Caffeinated creator. Gym rat. Gentleman of ritual. We spend a chilly fall morning trying to keep up with the WRKSHOP founder.
“My energy drink… I don’t think it’s technically legal in this country.”
Everyone gathered in Matteo Gottardi’s penthouse apartment is moving a bit slow this morning – everyone except the host. “I usually go out on Tuesday nights,” Matteo says as he whirrs around in his kitchen before arranging himself on the edge of the sofa. “So you’ll have to excuse me.” He smiles and bites into an apple. There are sweeping views of the Hudson River all around us. He seems to enjoy the momentary pause.
Italian- born Matteo hasn’t had much time to relax since opening THE WRKSHOP in 2010 – his studio that churns out designs for numerous other labels as well as his own collection, WRK (which he launched in 2011). His first collaboration for WRK was with Levi’s. Then came a Neiman Marcus exclusive. The label takes iconic pieces like a waxed cotton motorcycle jacket and attempts to make them even more functional – “we’re performance oriented without being overly obvious and literal.” Matteo is back off the couch as he says this. He’s going to introduce us to Terminal Shock.
“I was at Sportlander in Chelsea looking for green tea, and the sales rep says, ‘no man you need this.’ This is Terminal Shock – an intimidating canister that contains an otherworldly blue powder. Mix it with water, and it becomes a high-powered energy drink. Matteo downs it every day before he works out. “I don’t think it’s technically legal in this country,” he jokes.
Matteo wears the same Patagonia hat (navy blue with a big red patch) every morning at the gym, which is located downstairs in his building. “I’m a man of ritual,” he tells us. He cracks jokes with a few of the security guys at the front desk. They love him. He places his water bottle in its “usual place” on the rack of weights and begins his workout – “30 minutes of cardio, and 30 of lifting.” He wears iPhone touch gloves he got from his mother. He checks morning emails on his iPad while simultaneously planking in an adjoining room.
After the gym it’s a protein shake – “strawberries, kiwi, hemp-based vegan protein…” and coffee. He drinks his entire shake standing in front of the window looking out at the river. CNN is on TV. “This is my little sacred thing. It’s just what I do,” he says. Like most guys, he also steals a look in the mirror to check his, ahem, workout progress. “It’s so strange to have someone standing with you while you do the things you normally do alone,” he laughs as he cleans up his cheeks and neck with his razor – he never uses shave cream, only pre-shave oil. He’ll usually follow that with a shower, often a Neti Pot for his sinuses, and Aesop moisturizer.
“This is the last thing I do before I leave every day… I like to think I’m a gladiator getting all geared up.”
Matteo is late. He comes out of his room wearing jeans, and a jacket from his latest WRK collection. Now he’s standing in front of a bowl on his hall table, adorning himself in various bracelets and his steel watch. “This is the last thing I do before I leave every day… I like to think I’m a gladiator getting all geared up.” He smiles and we head towards the garage across the street where his motorcycle (a jet black 2006 Triumph he’s nicknamed “Naomi”) is waiting. He jumps aboard. The wind is howling now. We shake hands quickly. Our goodbyes are barely audible. There’s only the sound of the engine as Matteo revs his bike and heads towards the Westside Highway. He’s gone in an instant.
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