"Rock is dead ?" was the question anchoring John Varvatos’ thinking this season. "Rock extends beyond a genre... [it] embodies a lifestyle unlike any other -but that way of life is threatened by a modern obsession with mass-produced ideas and instant gratification". Hinting at the possibility of Instagram-based vacuousness and the rise of celebrity culture destroying the fabric of subcultures, tribes and the like, his message was clear in its unapologetic dark-romanticism with the Bowery store bordered up -"a sign of mourning"- and coffins inside lined with corpses of rock causalities due to an overly bubblegum culture on digital steroids. John Varvatos took the prize for the most creative presentation during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. The designer dismantled his CBGB’s store and turned it into a fun house complete with corpses in coffins and an array of figures wearing animal masks. Upon entering, rows of coffins and walls with blood-splattered sayings spoke about the death of rock'n'roll. But as guests passed through the labyrinth of rooms, it was clear that this rock aesthetic was alive and well. "We wanted to do something raucous and provocative", the designer said over the loud refrains of Pink Floyd's 'Another brick in the wall'. We’re rebellious, we march to our own beat and we wanted to do something that wasn’t runway". Models and mannequins were interspersed throughout the space and it wasn’t clear which ones were real and which were fake -until they moved, evoking screams or giggles from those strolling through. The theater overshadowed the clothes, but a closer look revealed many Varvatos signatures -updated to embrace the trends of the season- including hand-aged leather jackets, double-breasted suits, elongated cardigans, an array of shearlings and calfskin coats painted to look like pony. There were tuxedo jackets in abstract animal prints and jacquards with contrast piping. Suits in exploded glen plaids had a slightly longer silhouette and a strong shoulder, and there were the requisite coated jeans and washed velvet jackets. A large assortment of shoes, boots and bags was also on display, many with distressed or antique details. "It’s vintage-meets-modern", John Varvatos said of the collection, "built with artisan details". Surrealism was core to the presentation : everything prompted guests to mull and muse. And tailoring was core to the line-up, some with contrasting piping and one with a question-mark appliqué that looked familiarly like The Riddler’s insignia from 'Batman forever'. "It’s time to do something different, to cause disruption", said the designer. "People need to change their lives, their clothing [and] to stop committing to someone else's uniform and lifestyle". After a day filled with shows, it’s hard to get people excited, but this innovative twist entertained even the most jaded fashionistas.