WORKAHOLIC // MARCO MARCO

Marco Morante is the mastermind behind some of Hollywood’s most eclectically dressed. Under the the label Marco Marco, the LA-based designer creates stage looks for an ever increasing array of notable pop stars. His design credits include Britney Spears, Nicky Minaj, Katy Perry, The Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha, and Iggy Azalea. From the samurai swimsuit Nicki Minaj wore on the cover of Billboard to Katy Perry’s famous cupcake bra (he made it out of caulking!), Marco has brought imagination and ingenuity to another level. We caught up with Marco in his Hollywood studio to talk about the evolution of his business, where he finds his inspiration, and why he doesn’t eat seafood.

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Marco Morante and I design costumes under the label Marco Marco.

Where is your workspace?

I work out of a series of old buildings on Las Palmas in Hollywood.  They used to belong to Rick Owens about 12 years ago, and when he moved to Paris, his step daughter, Scarlett Rouge, let me in the back door, I squatted here till the landlord finally let me take over. I’ve been here ever since.

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How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve been selling clothes since I was in school, and when I graduated, I moved into Hollywood and kept doing it.  I’ve worked everyday on it, every penny that my partner, Chris Psaila, and I made went into it.  I guess we’ve just tried our best to work diligently and made sure that as often as possible, we created successful pieces that would make their own way into the public eye.

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What made you turn to this direction?

I think I just got frustrated with selling clothing to stores. I’m not organized in a way that could make a business like that viable, and I hated having to make more than one of anything!  I get bored and distracted very quickly and I had to find a niche in life where I could do something new and different constantly. To be erratic is the only way I know how to have any consistency.

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Was this always your dream job?

No, I had no concept of what I would be doing, even after I had started my major in school.  I really wanted to be a singer, and before that I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, and before that I wanted to own a pizzeria (I was seven and hadn’t really thought it through too well yet).

How much of the week is work, how much is play?

I work from 10 am till around 7-10pm every day and I play probably 5 or 6 nights a week. I’m a nightowl and it’s hard to get me to stay home even those 1 or 2 nights a week.

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What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?

The only thing I’ve ever done with my life is this business.  My business partner and I started this company out of a 100 sq ft studio that we lived and worked in.  I slept on a pile of fabric and Chris worked 3 jobs to support it. We have watched it grow in legitimacy for 13 years, I think that is the most exciting thing for me, to see it take on a life of it’s own.  My dream would be to have the opportunity to keep watching it do that, to be able to continue coming here for as long as this industry will let me.

How do you find your inspiration?

I find tons of inspiration in the people in my life, the kids I meet at bars and clubs, and from books and science.  I’m a pleaser by nature and I really get inspired by my clients and my desire to make them happy.  I love when people love what I’ve made them.

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How do you define your personal style? The way you work, the way you dress, the way you act, etc?

I’m a really scattered person, I tend to work on a more than a few things at once…As far as the company goes, Chris is the organization.  He runs the business side of the business, keeps me in check, makes sure I show up on time and do what I’m supposed to, makes sure nothing slips through the cracks. Creatively, I’m a researcher.  I will spend as much time as I can understanding the world I’m working in before I start sketching. I’m a pretty lazy dresser.  I went to high school when grunge was huge and I still wear skate shoes and tie flannels around my waist.  I’m always on set, so I wear a lot of black. When I’m on a gig I think personality wise, it’s so important to be calm.  I never get angry and I rarely panic. I’m always confident that whatever is put in front of me will get done, so I don’t allow myself to worry.

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How important is your work and do you feel it defines you?

I’m not really sure how important my work is to the rest of the world, or to culture in general, but it’s so important to me. It absolutely defines me.  I never thought I’d be able to do any one thing for this long.  When I look back, it’s what I’m most proud of and most grateful for.

What’s something someone may not know about you?

I’m terrified of the water.  I get super nervous on boats, I don’t like swimming and I wont eat seafood.

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Follow @marcosquared on instagram. Keep up with all of Marco’s projects at www.marcomarco.net

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