From IT and marketing to high-end real estate and editing a lifestyle magazine, Loy Carlos, founder of Classiques Modernes Lifestyle Estates and Classiques Modernes International, has covered a great deal of ground over the course of his nearly 30-year career thus far.
After working at William B. May Co. and the Corcoran Group, and founding the strategy firm, Charles Albern & Associates, Carlos launched ClassiquesModernes.com in 2012; Classiques Modernes Lifestyle & Estates soon followed, launching in Spring 2014.
Today, the publication has a global following and can be found in limited print circulation and on Amazon Kindle, Issuu, and its website.
1. How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in your current industry?
I don’t derive personal satisfaction from industry-specific work. I regard each project or task as a personal challenge, but part of something bigger than one company or industry. I used to tell my bosses or clients, “I’ll stay until I feel that either you or I are no longer growing.” When people tell me something can’t be done, I get to work. To me, what matters is not as much a love of any industry but a love of work that makes a difference. That being said, I like getting to know people and hearing about their stories and ideas. Both real estate and the magazine give me unlimited opportunities to get to know, and collaborate with, people.
2. What is your biggest career highlight to date?
I started almost 30 years ago with a part-time admin job. Within three or so months, I became head of what we refer to now as the IT department. That was a big deal then, because it was the single most important admin position in the company. I was once the only real estate rep at a tech convention where they first demonstrated the future-–the internet. I would later move to three other top firms, where I was given free hand on very diverse operational, marketing, and sales management projects. It was exhilarating to have worked on converting mainframes to PC-based systems, first to integrate videos and listings, the first digital displays on storefronts, and first to process transparencies, publish marketing materials with floor plans and photos in-house. These are considered best practices now, but in the 1990s, they were considered crazy ideas. Then I took everything that I learned in sales, advertising, marketing/branding, and technology, and put them to work for real estate clients. It paid off and we became the number one residential real estate group in the country, with over half a billion dollars in annual sales. Then before there was content marketing, my partner Kenneth Moore and I decided to publish our own magazine to help promote exceptional neighborhood businesses and talent, as well as to bring focus to “non-sexy” issues and organizations that main stream media wouldn’t cover. We collaborated with Pratt Institute in establishing their Fashion New Media Design Curriculum. Today, we have readers in all continents.
3. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?
I very much safeguard the privacy of clients, but I hope they might forgive me for this one. I met Sarah Jessica Parker at a private preview when they were looking for a home. From day one, we hit it off. She is kind, down to earth, and has genuine interest in other people. So we chatted like old friends. A few days later, I met Matthew, who was quite a bit more reserved than I had expected and who has a dry sense of humor. Apparently she had been talking to him about me. As we walked through though, she realized she had forgotten to tell him that I was in Selling New York. Before I knew it, two of the biggest screen superstars were excitedly asking me about my five-minute onscreen debut! How can you not fall in love with them? She still is one of few people who refer to me as “Aloysius.”
Here’s another. Several years ago, a friend of mine couldn’t make an appointment. Because I was the only other person the owner would consult when she was away, I took over. A group of people came. And at the back of the entourage was a very understated, but exquisite young woman. As the showing went on, I felt that there was something else going on between her and the guy who seemed to be leading the group. So I turned to her and whispered, “Aww. You are in love.” She just giggled a bit, and smiled. When I got back, I realized I had just shown to Jay Z and Beyoncé! This was before they were publicly a couple.
4. How would you describe your personal style?
I’m “casually conservative,” or as my thesis advisor at NYU used to call it, “sophisticated but accessible.”
5. What is a typical day in your life like?
I don’t know that I have a typical day. I jump from meetings about condominium projects, investments, talking fashion with fashion designers, music with songwriters, politics with politicians, food with restaurateurs, to various projects and initiatives of charitable organizations. It may seem on the surface that they are disconnected. But to me, everything is one. If we are to move forward, everything has to move forward. That means businesses have to thrive in neighborhoods that people want to live in. It means political and social issues are understood and addressed accordingly. It means exploring every aspect of culture and lifestyle. There is so much information that is being fed to us. What we do is curate for our readers and our real estate clients so both stay informed and in touch with the best ideas, the best brands, and the best people. We are cultural cartographers.
