s the fitness aspect,” Martone said. “We’re also living in a whole era of athleisure. So people who can actually bike to work think they are getting a two-for-one — they’re commuting and burning calories.”
Sleek and art-like in their design, Martone Bicycles wants cyclists to travel in style, according to its founder. “I want people to look cool. I want them to have a bike that they’re proud of. They can put in their office or in their living room when they go home and it’s part of their lifestyle,” he said.
Last year Martone powered through LifeCycle’s 545-mile week-long charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a group of friends who camped their way up the coast. Martone continues to help Recycle A Bicycle, a two-store operation, with its bike mechanic training school for underprivileged girls, by providing products, ideas and pitching in with the annual gala.
“Going for the total look,” Martone Bicycle sunglasses are offered in the same colors as Martone’s bikes. Three bicycle-inspired styles with colorful acetate frames debuted at Colette last year and will be unveiled in the U.S. in May. “My whole thing is I have fun mimicking the fashion industry. All of our bike chains are red, which is my little wink to [Christian] Louboutin. So you can recognize a Martone bike from afar,” he said.
Soon off to Los Angeles for the Feb. 22 opening of Brazilian designer Fabiana Milazzo’s Melrose Avenue store, Martone mentioned his client also started a foundation in Brazil teaching retired women embroidery for an association. She also offers them jobs in her company, when they are available.
What Martone finds most intriguing now is how people no longer work in boxes, and are showing layers of their talents and personalities. “One good example in fashion, not that she was doing it to make money, was this Instagram video of Gisele Bündchen playing the guitar and singing,” Martone said. “It broke my heart. It was so beautiful. I started reading the comments and it was like, ‘Oh my God, not only is she the most beautiful woman in the world, and a successful model and married to Tom Brady, and she sings. What else do you want?’…Being more honest about the idea that you can do multiple things is good.”
He is also not about to be typecast because of his tie to Jacobs. “He’s my best friend. This July we celebrated 10 years of knowing each other but we broke up five years ago. When I started dating him, we both talked about it, I knew what was coming. He’s an icon. He’s key in fashion history. He’s a symbolic person in New York City independent of fashion. I knew that I would be somehow associated with him,” Martone said. “We are so close, we vacation together. Our partners are friends. We both have new boyfriends and we all traveled together for Christmas and New Years as a family. He knows my family and he’s been so good to me always. I think our friendship is bulletproof in the sense that whatever people think or say, we don’t get affected. If anything, I am proud and honored to be associated in any way because he’s such an incredible man.”