Imagine a cross between a French peasant and a refugee from the Russian front, and you have some idea where the John Varvatos man is headed for fall. In sartorial terms, that translated into washed fabrics cut into clothes with a strong military influence. If that sounds somewhat drab, Varvatos's knack for what he calls utilitarian luxury elevated the collection (as did the scale and sophisticated styling of the show
A washed leather jacket was croc-stamped, while a trench, also in washed leather, was hand-painted to add a patina of faded luxe. Other fabric treatments included dip-dyeing (on a tweed jacket and poncho) and metal threads woven into the herringbone of a collarless coat. In keeping with the military inspiration, tailoring was highlighted, often in traditional tweeds, and the construction details emphasized (seams were trimmed or exposed). But it was the gutsy outerwear that truly shone, especially a double-breasted officer's coat, a plush number in goatskin, and an epauletted nylon trench in a shade labeled "quagmire" (a veiled reference, perhaps, to the current situation in Iraq).
Varvatos tagged a sampling of his Star USA range on the end of the show. It had a college boy attitude, part grunge, part vintage: Think layers of washed leathers and wools, velour sweats, untucked shirts, Converse sneakers. And, priced something like 50 percent cheaper than the signature collection, it should certainly find its audience.