If you strolled through Copley yesterday evening, you may have noticed red velvet ropes and guest-list-grasping doormen outside of the new John Varvatos shop. In celebration of the store’s opening, Varvatos and his staff welcomed the city's style enthusiasts to mingle with the fall collection and Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The two sports heavyweights worked with Varvatos on his Style & Substance project but designer peeled himself away (temporarily) from his A-list guests to chat with us about the opening and his new Boston-laced Style & Substance campaign.
When did you get to town?
I arrived early this afternoon and came right here to spend time with my staff at the store. This is a relatively quick trip. I’m leaving tomorrow, but I’m back in December. Peter Simon -- a very famous music photographer from Boston -- we’re doing a retrospect of his [work] on December 3d so I’ll be back for that.
What is your favorite piece from the fall collection? Or favorite pieces -- I know it’s hard to pick one!
Yeah, it is hard. You know, I think it’s just about dressing up. The elegance of dressing up is important to guys. Whether they’re 25 years-old or they’re 50. I was talking to a gentleman today who’s a doctor. He said he just bought his first suit in many years because he doesn’t have to wear a suit every day. He came in here and he fell in love with something and he felt like he wants to dress up again. And so I think it’s more about tailoring. But today it’s more about a casual elegance… there’s nothing stuffy about it.
As for Fall trends in menswear, what do you think will be popular?
It’s the year of the coat, and Boston is a good city for that. Guys wearing coats, not just as something over their suits, but wearing them a little smaller, over their jeans, as a stylish piece. Guys used to think of a topcoat as something that they had to wear on top of a suit. And that’s important, too, but them wearing coats as another jacket is another chic thing as well.
What's it like to be working with some of Boston’s biggest sports celebrities?
It’s fun – I’m a sports junkie. We do this thing called Style & Substance – we actually have 5 different Boston athletes that we’re working with. It’s about guys that have great style. But it’s not just about the way they wear the clothes, it’s about the way they carry themselves – on the field, on the ice, on the court.
Like Rajon [Rondo], he’s such a warm, low-key but powerful guy … and the way he carries himself is really wonderful. And he’s only 28 years old. And I've been intrigued with him since he started playing 8 years ago. He’s a great looking guy, and he’s got great style and substance - that’s why we call it style & substance!
It sounds like the Style & Substance project is a great opportunity.
You know what’s also great about it? We’re working with these great guys from Boston, but we’re also telling people around the world about them. Not everybody knows who they are.... And the whole concept behind it is that we want to talk to the world about interesting people. Not just because they’re an athlete or a photographer or a musician or a restaurateur, but that they have an interesting history and the things they do with their life are interesting.
John Varvatos is now open in Copley Place, (617) 236-8650.