Fashion designer John Varvatos, has always been inspired by rock and roll. It’s not just evident in the choices he makes for his fashion house, but also to “give back” by supporting such organizations as the Save the Music Foundation (dedicated to restoring instrumental music programs in schools around the country). As with so many fashion designers, Varvatos has fragrance offerings. His first, a man’s fragrance (John Varvatos Classic) was launched in 2004 with another in 2006. He launched a woman’s fragrance in 2008. Another fragrance was launched in 2009. Varvatos also has skincare. All of these, plus his fragrances, are distributed by Elizabeth Arden.
Now, there’s a new line and fragrance from John Varvatos called: Star USA. Like so many higher end designers, Varvatos hopes to capture the young but affluent group of men, 20+. The new fragrance, developed by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, reflects the “youth” vibe by being a masculine fragrance with a very light touch. It starts out a bit lemony, but also green. Very quickly, this blows off into a very green, grassy feel, and then at the very end, as these notes are subdued, you sense the vanilla, just a hint of it. The actual notes include a top of red ginger essemce, juniper berries, cedrat (lemony scent), with a heart of blue spruce, cardamom, and osmanthus (a white floral somewhat jasmine-y) and bottom notes of vetiver, Belambre and tonka bean.
The fragrance didn’t last long on our tester, but perhaps the point is to get the object of your affection to get up real close and personal to enjoy the residual on a man’s skin. Although a bit obtuse, the press literature advises: “USA fragrance lives in a world that is polished, but rough around the edges; it’s a place where hidden meaning is out in the open, but can only be seen by those with a sixth sense for keeping things interesting. The John Varvatos Star USA man is old enough to see possibilities, and young enough to believe in them, driven with a Let’s-Do-It attitude that is tastefully twisted.”
That being said, the “tastefully twisted” aspect of this fragrance seems to be the packaging. Inside a steel grey cardboard box with just a hint of color from the tiny, red, red “star” between John Varvatos’ name and U.S.A. is a unique bottle. It’s a tall, opaque column of black glass (the press literature describes it as “smoky” but it looks black to me), embossed with John Varvatos Star U.S.A. logo, and topped with a shiny silver cap. Not just any cap, byt the way. This one is quite special. It’s a a mixture of two things young guys will think are cool: the ribbed top of a microphone, blended with the type of swing top beer bottle closure made famous by Grolsch Beer. John Varvatos Star U.S.A. is engraved in the top, with the tiny red star being the only real color. You might just be tempted to pick it up and playfully croon a love song to your sweetie. This bottle looks great, but my reviewer, and I, both had trouble opening and closing it.
My guess is that with the holidays coming, lots of girlfriends (and significant others) will rush to buy fresh, slightly woody and green scent. It might be light in nature, but it’s got the “I’m wearing expensive fragrance” feel to it. The collection includes Eau de Toilette in two sizes: 3.4 fl. oz. $70.00 and 1.7 fl. oz $55.00. There is also a Deocorant Stick for just $20.00 which I think would help boots the fragrance’s endurance on your skin, and help men feel (and smell) better, too.
John Varvatos Star U.S.A. is available in prestige department stores and also on the John Varvatos Web Site