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John Varvatos Celebrates Rock in Fashion with Music Legends in L.A.

John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion

It was a bounty of leather, swagger and major musicians at last night’s launch of John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion (Harper Design). The designer’s Melrose Ave. boutique was a hub of cool where legendary rockers rubbed elbows with Varvatos’ legion of loyal fans. The designer himself was on hand to sign copies of his new tome and share his story of how one unlikely kid from Detroit, influenced by some of the world’s biggest musicians, would one day end up dressing them and shaping their look, too.

Of course, the irony is that now Varvatos himself has achieved rock star status in both the fashion world and among the actual stars he dresses. So we couldn’t resist asking him how it feels to be on the receiving end.

John Varvatos Celebrates The Launch Of His Book “John Varvatos: Rock In Fashion” with Billy Idol

€œIt€™s a funny thing that people say that to me, but it feels great to be respected by the music world and the musicians that have been my icons and that I€™ve respected and idolized,” said Varvatos. “It€™s really such a funny thing when you see the tables turned and they respect what you do. … To me that€™s the biggest honor you can have when people respect you, when you€™re some kind of an artist anyway.”

There was no shortage of swagger from the man himself. From the moment Varvatos arrived in one of his tailored Sgt. Pepper band-inspired jackets, naturally, and sporting his trademark grin every guest was enthralled not only by his charisma, but his bragging rights for dressing rockers such as Iggy Pop and Green Day in his wares. A bevvy of special guests were on hand to join Varvatos on stage for a short conversation and discussion about the various photos in the book. Among them were Billy Idol and Brit photog Mick Rock, who has worked closely with Varvatos and is known for his iconic photos of rock legends and album covers such as the late Lou Reed’s Transformer.

John Varvatos Celebrates The Launch Of His Book “John Varvatos: Rock In Fashion” with Lionel Richie

On stage, Idol, Rock, Varvatos and friends discussed fashion trends on and off the stage, including Idol’s “package”…shall we say,  penchant for second-skin pants that leave little to the imagination — the picture is in the book, so take a look for yourself — and shared stories of music festivals, run-ins with Steven Tyler (who happens to be a Varvatos loyalist) and the importance of image and fashion in the world of rock and roll.

Where would Jagger be without his stovepipe trousers? Would Steven Tyler rock the same way without his scarves? We don’t have to find out, thanks to Varvatos and his keen eye for what guys that don’t have to wear a suit throw on when they actually want to wear one.

John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion chronicles a few of the trends that Varvatos has drawn from in his own work and includes photos from various photographers of musicians on and off stage. Varvatos ad campaigns are also sprinkled throughout, but with models such as Willie Nelson, Franz Ferdinand, ZZ Top and Dave Matthews (just to name a few and cement Varvatos’ bragging rights), it was hardly just a book about fashion.

Hollywood came out in full force to help Varvatos celebrate (and to snag a copy of the book for themselves). It was a priceless moment when Lionel Richie stepped out of his black Range Rover and half a dozen valet guys all chimed in with a “Hello” in unison as soon as the famous crooner was out of earshot. (And, no, guys, it was not you he was looking for.) Julian Lennon was in the house as were Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald,  and we also spotted Gina Gershon fresh from  House of Versace. TV personality Brooke Burke-Charvet flipped through the book alongside Teen Wolf stars Tyler Hoechlin and Ian Bowen and rock royalty Nick Simmons and Linda Ramone all enjoyed tunes spun by Dhani Harrison, another talented Beatles progeny.

With such strong rock lineage in the house, we kept waiting for someone to pull out a guitar, or at the very least throw one at us just for old times’ sake. So, who will lead the charge now? And whose fashion will we look back at decades from now?

Kings of Leon

“The rock world is a little quiet right now as pop music has kind of taken over, but it€™s happening in the clubs that€™s for sure,” Varvatos assured us. “And to me it€™s boiling up again, and I think right now Kings of Leon are still the coolest looking rock band. I mean there€™s four amazing looking guys who are skinny rock ‘n’ roll, who whether they€™re wearing a T-shirt or suit always exude rock ‘n’ roll edge for sure.”

Hey John, we know someone else like that, too.

John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion (Harper Design, $60) is available now.

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Monday Muse: Jane Birkin Inspires Rachel Zoe’s Spring 2013

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

Her name is synonymous with one of the world’s most covetable handbags, but Jane Birkin is more than just a purse. She’s been cited as muse to many, Herm¨s included. The ’60s songstress, actress and fashion plate was most recently credited with inspiring stylist-cum-designer Rachel Zoe’s Spring 2013 collection, which blended Southern California casual (Zoe is a transplanted Angeleno, after all) with Birkin’s signature easygoing style.

As the tale goes, the now-iconic Birkin bag was born when Birkin boarded a plane and her straw tote emptied itself in an overhead bin. Seeing her scramble for all her belongings, then-Herm¨s chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas worked to create a leather tote for the actress. (Where are you Jean-Louis when we are trying to shove everything into our carry on?!) The bag debuted in 1984, long after Birkin’s heyday as a style icon, but it is still seen as the crown jewel of any handbag aficionado’s collection.

Pre-Birkin bag, Jane Birkin was known as much for her romance with French crooner Serge Gainsbourg as her acting career. She was photographed in everything from floppy hats and big sunglasses to long, languid tank dresses and mens’ shirts, and became the poster-girl for nonchalant fashion with her effortless, Bohemian style.

Rachel Zoe Spring 2013

Rachel Zoe Spring 2013













From the models’ soft  bangs (Zoe sported a freshly shorn fringe, too, courtesy of K©restase’s Odile Gilbert) to their slouchy, borrowed-from-the-boys styling, the models walking down Zoe’s runway looked like mirror images of Birkin’s most iconic style statements.

Big, bold jewelry? Check. Classics such as tank dresses and men’s shirts, done up in luxe sequins and light-as-air silks? Double check.  A few models who wore Zoe’s signature pantsuit even came down the catwalk wearing flats — a Birkin staple.

And while there were plenty of covetable leather bags in the show, it’s hard to match the magic of a Birkin. But for fashion fans looking for that perfect blend of Francophilia and California sunshine, it was a collection of pieces that could fit into any woman’s closet. And just as Jane Birkin ushered in a new look for girls who were moving away from the structure and ladylike shapes of the ’50s, Zoe’s unmistakeable styling is sure to be a touchstone for future generations.

Photos courtesy and