Velvet Revolver, Chris Cornell, Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell, and Iggy Pop by Danny Clinch for John Varvatos
John Varvatos sure mastered the art of the fashion campaign. When Varvatos launched his first “rock star” campaign with Chris Cornell, shot by Dany Clinch I immediately took notice. The photographs had Cornell caught in reverie, strolling through the West Village in a dapper white trench coat. Who was this John Varvatos and what did he do with Chris Cornell’s dirty t-shirt and jean cut-off shorts?
After lusting over magazine tears of the ad on my inspiration board I ventured to SOHO, home of the Varvatos Flagship store. Lining the store windows were images of Chris Cornell blown up to life size. Upon entering the store I was greeted by a handsomely dressed mannequin. Who knew I could be so attracted to a headless man? The store was filled with buttery leather jackets and shearling winter coats, vests with delicate pin stripes, and perfect skinny ties. Everything was masculine and classic, but with an undeniable rock n’ roll “cool”. While perusing the store I kept coming back to the images of Chris Cornell on the wall and the ingenious of this new lifestyle brand.
Danny Clinch’s photographs portray the grown-up rock star on his day off. He’s aged and refined, with a newfound sophistication in his sartorial choices. A model can make or break a campaign, so the choice to use rockstars was a major branding decision. Not every man aspires to look like a rock star, but they all want a bit of their swagger. It’s the same idea as buying into the Victoria’s Secret brand, you’re not going to be a supermodel "Angel" if you wear their lingerie, but you may feel a bit sexier.
John Varvatos line is all about the essence of the rock star refined a repackaged for the average guy. Ahem…an average guy who can afford a $4,000 leather jacket. The brand has changed a bit over the years, but the rock star is still Varvatos’ muse. I still can’t help but get excited when I bump into one of my favorite rockstars blown up to ten ft tall in a Varvotos ad at the bus stop.