Date: October 24 & 28. Venue: Bloomingdale’s – 59th Street, Katie Murphy Amphitheatre
John Varvatos gives us rock star chic with his many shades of gray, from his scarves to biker boots, Oxford shoes and apparel. Other gray-tinged hues included purple cardigans, plum paisley button-downs, linen blazers, blue velvet suits and a tweed top coat, while pops of maroon surfaced throughout the collection.
During a two-day special, the fashion designer met with fans for the new release of Rock In Fashion, a curated book of Varvatos’ Rock muses, featuring Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Slash and Patty Smith (to name a few). Varvatos built an impressive resume, working for Ralph Lauren, CK and Eddie Bauer before opening up shop at age 44. In keeping with his love for all things Rock, his Bowery store location was once the 70’s CBGB music club. During an in-depth discussion, Varvatos gushed about the 60’s rock band The UP, dubbing them the freakiest of all bands, with what he calls “an electrifying stage presence.” Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page was Varvatos’ all-time coolest Rocker with a personal style of full androgyny, wearing women’s blouses during stage performances. Varvatos also credits fashion-chameleon David Bowie as a boundary-pusher. Loving people who evolve and push boundaries, to him Rolling Stones Keith Richards was the most stylish. Musician Lou Reed, with his Bob Dylan influences, had ever-changing style, according to Varvatos, “…his style and inspiration will live on, and has inspired so many.” “The Blondes Debby Harry is quite feminine and sexy,” and “Style transcends generation” he says of anti-fashion (Guns N’ Roses guitarist) Slash, for his iconic hat and converse sneakers.
A collector of pictures, from architect to Rock stars, Varvatos’ passion for music has undoubtedly influenced his fashion empire. Growing up, The Stooges were the frontrunners of punk, fascinating him with their torn jeans, leather and shag hairstyle. Varvatos confesses he still owns his first motorcycle jacket. “Behind the sunglasses of the most badass rockers is someone who is reserved; shy” he mentions of punk rocker Patti Smith. During a Q&A session, one audience member asked, “How have Stylist effected Rock?” To which Varvatos recalled a time when rockers had their girlfriends make their costumes. Jimmy Hendrix was one of those rockers, so inspiring, yet equally inspired by his girlfriend’s clothes. However, now we have way more options for fashion. “In performing it’s everything, music and clothes” Varvatos explains as he reminisced about the London punk scene with their doc martens, and the hard rock band New York Dolls with their platform shoes. New York Dolls drummer Brian Delaney, in particular, would commit to the music scene playing in a pair of woman’s pumps.
“Style is about personality.” says Varvatos, referring to his own scarf brand, as he recalls front-men Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith) and Axl Rose (of Guns N’ Roses), both inspired by scarves. “T-Shirts are a part of the design world,” Varvatos states as a matter-of-factly. Inspired by Mick Jagger’s Who The Hell is Mick Jagger T-shirt, he too made his own Who The Hell Is John Varvatos T-shirt.
When asked about present-day menswear, Varvatos admitted aside from the essential great details, finesse, fabric and fit, men’s fashion is growing at a higher rate than women’s fashion, with what he calls a “newness-factor.” Modern-day man now has personal style and a closet full of stuff to prove it, versus the previous generation man who had very little brands to choose from, featuring bare minimum fashion.
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