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Marco Marco, the Hollywood-based design house headed by designer Marco Morante, is responsible for some of the most instantly-iconic looks of the past few years. Think Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha and then perhaps most iconic of all, Katy Perry’s cupcake bra. Morante’s also been consulting on RuPaul’s Drag Race since Season One, lending his considerable rapid-turnaround experience and over-the-top style to the queens’ workroom challenges.
If you pay close attention to the Pit Crew, though, RuPaul’s very helpful and handsome helpers, you’ll also see that Marco Marco has also branched out to men’s underwear.
Morante was tapped to style the Pit Crew guys in Drag Race, matching them to the challenges that the queens had to do. “If the girls are going to be in apocalypse drag, we’ll have the boys playing hazmat characters with white briefs, or if they’re cops they’ll get all black ones,” Morante told The Underwear Expert. “We began to create looks that were specific to the challenge, with custom printed elastic on the waist. It was specific to the show, but it was also a great test for us and our brand. We got to work on fixing the fit, the look, etc.”
That’s right: his underwear isn’t just for Ru’ and her queens. Morante is releasing a full line of men’s briefs and trunks before summer’s here, and if the debut marketing photos are any indication, this underwear will be sure to catch your eye.
“I’d been designing men’s underwear for a while, but just as a side thing,” Morante said. “But, I’d always wanted to do a whole line.”
Morante has kept his underwear project on the side, while making quite a name for himself as a costume designer. “I’ve been trying to focus and go in one direction at a time. And I wanted to do [the underwear] the way I wanted to do them. I wanted all of it to be made here, even the elastic band,” which until this year was only made outside of the US.
“Our line is going to be a little crazier than you might normally see; more colorful, more daring,” he said. “I wanted to create the underwear, then create a campaign and see the response that it would get in the world. First, we’re focusing on a brief and then a trunk.” There will be some swimwear during the summer, too. But, he told us, “we want to keep it simple at first: only three cuts and six or seven colorways.”
And for inspiration? “Part of it will be a section inspired by go go [boy] culture, circuit culture.” Fitting, for a designer working on one of the most eccentric reality shows in recent history. But, he cautioned, “there’s also going to be a section that’s slightly more related to the regular Marco Marco line.”
It turns out that Marco Morante is poised to make a name for himself in the men’s underwear industry. And, if you haven’t seen RuPaul’s Drag Race or designs from Marco Marco, you’re in for a treat.
As for who’s going to be making a name for herself in the season finale of Drag Race… Morante doesn’t let any details slip. “I really don’t know. None of us know, those of us who worked on the show,” he said. “If it’s for my personal style – it’s Sharon Needles. I love what she’s doing. She’s just blowing it out of the water. But I also love Chad, such an amazing performer, and a good friend. If either of them win, I’ll be happy.”
Take a look at some of Marco Marco’s hot new styles here both on the show and in front of the camera, and get ready to get squared.