Detroit-born, John Varvatos, has always had his hand in fashion’s back pocket. Starting his career working for Ralph Lauren, then moved to Calvin Klein where he developed a little something called the ‘boxer brief’
[NB Thanks John, We are eternally grateful for this wonderful undergarment, Sincerely, All Women, Everywhere].
Then in 1999, Varvatos started his own company to great acclaim. With boutiques all over the world, he’s dominated the scene with his rumpled but tailored menswear and avid use of leather.
He branched out into fragrance in 2004 and has been creating outstanding wearable scents for men ever since. Try Artisan Acqua for a fresh hit of seaside breeze, or John Varvatos Oud that oozes ambrée luxury with oodles of Oudh.
The brand is intrinsically linked to the Rock ‘n’ Roll music that John adores, from all the leatherwork, to sending KISS down the catwalk, releasing a book ‘Rock in Fashion’, to Alice Cooper in his ad campaign. We talked to him ahead of his latest launch, Dark Rebel, the bad boy fragrance – Iggy Pop, Ringo Starr and Paul Weller were all at the Mayfair launch – and asked him about his five favourite smells…
1. Bacon. The smell of cooking bacon, nothing can quite beat it.
2. The ocean. I love being near the sea air, it really brings back seaside memories from childhood for me.
3. Leather. I work a lot with it in, in our shoes, clothing, bags, and we also use it a lot in the fragrances. I love working with the tanneries and the scent when you’re in there is intoxicating. I also love Rock n Roll and it’s so prevalent in that music.
4. Vanilla. We use bits of pieces of it in our fragrances and it reminds me of the sweet scents of home cooking.
5. The spice market. Not a specific spice on it’s own but the smell of the spice markets in India and Turkey. There’s this overwhelming scent, the whole aura of that, for me, is something really special. I was India recently and we went to the spice market on the weekend, it was incredible, it’s inspiring and enchanting and the colour palette is so wonderful.
By Carson Parkin-Fairley