Designer Spotlight: Denim, Rock & Roll, and John Varvatos

In the book John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion, John gives us a window into his life experience with denim . . . so far.  

Chapter 11 opens with “Denim is sexy.”  As he notes the best and some of the not-so-great rock & roll looks of stars in their jeans, he opens the mind to what is so captivating about how these celebrities work their denim.  

His choice descriptions relay just why denim and jeans are an American classic:

  • the fabric molds to the body
  • it can be dressed up or down
  • and that a great fitting pair of them is the most important thing a guy should have in his wardrobe.

Jeans became the American tradition they are today because of Levi Strauss’ ingenuity in pouncing on a niche making sturdy trousers that were needed for work in the California mines.  Later, of course, they were adopted by cowboys, farmers and the like.

John Varvatos explains that rock & rollers eventually caught on to the practicality of jeans, making denim look fashionable in spite of themselves, especially during the grunge era of rock & roll.

Great photos and critiques abound in Chapter 11: Got the Blues.  It includes a classic image of John Lennon in 1974 looking quite fantastic in his Levi’s against a background of New York City.  Varvatos even gives a glimpse into what enticed him into wanting to wear a slim western-style denim shirt in 1973.

John notes his point of view about what constitutes a great pair of jeans:

“A jean with a shorter rise, slim thigh to the knee, with a slight flare over the boot is my favorite.  A flared or boot-cut jean transcends every decade, and I always have one in my collection.” 

Beware of the “elephant bells” –  John says that they simply don’t have the same kind of classic appeal. 

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