John Varvatos Celebrates Rock in Fashion with Music Legends in L.A.
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.
Its 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 Ive respected and idolized,” said Varvatos. “Its really such a funny thing when you see the tables turned and they respect what you do. … To me thats the biggest honor you can have when people respect you, when youre 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.
On stage, Idol, Rock, Varvatos and friends discussed fashion trends on and off the stage, including Idol’s “package”..er…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.
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?
“The rock world is a little quiet right now as pop music has kind of taken over, but its happening in the clubs thats for sure,” Varvatos assured us. “And to me its boiling up again, and I think right now Kings of Leon are still the coolest looking rock band. I mean theres four amazing looking guys who are skinny rock ‘n’ roll, who whether theyre 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.