For his 13th annual block party benefiting Stuart House, John Varvatos proved that the family that rocks together, stays together.
Gathering the extended clan that he has formed over the years through blood and business, the New York-based designer welcomed Cheap Trick and Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who respectively modeled for his ad campaigns in 2008 and 2014, to the block party staged in front of his store on Sunday in West Hollywood, Calif. Plus, his 7-year-old daughter, Thea, tried her hand at entertaining the crowd, which included Tony Goldwyn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Isabelle Fuhrman, Stella Maeve, Jesse Metcalfe, LeVar Burton and Paige Adams-Geller among the more than 1,500 guests.
In the Hasbro Studios-sponsored tent, Peter Facinelli guided his daughter by the kid-size cardboard Jenga game and My Little Pony-inspired hair extensions before taking off his leather jacket in the 88-degree heat. Families shopping for a minivan got a chance to sit inside an eco-version from Chrysler, which joined Varvatos’ circle when they designed a car together years ago.
Thea Varvatos broke the ice during the live auction when she did an impromptu stand-up routine, asking the audience if they knew why Cinderella is a bad football player. (The punch line: Her coach is a pumpkin.) The auction heated up when two men tried to outbid each other for a shopping spree with Varvatos. Party emcee Bill Bellamy tempted them further when, in front of the sheriffs and firemen on duty, he spoke in code about certain illicit amenities. “John will bring organic…food,” he said. “I’m bringing lots of organic, OK?” Varvatos confirmed on stage. “Not only will you look good, you’ll feel amazing,” Bellamy said. Sure enough, Varvatos ended up doubling the shopping package so that each bidder was able to buy one for $17,500.
The fun and fund-raising continued with an ear-busting concert by Sammy Hagar, Vic Johnson, Michael Anthony from Van Halen and Chad Smith from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Simmons stayed stone-faced in mirrored aviators and a black shirt embroidered with a skull and roses, even when bombarded by fans, who stopped him and requested selfies as he walked through the shindig. But he broke from his too-cool-for-school stance by playing air drums during Hagar’s performance of “I Can’t Drive 55.”
After more tunes, including a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” that featured Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen on guitar, the band auctioned off Hagar’s guitar, Smith’s drum kit and a lesson from Smith for a total of $12,750.
The event raised $800,000 for Stuart House, which aids child victims of sexual abuse. The figure is bound to go higher since the online auction, which includes a pair of autographed jeans that rocker Steven Tyler had worn on stage, doesn’t end until April 26.
Jeremy Piven proved how much he was a fan of Varvatos’ by not only staying through the end of the concert but also sporting his designs from head to toe, starting with his brown-tinted shades all the way down to his matching boots. For the TV series “Mr. Selfridge,” the actor steeped himself in the retail industry for his portrayal of Harry Selfridge, the brash American who founded the London department store bearing his name in 1909. When asked if he’d pay homage to Varvatos by playing him in a biopic, Piven didn’t miss a beat. “I think it’d be the only role I have too much hair for,” he said.