CBGB Lives On at John Varvatos’s Rock ’n’ Roll Presentation

CBGB Lives On at John Varvatos’s Rock ’n’ Roll Presentation

John Varvatos’s Fall collection was unveiled last night in an Eyes Wide Shut–esque, haunted house–like, rock ’n’ roll mausoleum. Except, Varvatos said, rock is not dead—just the old conventions of rock. “It’s alive and well, but it’s not about the music anymore, that changes. It’s about the attitude.” He cited Miley Cyrus as a contemporary rock star. And though to this writer the staging felt more sexy than rebel-rebel (in fact, it seemed even borderline orgiastic, replete with attractive people in skinny suits wearing animal masks, and lots of dark corners), Varvatos’s overall point was that we should each, individually, “not follow the ‘normal’ path,” ditch our uniforms, and do what we please.

The risk of ornate productions like this one is that the theatrics will distract from the clothes. Here they partially did, especially a section featuring projections of presidential hopefuls, whom Varvatos called “clowns.” Today, however, the installation will open to the public, so the splashy and PG-13 agitprop entertainment element was forgivable. In any case, surveying the clothes on brightened iPhone snaps afterward, one saw some great nabs, like crushed penny brown velvet trousers and “hollow core” yarns spun into featherweight knits that still looked chunky (one such item was a wrap scarf, styled under a strong shearling peacoat).

For all of the antiestablishment sentiment, the collection’s clothes were for the most part direct, not quite the stoner/sloppy/meme-ish garb belonging to the Mileys of the world. But that’s just fine. The Varvatos man will still buy those tuxedo jackets and suede bombers and antiqued hardware boots. And the rest of us can sit back and at least chuckle at the fact that Varvatos himself still seems to be having some fun, frustrated though he may be with groupthink culture.

John Varvatos

Photo: Courtesy of John Varvatos

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