John Varvatos’s Dark Rebel definitely walks to its own beat…

Dark Rebel is the new launch from designer fragrance house, John Varvatos. The kind of fragrance you’d find sitting at the back of class, etching skulls into the desk, it’s a rich combination of leather, tobacco and Cognac, and we can’t wait to douse our better halves in it.

We talked to the man himself – and his über-talented perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux – about why they wanted to create something that broke the mold…

Tell us a bit about the birth of Dark Rebel… 
JV: When were talking about a new fragrance, I just kept saying no to ideas, asking myself, ‘we have such a great portfolio of fragrances why would I bother doing something new if it wasn’t different?’ So we did something different. I wanted a bad boy fragrance, a f**k you fragrance – something much more rebellious than what we’ve done; a bad-ass fragrance. And so Dark Rebel was born.

The tag line of the fragrance is ‘From darkness, comes light’. How did this come about? 
We had a store in Detroit opening – it’s where I’m from – and we opened in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to open something in Detroit to help fuel the regeneration of a once great city, a city that’s fallen on hard times of recent. I was so engrossed by this grittiness of the city and one morning when I was waking up, the city was so dark and then this light just rose up through it, like a new day for Detroit. That image of this city emerging out of the darkness into light was a big inspiration for this project. I wanted a dark-moody broody fragrance but I wanted it to rise out of that and turn into something light.

How did you decide on the notes of the fragrance? 
RFR: We wanted it to have a little bit of a dangerous feeling to it, so I used a kind of snapdragon, called the skull flower, which seemed fitting. Leather was important and we added a little smokiness to it with tobacco. Cognac and rum accords give it a luxurious feel, expensive. It’s a bad-boy, for sure.

What made you want to try something different here? 
JV: I don’t want to follow – I want to lead. I don’t want to fit inside a box. Amazing things have been done by people breaking the rules. When we approached this fragrance, we all agreed that we weren’t going to come at it from a commercial perspective, because already you’d be restricting yourself – you can’t be that exotic, you can’t be too moody. In this day and age, there’s so much choice out there; unless you’re doing something unique and different, then what’s the point in doing it?

Tell us what kind of man wears Dark Rebel… 
JV: What man wears this? The rebel, the guy that walks to his own beat, never a follower, he’s got a dark side, a mysterious side. He doesn’t want to wear the logos, he has his own style. He’s different but not for the point of being different.

The key word is rebellious. It’s an easy word to use but to live it is a whole different thing.

John Varvatos Dark Rebel £49 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Selfridges

By Carson Parkin-Fairley 

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