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County of Milan’s Marcelo Burlon on Bubbles and Streetwear

Last June, Moët & Chandon threw a big bash in New York to celebrate the first time their Nectar Impérial Rosé bottle design had been reimagined. The collaboration was done with County of Milan’s Marcelo Burlon, and the collection of limited-edition bubbles was dubbed the “Tiger Bottle Collection.” We spoke to Burlon a few weeks earlier, to hear how he went from club kid to clothing designer, counting people like Kanye West and Bar Refaeli as fans and designers like Raf Simons and Riccardo Tisci as friends.

WHITEWALL: How did the collaboration with you and Moët & Chandon come about, since you typically work with fabrics and accessories rather than champagne bottles?

Courtesy of Moët & Chandon

MARCELO BURLON: I am from the club scene, and I worked in clubs for the past 20 years. Since my background was really being a club kid, it was super-easy for us to come up with the idea of collaborating together. I am not doing fashion, but I am doing a streetwear and my brand speaks to a certain type of customer, which can be a 15-year-old to a 45-year-old man. It does not only attract some kid that loves fashion, but people who love music. And the Nectar Impérial Rosé was perfect for this.

WW: The bottle design features a tiger motif—how did you arrive at that?

Courtesy of Moët & Chandon

MB: For my prints, each season there are a few different animals. The tiger is such a rare and special animal, and when you put a graphic like this on a T-shirt, you give power and confidence to the customer. That is something that we try in different way, and the public and people feel like this. So we thought using the white tiger [for Moët] was perfect.

WW: Rosé has become such a popular item in the summer here in the U.S. Is rosé champagne something you drink? Is it on the club scene?

MB: I don’t drink other alcohol, but I do drink rosé. It is super-premier and it hasn’t been really in the U.S. market. It is related to rappers and they are my biggest customers, which is great. They are also more of rosé’s customers, too. There is a big link between me and rosé.

WW: Earlier, you made the point that you are not making fashion, you are making streetwear. So how would you make that distinction between the two?

MB: Well, the difference is that fashion follows trends, and I am not following any kind of trend. Streetwear is more free. I am an independent designer, and I am not coming from fashion school. I am coming from PR; I have organized events in Milan for fashion brands like Gucci, Chanel, and Prada. It means I am an independent person, and I like to keep it like that. I am free to design whatever I like and whatever I feel from season to season. Even with the colors I choose for my collections, I am not following any trends, and I feel like that is the difference. What I am designing is what I wear every day. So I am designing for myself first of all.

WW: You travel quite a bit. How does that affect what you design, in terms of imagery and wearability?

MB: Absolutely. Well, I based some of my designs on Patagonia, where I come from. Also the colors you see the on the tiger—that is the key to the universe of Patagonia. Every time that I travel, I try to understand the culture of the country that I am traveling to. For example, we did the beautiful collaboration that I had with Pendleton in Oregon. They do blankets that are handmade by the Native North Americans, and there is also a type of fleece they work with, so we did a beautiful collection of blankets.

WW: North America is a big market for you. You are based in Milan—is there a growing market for streetwear there?

MB: We are living in a very special moment for luxury streetwear. It is a new wave internationally. We are in important stores in Milan. We are also a number-one seller for Barney’s. And there is such a demand for the brand related to social media. I promote a product on Instagram and Facebook, and people go and buy it because they see it on their feed. So there is big traffic, and stores want our brand because we created this big traffic.


This article is published in Whitewall‘s fall 2015 Fashion Issue, out this month.




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Minjung Kim




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