John Varvatos: it’s rock & roll and we like it

I touched on it our review of Burberry’s spring / summer 2012 catwalk: the skill that a select group of fashion designers have that enables them to see not just where the fashion forwards’ tastes lie but where they’re likely to end up. These designers put before us collections that are undoubtedly ahead of the pack, but collections that are also firmly rooted in any given season’s fashion trends. Take John Varvatos’ spring 2012 offering as another perfect example. Men’s and women’s fashion right now is all about a 70s fashion revival, a revival that Varvatos plays to. Yet for the season in concern he doesn’t do so with the strictness of cut that dominates the trend at present, instead its relaxed, slouchy, and breathy. It’s where the 70s itself ended up and certainly one of the destinations for its current reincarnation.

That John Varvatos spent time as the head of Ralph Lauren’s menswear is a fact you’re reminded of when you see how carefully and how thematically each collection he puts together under his own moniker are. Each look is complete to a level that borders almost on costumery (sometimes a danger for men) but with Varvatos’ eponymous label it’s to a much lesser degree than Lauren’s historically-based collections. Instead Varvatos’ style tends to allude to the effortless; thematic yes, but with the illusion of being nonchalantly thrown-together.

For spring 2012 that means that the same trailing scarves and untucked shirts have carried over from last season. This time, though, the wayfaring stranger has become the world-wise rocker. If the show’s soundtrack wasn’t enough of a giveaway, Varvatos’ show notes refer to the likes of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who; and the softer, more romantic styles they adopted after taking creative breaks in the country. That foundation, that mix of country romance and 70s rock, is no more obvious than in the fencing blousons and long duster coats, gentlemanly waistcoats and linen knits, the earth tones and pure whites and hand-painted rose motifs. Where the flowing layers remain there’s a sense of relaxed tailoring overall that replaces last season’s slimmer cuts. There’s also the addition of plaited leather bracelets and leather lariats that add to the rockstar nonchalance.

You can see all of the John Varvatos spring / summer 2012 men’s collection by clicking on the thumbnails and browsing through all of the photos.