New York Fashion Week starts next week however we’ve already kicked off the
season in New York. Last night, John Varvatos showed his Fall/Winter 2018
collection dubbed john varvatos 2.0. The event was held at the Angel Orensanz
Center in the Lower East Side. The historic landmark and former synagogue with its
gothic structure served as the perfect backdrop as Varvatos took his rock inspired
style to the streets of New York.
The collection takes a look at the foundation that Varvatos since starting nearly 20
years ago and moves it forward. The idea was to take his looks to the street using
iconic styles revamped with a street influence. But it was not in the street wear that
you might imagine and surprisingly not so heavily inspired by the rock influence of
the past. The look was a more elegant updated style that will fit right at home on the
streets of New York yet would look just as fantastic here in DC.
The colors were a mix of nutmeg hues, soft winter whites and neutral sandy tones.
Varvatos is doing some amazing work with his use of fabric and texture. We were
treated to luxed washed velvets and abstract print cashmere and in addition, the
show showcased an incredible collection of outerwear in to die for suedes and
Prior to the show, Capitol File had a chance to chat with Varvatos to get a sneak peak
of what was about to stroll down the runway.
Capitol File (CF): Why show now since fashion week actually starts out next week?
John Varvatos (JF): A number of different reasons it started off simple, very
organically that we were going to do a party during Grammy weekend. We found
this magnificent space and we were going to do a lot of interesting things with it.
Then we said if we’re going to do that maybe we should do the show during
Grammy weekend. We’re a brand that’s rooted with music roots and it’d be really
interesting. There’s also something about me, the company and about being a rebel
and wanting to go rogue with stuff. There’s a moment when we said, “Can we pull
this off? “ Meaning can you get all the press, can you get everybody to come on that
isn’t just music oriented? It seems to have worked out really great. We do our own
thing and we have our own message.
CF: What’s the message this year? What’s the inspiration?
JV: It stems from how we all feel about what’s going in Washington and that things
have to change. As I look at the company, I start with products and there’s a part of
that that’s a social part ant that’s another aspect. But from the design standpoint, I
have a great young team that work with me and they constantly think about the
roots of the company that we started in 2000 – 2001. They love those early shows,
the early products and the heritage of it all. This season they were talking about it so
much I was intrigued yes but I don’t want to go back. I want to dial into that and I
want to take it 2.0. I want to take it to the streets of New York. We’ve never really
blended that kind of old-world even rock or whatever with a street kind of sensibility but a
sophisticated street. So we really did that. For us it’s a complete pushing the walls out and we called it 2.0.
CF: You have a rock and roll influence and Washington, DC is kind of buttoned up.
How would someone incorporate your style in Washington?
JV: Well thank goodness we have a great customer base in Washington because our
style isn’t everything. It’s everything from beautiful velvet jackets and very finely
tailored and tuxedos. It all depends on what your life is in Washington and what part
of your life that we may fit best in whether it’s the evening or the weekend or the
day. Corey Booker wears our suits. We sell everybody from Wall Street to
congressman to senators but it all depends and we can be quite sophisticated and
classic or you can put on a different edge. For me it’s never about what would we do
with somebody more than, “Who are you? What’s your life about? What’s important
to you? What do you feel comfortable with and what makes you not feel
comfortable? How would you like to express yourself? What’s your personality and
what’s your own style about?” I always think about those things.
What’s the one piece we should be looking for today?
Oh boy that’s hard to say. There are a lot of amazing coats in this show. And as I say
we took it to the street. You’ll see a loosening up of things. Of course we have
shaped things but a definitely loosening up. It’s a little oversized type of things but
not sloppy. My favorite piece is a leather down jacket that is so magnificent. It’s like
a piece of art. When you put it own with a tee shirt you don’t want to put a sweater
on. You just want to put it on with a tee shirt and just absorb all of what it feels like
inside so that’s probably the piece.
CF: Since you’re known for music. What music are you listening to now?
JV: I listen to so much music. This morning I was listening to jazz because I was in
that mood. And I’m a big jazz fan A lot of people think I’m a rocker guy but I’m really
a big jazz guy. I grew up in Detroit so I grew up on jazz. I grew up on blues like John
Lee Hooker. I was listening to John Lee Hooker in my ears when I was coming over
here. I’m working with a record lapel and I’m working with some artists there. On of
them is from the west coast. We’re just ready to put the album out and they are
called Bad Flower. I’ve been listening to them a lot. So it’s a big diversity and you’ll
hear some of it in the show and some other music that we’ve been listening to as
well. My day is constantly with music. I wake up I put music on. When I walk in the
studio we put music on. I have a turntable in my office, a turntable in the studio. I’m
vinyl. So it’s a constant mood change. Depends on how you’re feeling, what your
energy you need. I’m absorbing. I was in London last week. I was only there for two
nights and I saw three shows.