Marcelo Burlon The Renaissance Rebel
A slight afternoon chill is sweeping through New York’s West Village, near the high-end section of fashion row where the self-described Creative Director, Italian resident and Argentinian native Marcelo Burlon is holding court for a round of press interviews. The reason for the meetings is quite grand, Burlon is sitting comfortably in the living room of his Mercer Hotel suite to announce his new bottle design collab with Moët & Chandon’s Moët Nectar Impérial Rosé. Three sizes ranging from Jeroboam, Magnum and 75cl, with three different designs are being spotlighted. Yet, the man of many travels takes a moment to explain his transition between the worlds of DJing at the hottest clubs on earth, running the publicist point for brands, and once consulting for the likes of Riccardo Tisci. Oh, let’s not forget the clothing line he created titled County Of Milan. Currently, it’s so hot that NBA superstar and fashion magnet Russell Westbrook, retail giant Barneys and Burlon have all collaborated on a special capsule collection only available at Barneys.
Lounging in black sweats, a black and white aNYthing hoodie and heaven white low Nike Huaraches (“They are so hard to find, I had to get a new pair after shrinking the last ones…”), Burlon is preparing for the bottle launch party with Moët later in the night. The same party he ends up manning the wheels of steel at the famed 25 Broadway Cipriani’s location. All of today’s latest turn-up tunes are played by a bopping Burlon, while he pauses in the DJ booth to take pics with the attendees. Once he finishes his crowd rocking set, he introduces special guest performer, Trey Songz. A star studded night awaits, but first Burlon speaks from the heart.
VIBE: We can talk about music, but then you also do publicity. What else do you do?
Marcelo: Styling. I do styling. I’m a creative director. I’m not a fashion designer, but I am a creative director which is different.
Very different, because that means you take people’s themes and then fill in what that should be…
We just created Future’s album cover which we shot here in New York, like 10 days ago. We did an amazing job and we became really good friends.
You are heavily repping Italy…how does it define your style?
I’m Argentinean, I’m from Patagonia. I grew up in Italy. I moved when I was 14 from Patagonia to a small town in the center of Italy. Then when I was 21, I moved to Milan. Yeah, so it’s now 15 years that I’m in Milan.
How does Milan’s style influence you?
Well you know, all my collections are kind of like, inspired by Argentinean native symbols, esoteric symbols. Milan doesn’t really inspires you as a creative, the lifestyle is quite amazing, the quality of life is amazing. That makes you kind of more comfortable and more confident. If you have a – all the restaurants are amazing you know? The food you eat around, the life you have. We don’t go crazy for work. I mean, we do our 8-9 hours a day, but that’s it, we don’t get crazy for that. We do our things you know? Milan is quite amazing. Italy is quite amazing the history they have, but I think that I’m bringing – the success of my events and my brand and stuff , cause I brought something new to [Milan]. I kind of like break the rules of the system. I’m not a fashion designer, but my brand has more success than an entire generation of upcoming designers. So that was a thing with me, but Milan took a while to understand what I was doing. As a multitasking person, doing DJing to styling this or that, they’re thinking, “What is he? Is he a stylist? Is he a PR boy?” It was really difficult for me to make them understand.
Why? Because there’s no title for all that you actually do?
Yeah, you know like four years ago a beautiful documentary, like a five minute documentary, came out on the New york times about me. They talked about the videos I was doing, the music for the shows and stuff like that. Then suddenly the millionaires, the people and the students were like, “Okay cool, he can work here, more.” So that was the thing with Milan.
Who outside of the New York Times, who was the one in Milan that was like, “alright, he has talent” or was it just the Times?
Well, at the time I was working as Editor-in-Chief at an independent magazine and at the same time I was styling for GQ Germany and then I was Riccardo Tisci’s PR. I was doing my own thing independent, totally free. I didn’t care about what people say. I was just doing whatever I liked to do and that – I was very consistent and that’s how I got all these…
But those levels – you’re at the top of each communication and creative level of how people express themselves.
Yeah that is the way that I am still today doing things you know. Look at this collaboration with Moët & Chandon you know? I don’t know, like naturally the things coming up. Like we connected. We kind of talk to the same audience. I’ve been doing parties for the last 20 years and it’s kind of like their concept [is] talking to that type of audience.
The people that wanna feel good and have a good time. What are the inspirations behind the three different bottle designs?
[The] white tiger is a very unique animal and it’s a very powerful animal as well. So we wanted to create something that gives more confidence to the customers. Mix it with gold…and my brand’s logo. It’s like the key of the universe for the natives of Patagonia, Argentina, my hometown. So there is something behind [it].
You speak about music often as well, what kind of music do you like to play when you’re creating? Not at the party, but when you’re creating concepts and you’re in your own solitude.
Do you know Nicolas Jaar? [He’s] a guy from Boston, he grew up in Chile, South America and he’s one of the new… He’s an amazing composer. He does electronic music, but super chill with a South American flavor and that’s something I like to play when I kind of create. But it depends. I can play some Argentinean folk music, some R&B, some hip hop you know? I like everything and when I do my sets I play electro. I’m doing a record. My record is coming out in September.
You mentioned Argentina lot. I wanted to know growing up, when were you your happiest as a youngster?
You know, I grew up in a hippie place, in a hippie village from South Argentina. It was super famous in the 60s and 70s. I was born in ’76. But growing up with a hippie market every Saturday….smelling the weed, the rum and kind of growing up… Patchouli perfume kind of like brings me back to that childhood. I remember I was super happy every time I was dancing, you know in the bathroom with my brother with the light…
…like the dance floor.
Like dancing on [80s TV show] Fame. You remember Fame?
Yes, I remember Fame!
This what I was on, but I was gay [laughs]. Apart from that, I was like, “Fame!” like crazy. Yeah that was a beautiful moment you know I wanted to be a dancer after that. I went to Milan to start a dance school, but it was too expensive and then I moved. I started working at the door of this famous club, that’s when I met everyone from Ricardo to [D&G’s] Gabbana and Domenico. Then one day Domenico said, “Monday, my assistant will call you. I have a project for you.” So [the] next Monday I was signing contracts to work for Dolce & Gabbana. That’s how I started.
You have a movie life!
It’s crazy. In a very short time, I did so much.
Photo Credit: Getty Images