MILAN – Born in 1976 in the Patagonian region of Argentina, specifically in El Bolsón, surrounded by a hippie community, Marcelo Burlon came to Italy, in the Marche region, as a teenager. While trying to make new friends and help his mother clean a small hotel and work as a bartender, Burlon, fascinated by the burgeoning club culture, begins to forge his own identity.
The first steps in his life, but also major milestones in his career as a stylist, fashion PR and then founder and creative director of the brand County of Milan, all recorded in the coffee table. book “Marcelo Burlon County of Milan: Confidential” is published by Rizzoli with art direction by Macs Iotti and an interview by Angelo Flaccavento.
Burlon, who together with Davide De Giglio and Claudio Antonioli in 2017 founded the Milan-based company New group of bodyguards, was sold to Farfetch two years later, discussed with WWD about book, his future plans – and revealed that a TV series on his life is underway.
WWD: What part of the world are you in now?
Marcelo Burlon: I’m in Ibiza, preparing my first DJ set in a long time… I played at Sanctuary in Milan on December 3rd. I was a resident DJ in Rome and they offered me to DJ at the new location. in Milan and I said yes… But then on December 10th, I’m going to Patagonia and I’ll be there for a while… I can’t wait. I want to be with my family. I’m taking advantage that we won’t show up in January.
WWD: Why did you decide not to show up?
MB: In June we plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the County of Milan with a big event with a big show, which will hopefully take place in a public space open to all. So we decided to skip the January show, avoid wasting money and time, and just focus on the June event, which I want to be unbelievable.
WWD: Let’s talk about the book. It must have been a journey…
MB: It was amazing… go back to my past, tell my story minute by minute, try to remember everything that happened, think about all the events and look at all the photo shoots… them I started 5 years ago and in the meantime we started producing content with the book in mind.
WWD: The book has a very special structure, built like a police investigation. Why?
MB: That concept was invented by Macs Iotti in 2003, when he helped me create a visual identity for my agency, Marcelo Burlon Enterprise. He had a genius idea of the concept of police investigation and my cards were actually produced with that style as a reference. So when we started working on the book, we went back to that model of documenting the police profile, where I was the suspect, the people who worked with me and drew around me the best people. evidence, the interview that I did with Angelo Flaccavento the interrogation and all the visual content is proof.
WWD: It’s an interesting format…
MB: I think so. And I have to tell you, I’m glad Helmut Lang wrote me asking for a copy. I mean… We contacted each other because you know that I am now an art collector and through a friend I ordered him one of the eagles he used to make… so we already know each other and now he is asking me to send him a copy of the book. Can you imagine? Helmut Lang! He was and still is a major inspiration to all of us who grew up in the 90s. When I used to do styling, the first thing I did was look at his collections, his sessions. his performance. We miss him in the fashion industry.
WWD: Where are the books distributed?
MB: We’re available in 900 bookstores around the world, but it’s also sold in museums and art galleries, like MoMa and Tate in London. It is quite impressive…
WWD: Putting the book together, did you figure out what were the most important moments in your career that helped you take the next step?
MB: Everything is important, especially since everything is interconnected. Working in a particular club, I knew the right people, who introduced me to others, etc. Of course, there were special moments. I think for example when the same company put on Prince’s concert for Versace, or when I opened my first store, or that particular collection… But everything is very interconnected. If you flip through the pages of the book, you’ll see this exact line, this puzzle piece that connects everything. The purpose of this book is ultimately to really show who I am. It’s basically a collection of 20 years of events, parties, fashion, but also memories of the moments when I struggled to earn enough money to buy food. We’ve added a timeline featuring the major milestones from 1976 to the present day: for example, when I joined the theater acting school in Rimini in 1996, or the Björk concert I attended that year. 1997 really changed my life and my vision… Moments are so many, but I feel I can say that in all that I have done, I have been a pioneer, in the air. the time between the end of analog and the beginning of the digital world.
WWD: In the last few years, the last time we met physically in Milan, following your life on Instagram, but also talking to you here via screen, I had a feeling that somehow that you have entered a new life dimension, with no FOMO, and a real desire to feel comfortable and enjoy your life…
MB: After selling to Farfetch, and even more during the pandemic, I realized that I had to reconquer my own time, rebuild my own closeness. As we were forced to pause our lives because of the virus, I realized I couldn’t take it anymore, immersed in a world so fast, full of deadlines and urgency. I did the lockdown in Ibiza and I got my own life back. I feel like I’m living in a moment of maturity and awareness. I truly believe that if you have the power to see things from a certain distance, then you can really understand what’s good for you.
WWD: You are busy with many different things, but above all, you still run the County of Milan. What do you see in the future for the brand?
MB: I’m still the creative director, I deal with the New Guard and I have a great team. Brands are always evolving without prioritizing grand strategies. And I think we’re going to be ahead of that. We are opening two stores, one in Milan and one in Ibiza. We will do many new cooperation for the 10th anniversary. I’m the sole owner of the brand and I have a license agreement with NGG until 2035. We’ll see if at that point they want to renew.
WWD: Also, I know you’re working on a lot of projects, from the Healthy Colors food chain to supporting your friends’ projects…
MB: I also opened Noa, named after my dog, which is a real estate company. We buy apartments in strategic areas of Milan, remodel them and resell them. However, the project I am most interested in right now is the Marcelo Burlon Foundation, with the goal of spreading culture and education on very sensitive issues, especially the issue of racism against the LGBTQ community. +. We held an event in Ibiza to raise money to open in Tuscany a shelter, called Marcella, where we welcome and protect transgender people who experience different types of violence. We are publishing a series of books with a National Geographic photographer on environmental disaster. We’re starting with the wildfires that devastated Patagonia earlier this year, and the proceeds from the book sales will help those who lost everything in those areas. Also, I’m working with Jason Campbell on a book that chronicles the evolution of racism in fashion from the ’70s to the present day.
WWD: Future goals for the platform?
MB: Open a dog shelter in Ibiza and Patagonia, with veterinarians taking care of them and all the equipment to ensure they lead a happy life.
WWD: You’ve done so many things in your life, from dancing in clubs, acting in movies to doing PR, organizing events and launching a successful fashion brand, among many others. Is there anything you still want to do to feel truly accomplished?
MB: What do you know? Are not. I did everything I wanted to, I put my heart into a lot of projects, and I felt fine and happy. There was a time when I wanted to make a vegetable garden in Ibiza and I did. I’m ready to start driving around the island with my Mehari to bring everyone my veggies. I like the simple things, the little pleasures that you almost don’t see. The truth is I made my dream come true… Listen, I tell you this – they’re working on an eight-episode series about myself with great actors and a great director… can you believe? This is crazy!
https://wwd.com/menswear-news/mens-designer-luxury/marcelo-burlon-the-count-of-milan-1235000441/ Marcelo Burlon Discusses Upcoming Book, TV Show About His Life – WWD