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 storeís 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. Iím leaving tomorrow, but Iím back in December. Peter Simon -- a very famous music photographer from Boston -- weíre doing a retrospect of his [work] on December 3d so Iíll be back for that.
What is your favorite piece from the fall collection? Or favorite pieces -- I know itís hard to pick one!
Yeah, it is hard. You know, I think itís just about dressing up. The elegance of dressing up is important to guys. Whether theyíre 25 years-old or theyíre 50. I was talking to a gentleman today whoís a doctor. He said he just bought his first suit in many years because he doesnít 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 itís more about tailoring. But today itís more about a casual eleganceÖ thereís nothing stuffy about it.
As for Fall trends in menswear, what do you think will be popular?
Itís 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 thatís 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 Bostonís biggest sports celebrities?
Itís fun Ė Iím a sports junkie. We do this thing called Style & Substance Ė we actually have 5 different Boston athletes that weíre working with. Itís about guys that have great style. But itís not just about the way they wear the clothes, itís about the way they carry themselves Ė on the field, on the ice, on the court.
Like Rajon [Rondo], heís such a warm, low-key but powerful guy Ö and the way he carries himself is really wonderful. And heís only 28 years old. And I've been intrigued with him since he started playing 8 years ago. Heís a great looking guy, and heís got great style and substance - thatís why we call it style & substance!
It sounds like the Style & Substance project is a great opportunity.
You know whatís also great about it? Weíre working with these great guys from Boston, but weíre 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 theyíre 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.