John Varvatos takes the prize for the most creative presentation during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. The designer dismantled his Bowery CBGB’s store and turned it into a fun house complete with corpses in coffins and an array of figures wearing animal masks.
Upon entering, rows of coffins and walls with “blood”-splattered sayings spoke about the death of rock ‘n’ roll. But as guests passed through the labyrinth of rooms, it was clear that Varvatos’ rock aesthetic was alive and well.
“We wanted to do something raucous and provocative,” the designer said over the loud refrains of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” We’re rebellious, we march to our own beat and we wanted to do something that wasn’t runway.”
Models and mannequins were interspersed throughout the space and it wasn’t clear which ones were real and which were fake — until they moved, evoking screams or giggles from those strolling through.
The theater overshadowed the clothes, but a closer look revealed many Varvatos signatures – updated to embrace the trends of the season – including hand-aged leather jackets, double-breasted suits, elongated cardigans, an array of shearlings and calfskin coats painted to look like pony.
There were tuxedo jackets in abstract animal prints and jacquards with contrast piping. Suits in exploded glen plaids had a slightly longer silhouette and a strong shoulder, and there were the requisite coated jeans and washed velvet jackets. A large assortment of shoes, boots and bags was also on display, many with distressed or antique details.
“It’s vintage-meets-modern,” Varvatos said of the collection, “built with artisan details.”
After a day filled with shows, it’s hard to get people excited, but Varvatos’ innovative twist entertained even the most jaded fashionistas.