John Varvatos spares no expense transforming his frescoed show space at Corso Italia 21. This season's set had metal grates, swirling smoke, and sturdy cables tethering the runway up. It was abstract but familiar, until he clicked the parts together. "I created a bridge crossing an ocean," he said. "We bridged the English dandy and the modern age."
The dandy would've been pleased. This collection used velvet by the yard: washed velvet brogues (the designer was wearing a pair himself), velvet motorcycle waistcoats, a velvet tux. There were capes and cutaways and rich jewel tones of garnet and violet. It's the medium, not the message, that's the leap. Varvatos' beloved Detroit scuzz-rockers are all dandies par excellence, and though the materials may have been more precious here than in seasons past, Fall found Varvatos in familiar form. The boot-cut suits, the endless neckerchiefs, vests for days…well, boys keep swinging. Still, the impetus to up the materials—fueled by the designer's ongoing conviction that "guys are dressing up again"—pushed Varvatos to some interesting new finds, like the handwoven ombré fabrics that bled from gray to blue, a year and a half in development.