Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez's fashion blog, tomandlorenzo.com is a runaway hit

Lorenzo Marquez (left) and Tom Fitzgerald started out writing about "Project Runway."
Lorenzo Marquez (left) and Tom Fitzgerald started out writing about "Project Runway." (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: September 13, 2012

EVERY COUPLE relishes those "I told you so" moments. But few must delight in them more than nationally known fashion bloggers Lorenzo Marquez and Tom Fitzgerald.

The Philly-based pair run the popular fashion blog Tom + Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated (tomandlorenzo.com), where they critique red-carpet looks and do style-focused reviews of TV shows like "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey," analyzing the story through the costumes.

But it all wouldn't have happened if Marquez hadn't slammed his gym bag down in their Queen Village home one day and insisted they start writing about the reality show "Project Runway."

The blog, started in 2006, has been their full-time job for two years. The site gets about 350,000 page views a day, a number corroborated by several independent sites that track Internet usage.

Their success has afforded them a column in gay lifestyle magazine MetroSource, a recent profile in the New York Times and a book deal with Perigee, a division of Penguin Books. The book will be called Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me and will hit shelves in February 2014.

Marquez, a former translator, and Fitzgerald, a former proofreader, both 46, have been together for 16 years. "That's about 45 in gay years," Marquez quipped. They met at the triceps machine at the Bally Total Fitness gym at 15th and Walnut.

Six years ago they were freelancing, and business wasn't booming. Marquez fell in love with "Project Runway" Season 3 second-runner-up Laura Bennett (due, in part, to her copious collection of Louis Vuitton bags) and talked Fitzgerald into starting Project Rungay, a blog about the show.

"I said fine, but put it out of your head that we're going to have an audience. That doesn't happen. A million people start blogs and .0001 percent get to be Julie and Julia," Fitzgerald said, referencing the gourmet-cooking blog turned best-seller and movie.

Three months later, they were in Bennett's limo, driving to the "Runway" finale party. "[Marquez] has said, 'I told you so' a million times," Fitzgerald said.

'Educated outsiders'

Their success is not as easy as posting some photos and pouring themselves a cocktail. They put up about 10 to 14 posts a day. Other popular blogs with similar output, like Perez Hilton or Just Jared, work with a full staff.

Fitzgerald, who has a film degree, is the "big nerd guy," who does most of the writing. Marquez is the fashion obsessive who meticulously scours photo services for the perfect pictures.

They see themselves as "educated outsiders" critiquing fashion. "We're describing people's clothes. It's a grand human tradition," Fitzgerald said. "I'm sure we were doing it in caves. 'I can't believe he's wearing yak fur this season. Whatever.' Anybody can do it."

But Tom and Lorenzo have created their own niche. There were few other sites regularly recapping "Project Runway" when they started in 2006, and their pop-culture focus has helped them draw TV geeks as well as people whose annual highlight is Vogue's huge September issue.

The voice they've tried to cultivate, in their own words, is that of your saucy, gay best friend, who will tell you that, yes, you do look fat in those jeans.

But he loves you anyway.

"Even though they might be biting at times, they are never mean or nasty, and I think people really respond to that," said Nina Garcia, "Project Runway" judge and Marie Claire fashion director. "Their significance shows through their shocking amount of followers and their presence at major shows in New York."

Garcia is often a subject of Tom + Lorenzo's in "Judging the Judges," which critiques judges' outfits on "Project Runway." They wrote of a recent Garcia ensemble: "It could almost be called businesslike, if people normally conducted business in gold fringe."

They saw Garcia at New York Fashion Week last week, and she said they wouldn't like her future outfits. "But anyone who can smile like that when she sees us is gonna be hard to bitch about," they blogged.

Other regular facets of the blog include "WERQ" (when a celeb looks head-to-toe fantastic) and "Girl, That's Not Your Dress" (in which they tsk-tsk a celeb for wearing the wrong outfit).

One thing they won't do is critque the average woman, who unlike a celebrity doesn't have an army of experts to cater their every fashion move.

"You're a real person," Marquez said. "You take the bus, you get into a cab, you stand, you have a drink spilled on you."

That's why their book will be about the life cycle of a celebrity, instead of style advice for everyday women - even though everyday people are always asking for their fashion advice.

"What they do so well on their site and will also be able to do in the book is demonstrate how a lot of these ideas of style and image that celebrities and stylists work with are applicable to the everyday reader," said Jeanette Shaw, their editor at Perigee. "And they do it with such wit, snark and yet warmth. They're basically the gay uncles every woman wishes she had."


Contact Molly Eichel at eichelm@phillynews.com or 215-854-5909. Follow her on Twitter @mollyeichel.

|
|
|
|
|