A return to elegance. This is how John Varvatos sums the spirit of his spring/summer 2014 collection. “Modern men want to dress up again. Still, they do not want to feel stiff,” says the designer. “I imagined a nonchalantly dressy wardrobe for today’s men, mixing day and night, refinement with an edge and sophisticated ease. While working on this collection, I was editing images for John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion, my book that is being published in October.
Rock ‘n Roll sartoriality has always been central to my work. This collection allowed me to strengthen my roots while looking forward. The image is sleek. Longer jackets with defined waists draw a tall figure that has a regal yet cool presence. I was looking at Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix: rockers whose influence reaches beyond music, defining an individual take on the art of dressing up.
Using these inspirations, I created a contemporary, non-nostalgic mix that is tactile and precious, in a non-precious kind of way. Sartorial savoir-faire turns into the expression of a Rock ‘n Roll take on stylish matters.”
The collection is dressy, stressing texture and craft. Intricate tailoring, unexpected details and a pervading finesse get an air of sophisticated ease through tactile finishes, ombrè dyeing, and permanent crinkle treatments that give clothes a lived-in yet crisp patina. The silhouette is tall and sleek, with an emphasis on the waist and a trim shoulder.
Slim trousers or flares, either with a wide cuff or not, finish it off with a certain swagger. Three-button jackets express an old-school refinement that is composed and progressive. They are worn with jacquard vests, shirts, ties or bowties. Elements of the formal wardrobe, from wing collars and French cuffs on shirts to three-piece suits, are interpreted in new, personal mixes. Washed satin lapels on textured suits create an idea of a daytime tuxedo.
Inside-out construction and mixes of different fabrics give tailored pieces a visual/tactile feel that is subtle. Coats with deconstructed interventions at the waist and Hendrix-inspired frocks draw an assertively elegant figure. Eye and touch are constantly stimulated: brushed silver leather, hand beading on pockets and under collars, suede with a flannel finish, spring tweeds done in worsted wool. Knits enrich the play of textures with coated weaves and reinterpreted classic patterns. Foil-backed leather blousons and jackets look intensely lived-in while being proper.
The color palette is classic, with a twist. A world of blues, and then tones of cream, sand and black are highlighted by flashes of red and dashes of silver. Fabrics and yarns are quintessentially masculine: wool, linen, jute, leather, suede.
Accessories include brushed leather or subtly printed lace-up shoes, either with gaiters or not, coated linen and leather satchels, sash belts and aviator sunglasses. Neckties, metal-chain bowties, long thin silk fringed scarves, tie pins, boutonnière broaches complete the image with elegant finesse.