Marco Morante’s roster of clients is pretty impressive. The L.A.-based designer, working under the name Marco Marco, has outfitted everyone from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to The Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez and Nicki Minaj, for videos, tours and appearances, and he made headlines last year when he held a runway show featuring drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. After 14 years in the business, Morante is now used to dealing with high-profile celebs, but his first experience with an A-lister left him a little shaken—to the point where he was thrown off by a fist bump.
When we visited Morante at his studio on Las Palmas, in the heart of Hollywood, he greeted us wearing a simple gray T-shirt with rolled-up sleeves and black jeans—a stark contrast to the bright and whimsical patterns adorning the mannequins throughout his space. “I’m not much of a dresser. I like T-shirts and button-downs and jeans,” he said. The studio spans three storefronts—a progression made over time—and is highlighted by Morante’s paintings, spools of thread, rows of sewing machines and a collection of client photos rivaling names on the Walk of Fame, just steps away.