runway New York

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

The guest list was stellar: Mick Fleetwood, George Harrison, Jim Morrison, Ric Ocasek, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Ringo Starr, Billy Idol, Kurt Cobain, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Paul MacCartney, Dave Grohl, Lindsay Buckingham, Brian Setzer, John Lennon... and that was just on the runway.

Okay, well maybe they weren't really there - and though superhero designer John Varvatos has incredibly amazing skills, raising the dead is not among them. But invoking their spirits is something Varvatos did exquisitely for New York's first New York Fashion Week: Men's. In honor of this milestone for menswear, Varvatos decided to Rock This Town and moved his show from Milan back to New York after eight years, and was the crown jewel finalé of the four-day marathon.

The Varvatos Spring/Summer 2016 collection was Simply Irresistible and left the celebrity-packed crowd Shakin' All Over. The long hair, slim lines and bold stripes made for a jaw-dropping presentation, and maybe my favorite Varvatos collection ever. There was Kind of a Hush in the dusty black, navy, white,claret, gray and blue color palate that sounds fairly dull, but could barely contain the Lust for Life that Varvatos imbued in each piece.

"Oh, man," Varvatos said, "I was thinking about the mid-'70s rock scene in Southern California, the clubs in the Laurel Canyon area where the Stones and Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac played. It was

all so relaxed and bohemian." Not just any Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, true to his musical inspiration and born in Detroit (and owning his own record label) one of Varvatos' NYC stores is housed in the legendary space on the Bowery that was formerly CBGB.

While Varvatos is noted for his Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo aesthetic, he did away with much of the foppishness and fripperies that accompany many other designers' attempts at the rockstar look, but the broad dandy-ish stripes he employed appeared on everything from suits, jackets, pants, tank tops, umbrellas, satchels and shoes. Stunningly.

Varvatos’ styling included skinny one- and three-button suits with shawl and peak lapels, short jackets, skinny pants in two-tone pique, linen, wool and knits fashioned with metallic threads to look like animal skins. There was even an indigo-dyed silk tuxedo that appeared to be denim. For his signature leather jackets, they were translated into soft lambskin with a patina that takes a week to hand-apply, and silk-linen sleeves.

With the ceiling filled with umbrellas and a runway covered in striped fabric, the seats were filled with a who’s who plucked from the world of music, photography and the celebrity stratosphere. Tyson Beckford, Christian Slater, Johnny Galecki and dozens of high-style NBA icons littered the crowd.

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Written by Stephen MacMillan Moser, Photography Courtesy of John Varvatos, & Lalo Torres