Introducing our new series, ‘A Drink With…’ produced by longtime friends and creative team, Justin Bridges and Sean Hotchkiss. Each month, the photographer/writer duo will sit down with an influential person, breaking the ice with their host’s refreshment of choice. Kicking off with designer John Varvatos as he prepares for his return to New York Fashion Week: Men’s—an official cheers to Spring ’16.

The Window: What are you drinking?
John Varvatos: Patron Silver tequila with a splash of orange juice and lime. I have a little place upstate on Copake Lake in Columbia County, and I have a friend there named Steve Chicory. We named this the “Chicorita” after him. It’s like a healthier margarita.John Varvatos

What does a John Varvatos lake house look like?
We’re actually in the process of building a new one. It’s very minimal, lots of wood tones with lots of glass, so all you see is water when you’re hanging out inside. There are these cool built-ins that run around the perimeter of the living room to hold all my albums and my McIntosh turntable.

How many records do you own?
On vinyl? Probably somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000. I used to have double that in CDs. Now most of it is digital.

Do you still buy them?
All the time. I bought 20 pieces recently. At this point, it’s less about finding one you don’t have and more about finding better versions of the ones you love.John Varvatos split

What’s your favorite rock record of the last year?
That’s a tough question for me. I would say the Gary Clark Jr. album (Live) was my favorite. I liked the last Jack White album too (Lazaretto). He’s a genius. And so stylish.

Are you surprised New York has a Fashion Week devoted to Men this summer?
Not really. Men care about their appearance now, their grooming regimens… Whether they’re into being very casual or very elegant, they are more aware of how they’re presenting themselves. It’s made my job more fun. I’m more excited to design now than I was 15 years ago when I started my line.John Varvaots 7

We read that Richard Avedon’s photo of Bob Dylan in Central Park was a big catalyst behind your collection that’s arriving in stores right now.
Yeah. Even as a kid, I can remember being interested in that photo. I grew up in Detroit and didn’t know who Richard Avedon was or anything, but when I saw that picture, I wanted to be Bob Dylan. I probably saw it in 1969. I grew up with the Stooges and the MC5 and their motorcycle jackets, but when I saw this Dylan guy in the leather boots with the skinny pants, I thought, “That’s my next step—that’s how I want to look.” I’m not even the biggest Bob Dylan fan, but there was a period of time when his style was incredible and this photo was the beginning of it. He didn’t look like anyone else in music.
John Varvatos 6

You mentioned leather motorcycle jackets. It seems like those have reached new heights of popularity lately…
The world right now is into iconic things: iconic people, iconic products… and a black motorcycle jacket falls into that category—it’s timeless. Every generation has embraced it: from Marlon Brando in the ‘50s, to the Ramones in the ‘70s, punks in the ’80s, and The Strokes in the early 2000s. And social media and the Internet have influenced how people dress in new ways. They see these iconic figures wearing something cool and they want to try it for themselves.

Your fall collection has a lot of leather pants. Would you wear leather pants?
No. I wouldn’t wear them. I always say that once you hit 40, you can forget about wearing leather jeans. But I think if I was 25 or 35, of course I’d wear them. They look great on the right body type, especially with oversized coats in tweed and wool—It’s a cool contrast. But being in good shape helps. Do you guys want some more of this tequila?

John Varvatos Chicorita


Justin Bridges is an American photographer based in NY. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Justin’s approach is to capture the untraveled moment and apply a feeling of art and thoughtfulness to each photograph. Realistic images married to mood and movement create his signature.

Sean Hotchkiss is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. His writing has appeared in GQ Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Man of the World, Bloomberg Pursuits, Cereal Magazine, and Men’s Journal. 

Watch the John Varvatos Spring ’16 runway show stream live from New York Fashion Week on Thursday, July 16 at 8 p.m. right here on The Window.

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