February 03, 2008
There's all sorts of research that insists if the modern man could do it all again, he'd do it in a band. And John Varvatos would be designing his clothes. Varvatos is most convincing when he's channeling his inner rock star. That's why the standouts from his latest show were items like a silvered leather military jacket, a ponyskin biker jacket, and a glossy black lacquered peacoat. They had the kind of glamour you could imagine the teen Varvatos absorbing from Creem and Circus magazines when he was growing up in Michigan. A fringed velvet scarf, a coq feather nonchalantly trailing from a jacket pocketjust the accessories a mirror freak would use while he pranced around his room to Queen or Bowie (unsurprisingly on the soundtrack here).
Varvatos seemed to have designed the rest of the collection as a low-key backdrop for those few pieces. The palette was determinedly gray. It was kind of striking in the opener: a tweed tux with a matching wingtip shirt. In fact, the matching suit-and-shirt combo was something of a signature. So was the inventive layering that shrouded special pieces under somber, anonymous wraps: a silvered lambskin jacket under a hooded trench, a vest in quilted crimson leather under a black topcoat. The rocker's heart beats eternal.