runway New York

Long Live Rock: John Varvatos Fall/Winter 2016

John Varvatos is so fabulous that he just doesn’t have to care. He can do whatever he wants. If he wants to turn his new Bowery shop (formerly CBGB) into a funhouse and send out his models with animal heads on, he can. And he did. “We’re rebellious, we march to our own beat and we wanted to do something that wasn’t runway,” said Varvatos.

Coffins, corpses, earsplitting Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd music and blood-splattered epithets on the walls that railed about the death of rock ‘n’ roll are what greeted guests as they entered under an enormous sign reading, “Rock is dead,” and through a murky maze of rooms. Mannequins were mixed with models throughout, and guests had the pleasure of deciding which was which. Skinny jeans were displayed on dismembered legs, mannequins were hung in poses akimbo, or lurking in unexpected corners.

An interactive non-runway presentation is much more suitable for someone like Varvatos who also designs accessories such as shoes and bags - he was able to have them on display around the space allowing for close-up inspection (impossible on a runway). Antiqued leather, washed velvet, elongated jackets and cardigans, abstract animal-printed tuxedo jackets, shearling, gigantic, oversized

houndstooth and Glen plaids, waxed denim, pony-printed calfskin, winter white, black, gray and red brought both classic Varvatos signatures as well us updates. Wire in the collars of jackets allowed them to be manipulated in a new way; and cardigan sweaters so long they pooled on the floor. “It’s vintage-meets-modern,” Varvatos said of the collection, “built with artisan details.”

At the end of the dark labyrinth there was a light. Drawn closer, guests entered an ethereal, heavenly oasis where a blonde angel in a zebra print coat posed alongside a white winged horse. The wall above it read, “Long live rock.” Clearly Varvatos proves that rock ‘n roll is far from dead. “It’s time to do something different — to cause disruption,” the designer said. “People need to change their lives, their clothing… to stop committing to someone else’s uniform and lifestyle. With so much evolution around us, we need to create our own sense of being. Be rebellious. Be authentic. Walk to your own beat.”

Notable appearances included Vanity Fair‘s Graydon Carter, Fern Mallis, Christian Slater and rock ‘n roll photographer Mick Rock.

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