This season, we invited Marcelo Burlon to curate a special showcase in store. Inspired by skateboarding and three-dimensional forms, Burlon injects fresh energy and creativity into the space in his presentation of his latest County of Milan collection.
County of Milan
Deftly blending high-fashion sensibilities with a refined, street-ready aesthetic, Marcelo Burlon County of Milan has carved its own niche in the fierce world of fashion. This season, animal prints and dark colour palettes continue to be pivotal motifs against an underlying theme inspired by motocross culture. Burlon’s curated collection features brands including Acne, Alexander Wang, Carven, COMME des Garçons, sacai and Stone Island. We talk to Burlon about his inspiration for Lane Crawford’s curation and his epic presentation for Pitti Uomo.
How did your career kick off? Tell us a bit about how you started.
I grew up in Argentina, in an Italian and Lebanese family, and when I was 14 I moved to a small town in Italy. In terms of my career, everything started when I was 16 years old. I became a club kid in the 1990s, I quit school and went straight to work at a shoe factory. Not long after, I left everything to start working in clubs and became submerged in the worlds of fashion, art and theatre. I then moved to Milan and became a VIP doorman of a very important club. At the time all the designers used to come there, so I naturally moved into PR and started doing all the club’s special events.
How did your career evolve into what it is now?
I then became a stylist and a DJ, and started doing a lot of different work. After The New York Times did a beautiful documentary on all my different roles, people finally understood my multi-tasking job. When I started DJing all around the world, in places including Hong Kong, Istanbul, Moscow and New York, I began to build a big following and a really special network of international people. That’s when I decided to launch my own brand. The idea was to express my roots through the symbols of Patagonia and club cultures which all represent where I come from.
Motocross was a big theme of your Spring Summer 2015 collection, how did this come about and why?
Everything that I’m doing in my collections is related to my life, whether it’s my childhood or where I come from. I chose motocross for Spring Summer 2015 because my father was a race director and every Sunday he used to take my brother and me to the races where he was working. So for me, I grew up with this strong aesthetic in my head.
What was it like presenting your first show at Pitti Uomo?
It was super-exciting to break the rules. It was amazing and very emotional because there were so many of my friends that came from all over the world to walk in the show. It was a celebration. Getting to a point where Pitti asks you to be a guest and present your collection is something very special. The show started with two worldwide motocross champions doing tricks. It was outdoors in a beautiful arena on a beautiful summer evening. It had been raining the whole week, and it stopped just for that night – the next day it started again. It was a blast – all the planets were aligned for that moment, for the celebration.
What values do you want the County of Milan man to feel when he wears the clothes?
I want people to feel proud when they wear my clothes. That's why we have a lot of pieces with graphics on the shoulders because things on the shoulders make people look stronger, like wearing armour. I want people to recognise and reflect – when they wear my pieces they should feel like they’re part of something, which is County of Milan. It’s not just a brand, it’s a lifestyle.
What is the inspiration behind your curated space for Lane Crawford?
I wanted to do an installation in the middle of the space that immediately brings the audience into my world. It’s not just a retail space – I want the customer to feel many different things, from the smell to the sound, the light and the products. Skateboarding inspired me, so the idea for the installation is to bring my logo into a three-dimensional form, mimicking skateboarding ramps. The space includes brands that I love, like Acne, Alexander Wang, sacai and Stone Island.
As a jack-of-all-trades, how do you manage all your different roles and find time to relax?
I’m a very relaxed person. I’m not stressed because I feel like I’m bringing something completely new, and I feel so lucky that people understood my vision and what I’m doing – that makes me happy. There is no space and time to stress. I take my time. I wake up at 9 o’clock, work my seven to eight hours and then I go to the gym. I’m a very active guy – I surf, ski and do cross-fit. There’s just no time for stress because I’m enjoying everything I’m doing. I’m not a kid anymore, I don’t follow any trends, I’m just living a good-quality life
You’re known for throwing some of the most epic parties. Do any stand out to you as particularly memorable?
About four years ago in Milan I did a party for Versace and Prince came out on stage to sing. It was crazy. Another amazing party was one of my “Pink is Punk” events where Raf Simons came with Tilda Swinton and they both stayed until the doors closed.
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