“He’s just the most amazing character,” Whitewall publisher Michael Klug said of his spring issue cover boy. “Totally unique.” And when the guest of honor entered, with much fanfare and flashbulbs, in his unchanging uniform of biker leathers and cap, followed by a bevy of boys in black, it was a hard claim to dispute.
Marino is best known as the retail design guru behind Barneys’ Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills stores, as well as the go-to architect for Chanel, Fendi, Zegna, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton, whose Marino-designed New Bond Street store opens next month. From his first high-profile success (designing Andy Warhol’s townhouse) to his recent fashion flagships—”hard, clean, modern” in his own words—he’s won acclaim the world over. Work has lately taken him to Beirut, Paris, London, Dresden, Dubai, and China (the last of which now accounts for 90 percent of Marino’s commissions). Standing with friends like Waris (pictured, with Marino) among Harings at the Shafrazi Gallery for a party in his honor last night, Marino was talking culture more than commerce.
“This is my museum year,” he said. The enormous retrospective of les Lalanne he designed opened in March at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs, and his redesign of the porcelain galleries of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden opened last week. Next up: an exhibition of sixteenth to eighteenth-century bronzes from his personal collection at the Wallace in London, opening later this month. “Two years ago, when the home market and everything crashed, I said yes to the France thing and yes to the Dresden thing,” he said with typical brio. “I figured, fuck it, if we’re not gonna make money, we might as well make culture.”