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Think of your favourite rock star and chances are they’ll have appeared in a John Varvatos campaign. Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Chris Cornell, Joe Perry, and Velvet Revolver. Green Day, Gary Clark Jr., Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Dave Matthews and London’s very own Paul Weller – to name but a few.
John Varvatos is a big name in his native USA, but for the uninitiated: it’s pronounced ‘Var-Vay-Toes’. The designer's from Detroit originally, but started his design career and brand in New York. He packages up rock 'n’ roll cool and turns it into a luxury lifestyle proposition – and his label's first London flagship has just opened on Mayfair's swanky Conduit Street.
Like a lot New York menswear designers Varvatos did a stint at ‘Polo University’ – aka Ralph Lauren. This shows in the store. It’s a totally immersive brand experience. There’s a record shop at the back which also sells vintage audio equipment, collectible amplifiers, record players, and rock memorabilia. In NYC, Varvatos took CBGB – the club where The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie used to play – and turned it into a posh menswear shop selling $250 T-shirts. And it's clear that this store attempts to replicate CBGB's cool. Everywhere are black and white photos of rock icons. In the same way that Ralph Lauren is like being at Gatsby’s place on West Egg, this is like wandering around a wealthy rock star’s mansion in LA.
Here you won't just find T-shirts, but suits, jumpers, shoes, coats, hats. Upstairs is a made-to-measure skinny rock 'n' roll suiting atelier. You'll also be able to get your hands on the fruits of John Varvatos' ongoing collaboration with Converse, one of the best selling shoes from which is the lace-less Chuck Taylor, which helped to make Varvatos a global name. Signature touches on a Varvatos Converse are punky zips and studs, or classic Chuck Taylors in black leather. Should you so desire, you can get the whole look and lifestyle of your favourite rock icon, right off the shelf.
12-13 Conduit Street
|Opening hours:||10am-6pm Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat; 10am-7pm Thur; 11am-5pm Sun|
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