September 08, 2005
John Varvatos's spring collection suggested a mood of elegant resignation and decayas though hard, masculine edges had been washed and worn away by nature. The designer cited a military influence, but one that was soft rather than tough: a camouflage print was sun-bleached into near invisibility on a linen trench or pair of trousers and showed up as the frayed trim on a cotton blouson. The same spirit informed the faded colors and vintage feel of items like a washed leather motorcycle vest, a suede blouson with collegiate-knit cuffs and waistband, and the wide-wale corduroy shoes sported by many of the modelsthey looked as much like comfy slippers as smart slip-ons. Even a three-piece suit in dark-olive linen had a distinctively vintage edge, thanks to the belted back of the jacket.
Varvatos brought the mood back to a more modern, "dressy casual" feel by pairing a shawl-collared tuxedo jacket with white jeans. But the hand-stitching on the silk and linen suit that closed the show was a reminder that the designer is aiming high for a timeless look all his own.