Sometimes, zig wants to zag. John Varvatos
, king of casual, went elegant. "I just felt like it," he said after the show. "The great thing about being a designer is you can do what you want, and to try to keep yourself interested." The necktie that collared each look gave the hint that all wasn't as it had been. What interests Varvatos now is refinement: a louche, wide-legged variety, fedora-topped, that recalled the thirties as the strutters of the seventies imagined them. Bowie circa Thin White Duke and Brian Jones were the inspirations in chief. So rock hasn't been banished from the house, just tidied up. What he's offering, Varvatos said, is "an elegance that most young people don't know, because they've never dressed up that much. They've worn a suit, but they've never really been elegant." Time regularly replenishes this supply of impressionable youth. Maybe they'll thrill to the strut on show here. That's a cheerful prospect, as is the one that, back in the showroom, much of the stridency will likely be skimmed off the top. The runway is as much a stage as any Bowie ever played. A good thing to remember as you consider the prospect of a generation trailing Varvatos' western fringe behind its formalwear.