Cynthia Bailey and Loy Carlos
6. What are three never-miss events on your calendar?
Every two years we throw a “Beautiful People” party that friends and clients always anticipate. It’s a celebration of people whom we consider beautiful inside and out. My New Year’s Eve party for closest family and friends is another. I, myself, prepare and cook for three days from appetizers to multiple dishes and several choices for desserts. Personally, I try not to miss any important charity events that can really use my help, or any events related to my nephews, nieces, family members, and dear friends. I am a firm believer in supporting people.
7. What are your three favorite locations in the city?
Museums and live theaters. Any undiscovered neighborhood gem the city has to offer. I loathe discriminatory social clubs and have a unique indifference to restaurants that have to be reserved a year in advance–-so anywhere but there.
8. What are your three favorite restaurants in the city?
I genuinely love the variety of restaurants in NYC, and it’s hard to say because it depends on what I’m in the mood for. But generally, Jean Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants are always reliably good and consistent. When with friends, Chef Chris Santos’s Beauty & Essex or Stanton Social. The third is really between Avra, La Goulue, and Cipriani. Oh, and Ramen Yebisu in Williamsburg.
9. What about your three favorite bars?
I feel old and too busy to be going to bars. It depends with whom I am going, really. Center Bar at Time Warner, Rose Bar at Gramercy, Radegast Hall for beer? Anyone that serves a good glass of wine for less than $20. With my best friend from NYU, I am not beyond margaritas that come in a fish bowl.
10. What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?
I don’t know that this is the best but it certainly is a classic New York moment. When I was still in university, I was invited to a very private potluck party where everyone was rather well known (except for me). Sigourney Weaver arrives with a sharpie and a stack of blank name card stickers, then proceeds to ask everyone to write their names and put them on. I thought it was funny to see well known people walking around with name tags like “Sigourney.” Then Caroline Kennedy brought brownies, which quickly disappeared. I found out that people were taking them to later “decipher” the famous Kennedy brownie recipe. When Caroline saw the platter quickly emptied, she was perturbed. So I told her why; at which point she whispered embarrassingly, “They’re off a box!”
Pretty bad: Every time photographers at events ask me to step away from friends I’m talking to or even people who came with me so they can take pictures…because I am not of the look or color they want on social media.
Loy Carlos with True Models at the GlobalShare Gala Fashion Show (Courtesy of Monico Rabaro)
11. Name your go-to:
a. Outfit – Cashmere or super soft cotton pull overs/turtle necks, and proper slacks.
b. Perfume or Fragrance – I have a collection. But these days, Zegna Uomo and Hanae Mori. I wish brands would stop discontinuing and changing their formula yearly.
c. Movie – Rudy, Hoosiers, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cinema Paradiso, and when it’s out on DVD: Call Me By Your Name
d. Book – Borrowed Time by Paul Monet (an autobiography during the early AIDS crisis), any classic especially by Dostoyevsky, Kerouac’s On the Road, works of Henry David Thoreau, Einstein’s and Hesse’s compilations of essays, Harry Potter series (anything that can get children interested in reading), and just to annoy my snobbiest professor at NYU, Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge.
e. TV show – Any documentary on History/Science/Nat Geo/Netflix, Golden Girls, MASH, Game of Thrones, Ghost Whisperer, Shameless, Will & Grace, British cooking shows, Midsommer Murders, Father Brown, Doctor Blake, Criminal Minds(all), Law & Order (orig & SVU), the Travelers, Stranger Things…
12. Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special?
Anywhere you can take a vacation around the world is a good place for me. But for quick getaways, Miami. I enjoy Acqualina for service and quality. Unfortunately, it’s a bit far from South Beach where I am usually satiated by a simple stroll.
