DRESSED TO : JOHN VARVATOS AND
January 13, 2014
John Varvatos and KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons talk about music and fashion in Milan

Text David Hellqvist
Photography Roberto Boccaccino

As the legendary American rock band take over from country star Willie Nelson as the poster boys of John Varvatos’ Spring Summer 2014 campaign, this trio of well-dressed music lovers sat down for a chat ahead of the Varvatos show in Milan. Singer Paul Stanley and bass guitarist Gene Simmons share a long standing devotion to rock, and the way they dress is a direct consequence of that. Much of is down to Varvatos, whose rock-infused clothes define his own passion for rock. No-one else so seamlessly merge the two forms of expression, as proved by last year’s book, Rock in Fashion.. So how did they meet, and what’s the connection between the band and the designer?

John Varvatos: I was invited to a Kiss gig here in Milan last year. I brought about 12 people from my staff. A lot of them had not seen Kiss before and they had their minds blown. One girl in her early 30s actually said it was one of the best days of her life, not just listening to Kiss but hanging out with the band.

Paul Stanley: We’re just kindred spirits! I don’t see John as part of the fashion community, he’s part of the rock’n'roll community. The clothes are comfortable, they fit you like a good guitar. I love John’s clothes because they are timeless. Fashion is useless next year whereas style is timeless. John’s clothes always echo back to many of my heroes in the 60s and 70s without looking retro. That’s the beauty with style, to be able to be influenced by something without copying it. It’s like great cooking where you mix great ingredients in the right proportions.


John Varvatos: I was invited to a Kiss gig here in Milan last year. I brought about 12 people from my staff. A lot of them had not seen Kiss before and they had their minds blown. One girl in her early 30s actually said it was one of the best days of her life, not just listening to Kiss but hanging out with the band.

Paul Stanley: We’re just kindred spirits! I don’t see John as part of the fashion community, he’s part of the rock’n'roll community. The clothes are comfortable, they fit you like a good guitar. I love John’s clothes because they are timeless. Fashion is useless next year whereas style is timeless. John’s clothes always echo back to many of my heroes in the 60s and 70s without looking retro. That’s the beauty with style, to be able to be influenced by something without copying it. It’s like great cooking where you mix great ingredients in the right proportions.

Gene Simmons: Yeah, anything worth doing is worth doing well. The little Italian shoemaker on the corner – it’s a thing of the past unfortunately – but he used to take pride in every nail he put into the shoes so that he knew that, when someone wore them, they stood the test. And when Kiss puts on the shows of shows, it’s every show. People feel it when they leave. Pride. It’s a word that’s not used enough. You want to stand behind, in front of and in your work – whether it’s art or digging a ditch.

John Varvartos: I’d say they are constantly raising the bar. Other bands on their level are just happy to continue as it is, but these guys just keep on making better and better music.

Gene Simmons: The work ethic here is unsurpassed. When I grew up, James Brown was the hardest working man in show biz, well we are the hardest working band in show business. Period.

CLICK HERE to read the rest at Port-Magazine.com