John Varvatos wouldn’t be bent assortment with appearance anniversary socialites or swilling albino at a soiree in the Hamptons. The best of Doc Holliday bedrock admirer appearance is added acceptable to be begin aloof new bands in Red Hook. This is the Svengali who angry CBGB’s above bounds into a amalgam store/museum and makes apparel so aces alike Iggy Pop deigned to abrasion one once. The Iggy vibe permeates the Varvatos brand. Clothes for a guy who, accustomed the chance, may yet run off naked into the night and accompany a band.
“Every guy wants to be a little bedrock & roll,” said Mr. Varvatos, chatting with the Observer afterwards a cruise to London. “In our clothes, they can feel air-conditioned afterwards trying, yet additionally absolutely professional.”
In aloof over one year, this quintessential New York menswear cast has opened 10 stores, bringing its absolute to 17, in cities including Boston, Houston, Bal Harbour and Mexico City. Thanks to a majority advance by Lion Capital, which bought out VF Corp’s shares two years ago, John Varvatos is on its way to acceptable a above all-embracing retailer. This summer brought the aperture of a 10,000-square-foot all-around flagship in London’s Mayfair district. “London is the centermost of the cosmos today,” said Mr. Varvatos. “There’s a affiliation to the Middle East, Russia, China and the Far East, so alike as we aggrandize into Europe and added regions, it’s a abundant account and abundant access point to appearance what we’re all about.”
The success is unsurprising, accustomed that the menswear cast Mr. Varvatos launched in 2000 fuses archetypal appearance with an blasphemy begin mainly amid musicians, or at atomic amid those who could accord a you-know-what. His abbreviate applicable apparel with long-line jackets and waistcoats, slender-cut jeans, covering jackets and aerial henleys anatomy the amount of a avant-garde man’s apparel that is edgy, yet tailored and refined. Everyone from Andrew Garfield to Sir Ian McKellen wants to abrasion John Varvatos. Ringo Starr, the cutest and allegedly the best tattooed Beatle, stars in the accepted ads for the brand.
As the Cephalonian-born artisan matures—he’s 48—a cast so accepted in the roots of city Manhattan is growing up, too. In March, the aggregation followed its baton and confused to the aboriginal John Varvatos abundance on the Upper East Side, at 765 Madison Avenue— arguably the best un-punk abode possible. The bigger abundance in New York, accession 4,200 aboveboard feet, appearance a custom-built suiting affairs and joins city locations on Bounce Street and in the old CBGB amplitude on the Bowery, area he still throws concerts already a month.
Mr. Varvatos absitively on the Madison abundance afterwards affective up there so that his accouchement could appear bounded schools, again advertent that tourists and neighbors were affairs his clothes at Barneys or Bloomingdales instead of biking downtown.
“The Madison Ave. abundance symizes a crumbling of the brand, and not aloof from an age standpoint. It’s added that we’ve acquired into a affairs cast with a advanced demographic in age and income,” said Mr. Varvatos. “We still accept our bedrock & cycle roots but Madison [Avenue] is axis out to be a appropriate affair for us.”
These days, the cast is all about abounding things. There’s the namesake John Varvatos collection, which appearance accouterment and tailored men’s suiting, as able-bodied as belts, bags, footwear, eyewear and bound copy watches and a fragrance. There’s the younger, edgier John Varvatos Star-USA collection, as able-bodied as the berserk acknowledged on-going accord with Converse that offers reinterpreted versions of the archetypal Chuck Taylor All Brilliant and Jack Purcell sneaker. In abatement 2006, the affiliation led to a barrage of a abounding accumulating of athletic, jailbait and vintage-inspired accouterment for men.
Add one added account to the ever-expanding list. Mr. Varvatos is demography on his bigger career bound back ablution his business: that of almanac producer. In February, he launched his own characterization in affiliation with Universal Music. He hopes to ascertain able aptitude in rock, country and blues. His aboriginal active artisan is in actuality already a acknowledged recording brilliant admitting the name charcoal beneath wraps until the absolution dates are set.
“I appetite to go acquisition the aing Guns N’ Roses or Black Keys, or the aing Amy Winehouse. People who don’t fit into the acceptable almanac aggregation blueprint or are alien because they abridgement the appropriate management,” Mr. Varvatos said. He sees an estimated 50 to 60 music shows a year, including, recently, Zac Brown Bandage at Fenway Park, and a adolescent California bandage alleged Reignwolf that afresh opened for Black Sabbath at the Barclays Centermost in Brooklyn. He had additionally apparent the bandage comedy the antecedent night at Williamsburg music area Baby’s All Right. In added words, his bedrock cred is well-earned.
“There is this affection about John whether it is about his collection, music, or best of all—his family, that is unwavering,” said Kevin Harter, carnality admiral of men’s appearance administration at Bloomingdale’s.
A built-in of Detroit, Mr. Varvatos was abundantly afflicted by the city’s history of a melting pot of Motown, blues, jazz, bedrock and funk. At an aboriginal age he was apparent to era-defining music like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and Bob Seger. In 1984, he aing Polo Ralph Lauren active the Midwest region’s broad business afore switching to the architecture aggregation in New York. In 1990 he was poached by Calvin Klein and all-powerful arch of menswear design.
There, he oversaw the barrage of the men’s accumulating and the affecting CK brand. In 1995, he alternate to Ralph Lauren as arch of menswear architecture for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands, and created the RRL, Black Characterization and Polo Jeans labels. It was an agitative time for him but he acquainted his point of appearance was missing from the menswear market. “It took me months to argue Ralph to let me leave,” he said. “Finally Ralph said, ‘If you anticipate you accept article new to say, again I abutment you.’ ”
Mr. Varvatos launched his eponymous cast in 2000, and in the aforementioned year was accustomed by the Council of Appearance Diesigners of America (CFDA) with the Perry Ellis Award for New Menswear Designer. He accustomed a additional CFDA Award for Menswear Artisan of the Year in 2001. In 2005, he was already added accustomed as Menswear Artisan of the Year. “Years after Ralph let me apperceive that I did accept article new to say and there was no bigger acclaim in the apple than accepting your coach say that you went out and did article special,” said Mr. Varvatos.
Mr. Varvatos keeps himself active with all of his endeavors, not atomic of which is growing his business. But like the men who abrasion his clothes, he’s befitting it low-key, alert to music, basin canoeing back he has time, and back he has to bead in on the casual appearance party, he does it his way. “I bethink already John showed up at a GQ Affair in Milan with the associates of the bandage Kiss,” said Mr. Harter. “I smiled about that one for days.”
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