Provincetown. Land’s End Inn. I like reserving the Schoolman Suite. It’s a funky duplex with a deck and views of the bay. The interior is replete with antiques. Provincetown in Cape Cod is a magical town. It’s hard to describe in words, it just has a certain spirit that is different from your usual tourist vacation places. I mostly sit by the dock and stare at the water, or visit galleries along Commercial Street, or have wine and oysters in my favorite restaurants. It’s historically a haven for writers and artists, which makes sense to me. During the summer, Broadway and movie stars performing a show for a week are wandering the streets as well. I love reconnecting with friends on the Fourth of July, during Carnival, and Labor Day weekend. And I live for the Portuguese Bakery.
13. What are your three most played songs?
Recently, Sufjan Stevens’s Mystery of Love and Bach’s Zion hort die Wachter singen. I have over 2,500 songs/music from jazz to pop to country to classical to soul to dance to movie soundtracks on my phone. That includes commercially established artists and emerging singers/songwriters. Riding on the car in traffic with me is a wild trip through decades of music.
14. What are three items you couldn’t live without?
My piano. Sometimes words can’t express what’s going on in my head and only music can bring it out. My laptop. It’s my lifeline to information, and I’m an information addict. My cooking tools: dutch ovens, pans, etc. Because when all else fails, I cook or bake.
15. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Barack Obama. Because there is a lot more work that needs to be done. Mark Zuckerberg, because what he and others in tech do will ultimately make our lives infinitely better or worse…and I’m not sure they have acquired the wisdom of people who have lived through things.
16. What is something people might not know about you
I despise talking about myself, I am unforgiving of my own imperfection but quite tolerant of others, and I am always thinking about multiple things at the same time, which comes across as being moody and irritable.
Bridal designer Laure de Sagazan and Loy Carlos
17. When did you feel like you had “made it” professionally?
Never. What I’ve learned is that I’m not alone in this. Anyone I’d ever come across who is considered wildly successful in any industry has the same fear: that one day, someone will find out that we’re really not that good. So we work like insane perfectionists.
18. Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in your industry?
Work as if it’s your last day on earth. Educate yourself as if everyone is getting ahead of you. Believe, even when no one else does. There is no such thing as a pioneer who discovered something that everyone already knew to be true.
19. What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next 5-10 years?
Technology will take over. Augmented & Virtual Reality, AI, Cryptocurrency will change the way we see and experience things. Lifestyle will be considered just one industry… not separate, loosely related, or unrelated industries.
20. Is there anything else you’d like to share, discuss or promote?
First, I’d love for people to follow Classiques Modernes and the people, brands, and projects that we feature. When we select or collaborate with someone, it means they are contributing to the growth of, or giving back to, the community in some fashion. It also means they have met a certain level of excellence that is difficult to achieve. I ask people to be loyal to those who work really hard to provide them service. When you give your business instead to someone or some corporation that is focused only on shareholder profits in exchange for your short-term gain, you contribute to the financial demise of the people who actually care about what they deliver and how they deliver it. Secondly, for good or for bad, we are now global citizens. Thanks to technology, everything we now do is directly intertwined. Live local, but think global. Third, enjoy life, but take it seriously. We don’t live in reality TV. Don’t confuse the two. Fourth, know the difference between simple and simplistic. Support decency, science, and truth. Without them, nothing makes sense. Lastly, love and be loved. No one dying ever said, “Thank god I hated and was hated enough!”
To learn more about Classiques Modernes, visit https://www.classiquesmodernes.com/
* Bridal designer Laure de Sagazan and Loy Carlos — Courtesy of Loy Carlos;
* Cynthia Bailey and Loy Carlos — Courtesy of Loy Carlos;
* Loy Carlos w/ True Models at GlobalShare Gala Fashion Show – Photo by Monico Rabaro;
* Loy in Montauk – Courtesy of Loy Carlos.