Johnny Be Good
Photography: Danny Clinch
Good, old Gentleman’s Quarterly made the right call when they dubbed John Varvatos the “Designer of the Year”—the title fits him like one of his blazers. As the paisley-clad Simon Doonan of Barney’s notes in GQ’s panegyric on Varvatos, “John’s rustic outfits make guys look even more butch rather than less so.”
Indeed, Varvatos doesn’t design to please the refined palettes of editors and critics. With nods to early-70s cock rock, punk, beach boys and hunting gear, Varvatos pursues a very personal and American idea of manhood. The news of his recent lease of the venerable rock cave CBGB’s as new store shows him to be more of a fanboy than anything else.
Doonan notes that Varvatos is coaxing an entire generation of men into fashion. We like to think he’s simply taking advantage of a growing market by offering dudes something familiar yet refined—rock from their youths tailored for their lives. Varvatos’ strategy of allowing manly, unapologetic, ESPN-watchin’ men to be stylish without forcing them out of their comfort zones is a more impressive than anything he or anyone else could ever put on a rack.
BREAKOUT OF THE YEAR + DESIGNER OF THE YEAR [GQ]
- — Gabriel Bell