January 11, 2014 Milan
The first superhero-to-be was Varvatos favorite Miles McMillan in a motorcycle-style blazer that zipped on the bias and featured shoulder and elbow patches of silver-foiled croc. He and each guy that followed looked like a Varvatos man amplified: one who wore the usual attenuated tailoring accessorized with biker boots, wallet chains, and knotted scarves, but whose jacquarded jacket and tie played tricks with the light, whose jeans came in stretch leather, whose sweater closed with silver toggles like little stakes. Stardom is a common enough fantasy, though it remains to be seen how many will line up to dress the part. The most extreme pieces, like a black overcoat whose back sprouted what looked like raven's feathers, appeared to be ready for a concert stage, but Varvatos insisted that everything on the runway had been bought for his stores and would be on view in his showroom for any other retailers brave enough to take it on.
The encore to the production, such as it was, was a quartet of surprise guests who came out with Varvatos to take his runway bow: Kiss in the flesh, vamping to "Rock and Roll All Nite" with Gene Simmons' yard-long tongue unfurled for the occasion. The band had flown 17 hours to make an appearance, to be capped off by a performance at the show's after-party tonight. Then it would be straight back home to L.A. Backstage, guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley offered his own critical appraisal of his friend. For him, he said, Varvatos represented not capricious fashion, but timeless style. "John is not a member of the fashion community," he added. "He is a member of the rock 'n' roll community." Then he toddled off to rock and roll all nite.