“The Greatest Show on Earth” isn’t just under the big top — it’s on the runway, too. Designer Marco Marco channeled a circus-like level of grandeur and spectacle to showcase his latest collection of underwear and va-va-voom outfits, dubbed A Night in the Red Light, on Oct. 21 at downtown Los Angeles’ Globe Theater. Aerialists, strongmen and heavily painted (and padded) “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alums dominated the catwalk.
“We decided to put on a show instead of a presentation,” Marco shared with Footwear News. “Ultimately what we do is, we make clothes for dancers and celebrities and pop stars, as well as underwear, so we tried to create a situation where we can show everything we do.”
Inspiration also came from Marco’s most recent project, designing the latest crop of costumes for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“I was in Florida putting my nose to the grind making that,” Marco said. “We did around 300 to 400 costumes — learning different aspects and what kind of things the costumes have to go through, and the attention to detail a company that old puts into their product.”
Creating footwear was also a part of the gig, including the ringmaster’s boots. “It’s scary but different and hard,” Marco said of designing shoes. “Just wrapping your brain around it, and it’s a different form.”
“I’ve always been connected to shoes — my first introduction being with shoes was with the Black Eyed Peas,” he recalled. “My partner and I went all over the world looking for the best sneakers for them. I remember having to catalog hundreds of sneakers for them. They loved Adidas, Nikes and Supras. Same thing for Fergie. We loved going out and buying fabulous footwear for her. In 2008 or 2009, we designed a heel-less shoe for Fergie that she wore on tour, and we made a bunch with embellishments that are amazing.”
In addition to his underwear line, the 36-year-old has designed concert tour costumes for boldface names such as Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez and Britney Spears.
Not much has changed since he opened his studio nearly 10 years ago.
“At 25 I was still here in the same studio that I’m in now,” he recalled. “I was buckled down here making costumes. I was working for a bunch of different artists at the time. I just finished my seven-year stint at ‘American Idol’ working as an onset stylist’s assistant. I had just decided to turn my little boutique that I had into a studio. We had been selling clothing the first few years I moved and decided to use our time strictly on custom wares, and I spent the next 10 years doing custom clothing for the music industry. I’ve never stayed on the shelf more than seven years — that seems to be my limit. I tend to move onto the next aspect of the field. When it seems stagnant I switch it up. I never felt I was entirely a fashion designer, costume designer or artist — I felt like all of them and not married to one aspect.”
If he could give his younger self advice, Marco said it would be to “stay on course” and “pay more attention to the business aspect.”
“I tend to be a butterfly,” he added. “Sometimes I don’t’ realize what’s going on; I enjoy the process of creating.”
Presented by Radar.tv, Marco’s runway show featured performances by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants Alaska, Shangela, Courtney Act and Adore Delano. Special guests included Carmen Electra, Guillermo Diaz and Farrah Abramson.