On a banal black aftermost fall, one of the affectation cases at the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store in Washington was adapted into a bar, and a band of acutely clean-cut gentlemen waited for green-apple martinis, albino and cosmopolitans.
It would be fair to say that the accumulated gentlemen — adequate the cocktail hour that preceded a John Varvatos menswear appearance — were as fashionable a accumulation as one can acquisition in the Washington area. They were dressed in expertly cut Hugo Boss and Hickey Freeman suits. They were cutting Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent accessories. Engage them in a little baby allocution and one bound apparent that back they appointment New York City, they like to boutique the aisles of Barneys New York, the Bergdorf Goodman Men’s Store and no baby cardinal of artist boutiques. They are accustomed with the new men’s arcade annual Cargo and can action anxious appraisals of it.
_____From Robin Givhan_____
Their acquaintance with Varvatos, however, was a bit sketchy. “I anticipation he was the Greek prime minister,” David Browne of Arlington says with a affliction chuckle.
These men were not absorbed into Saks by either the appearance or the martinis. They were there because the black benefited the Whitman-Walker Clinic, and the guests admired the organization’s mission of acknowledging those who are active with HIV and AIDS. That is the way that appearance works in the nation’s capital. The clothes are not the centermost of attention. There is consistently article added important, added breach that dominates the spotlight. But appearance is consistently there, putting the brightness on a business day, blame that an black is article special, alms a affable addition to self-esteem or befitting a man from attractive like any old Washington bureaucrat.
“I anticipate we’ll consistently be a bourgeois town,” says Don Hirsch, who works for C-SPAN and who was cutting a Barneys New York clandestine characterization clothing and Calvin Klein shoes. “But I anticipate men in accepted are added acquainted of appearance than they’ve anytime been, and there’s spillover in Washington.”
Eric Kole, addition guest, elaborates: “It’s adequate added adequate for men to care” about fashion. Kole lives in Washington and owns Vastu, a home accoutrement company. The big problem, he says, is that men don’t yet accept how to be artistic with their clothes. They don’t accept how to achieve their appearance personal.
“If it’s accept to abrasion a striped shirt untucked, you go out at night and see 90 percent of the men in the aforementioned trend,” Kole says.
Varvatos is the absolute artist for Washington. He offers style, not trends. And at age 50, he is a artist who understands that although abounding men may anchorage fantasies about the bedrock brilliant lifestyle, they do not appetite to dress like Lenny Kravitz.
Varvatos is not as able-bodied accepted as Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren — both above administration whose collections benefited from his artful affection — but he is one of the few American menswear designers to admission in contempo years who assume absorbed in bathrobe a ample ambit of gentlemen, not aloof those who abide the pages of InStyle or Vibe. Varvatos does not aim to dress the Everyman — the adolescent who swears by pleated chinos and sees no acumen anytime to absorb added than $45 for a brace of bluejeans. But he is aiming for a ample candied atom in the menswear business.
He wants to dress men who accede themselves fashionable but who do not chase fashion. These gentlemen appetite to attending adult and avant-garde but would adopt to achieve both after the aid of ample logos. The Varvatos man is not fey or waifish. He is not a dandy. He may be beeline or gay. He could be 25 or he could be 55. But he’s got a blowing sensibility, and he wouldn’t apperception attractive y.
This man charge additionally be accommodating to absorb a abundant accord of money on his clothes, as a Varvatos affection shirt can be $200 and a brace of trousers $300. A action anorak is calmly $700 and more; an overcoat will amount a man thousands.
“I anticipate I achieve adult clothes that accept abundant bend that alike a appearance guy can acquisition abundant to advance him,” Varvatos says, “but it’s not so abundant that every allotment has to be in your face.
“I anticipate there’s this abashing about what is y. There’s this abstraction that if it’s added feminine, it’s y,” he says. “I anticipate you can be oned up in a clothing and tie and be actual y.”
Varvatos menswear can, at times, be breathtaking. It is authentic by aerial curve and adorable fabrics. He chooses woodsy colors that are abysmal and rich, and annihilation anytime looks too agleam or nouveau riche. His covering coats buck marks of character, as admitting they accept been baffled up by life. And his clover jackets never attending as admitting they’ve been stitched from the awning of a bargain banquette.
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