HE’S THE DESIGNER WHO BROUGHT ROCK ’N’ ROLL TO THE RUNWAY – AND NOW HE’S BACK WITH A BRAND NEW FRAGRANCE.
Fashion and music has always been a good match. Think of the greats – Bowie, Prince, The Ramones or the Stones – and while their music made them successful, it’s their style that turned them into icons. This won’t come as news to American designer John Varvatos. Launching his company in 2000, he has long drawn on the world of rock ’n’ roll for inspiration. His campaigns have featured the likes of Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper, and his New York store sits in the space that once housed legendary music venue CBGB. We caught up with Varvatos to talk fashion, music, and what to expect from his new fragrance.
GQ: Did you always want to be a designer? John Varvatos:
No, I graduated from college with a degree in science, and along the way I took some design classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. That eventually led me to working in fashion and designing my own collection.
GQ: How would you describe your label? JV:
My brand represents a unique point of view in American design. It combines old-world craftsmanship and refined tailoring with modern innovations in textiles and a rock ’n’ roll sensibility.
GQ: How has the market evolved since you first launched? JV:
There are now more ways than ever to shop and, of course, online is key. But our brand’s DNA and motto – ‘Experiment, but stay authentic’ – has never changed.
GQ: Why did you decide to launch your first fragrance, back in 2004? JV:
Our customers had come to embrace our vision of fashion and style, and it made sense to have a fragrance that complemented our edgy point of view.
GQ: Tell us about the new scent. JV:
‘Dark Rebel Rider’ is a bold blend that’s undeniably darker and more daring. The scent is woody with notes of leather and amber that portrays unwavering confidence and a rebellious spirit. Even the bottle, wrapped in black leather with gunmetal zipper accents, is unique and masculine.
GQ: Why does music work so well with fashion? JV:
The creative spirit, electricity and edginess found in the personal style of musicians is the true definition of fashion. And they make fantastic, inspiring partners.
GQ: Who have you been listening to lately? JV:
Hozier, The Struts and Amos Lee – to name but a few. John Varvatos ‘Dark Rebel Rider’, $115 (125ml), available at Myer, David Jones and selected pharmacies; johnvarvatos.com “THE CREATIVE ELECTRICITY OF MUSICIANS IS THE TRUE DEFINITION OF FASHION.”