Nowadays, the two not only live together in that über designed pad, they share working quarters as well. This summer Lerario rented out the rear part of her design studio–cum–showroom, which she opened in 2004 after her two-year stint at TSE, to none other than Geller. “We’re so busy, it’s really two different worlds,” he says. “But we’re close enough that we can talk to each other and go for lunch.” Lerario adds that when she makes the mental switch from showroom exec to designer, she shuffles over the hundred feet or so to Geller’s office to sketch and “go into my creative mode.”
Yet for all that crossover—the pair also admits to researching their collections together—Geller and Lerario manage to keep their design sensibilities separate. Of course, catering to completely different markets certainly helps. The Hamburg-born Geller works an elegant yet edgy vibe in his men’s wear. Lerario, on the other hand, is all about gentle femininity offset with homespun details: raw wooden beading and exquisite embroideries. If their clothes have one thing in common, it’s their sense of melancholy romance, a theme both acknowledge has amplified since they came together as a couple.
As for fashion’s ever-stressful demands affecting the relationship, neither Lerario nor Geller will cop to it. “We both get crazy at the same time,” explains Geller. “When she doesn’t have any time to spend with me, I don’t have any time to spend with her anyway.” At home, he adds, they prefer to keep shoptalk at bay. Asked if one day the two might join creative forces, Lerario and Geller at first respond in the negative. “We’re keen on keeping it separate,” he says but then concedes that they haven’t exactly closed the door on smaller collaborative projects. “It could be jewelry or accessories.” Or, Lerario adds, “a store with beautiful things.”
Turns out they are, in fact, in the midst of a business partnership, albeit one as far from the fashion fray as can be: cattle raising. Come December they will make the trek to Montes Claros, Brazil, to build a vacation house and farm with the help of architect Fabio Storrer, who designed Fiftytwo and is part owner of the Manhattan eatery Casa. (Storrer also served as “art director” of the couple’s wedding.) “We’re going to buy some cattle, about one hundred,” says Lerario, who received the plot of land as a wedding gift from her father; he owns a large cattle ranch nearby.