GOING TO THE ROOTS: John Varvatos has turned to The Roots, a four-time Grammy-winning group and the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” to front its fall advertising campaign. “I’ve been a huge fan of The Roots for years,” said Varvatos of the Philadelphia-based septet that has won acclaim for its jazz-influenced approach to hip-hop. “They are one of the most innovative musical forces on the planet.”
It doesn’t hurt that they also “have a supercool look from a style standpoint,” the designer added.
Danny Clinch, who has shot the last 14 Varvatos campaigns, photographed the group at Republic Airport in New York as they were getting off a plane. “The way The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles traveled had a huge impact on the direction for this season’s campaign,” said Stephen Niedzwiecki, creative director of ad agency Yard. “I had been traveling a lot, and when I knew we were shooting The Roots, I started to think about how it would be to travel like the rock stars did in the Seventies. Led Zeppelin’s plane had fireplaces built in. So that’s what inspired us to shoot them in that way.”
Niedzwiecki said a second round of shots was “image-based. They’re simple rock ’n’ roll portraits that are simple and iconic and showed who they were.”
A bonus of the fall campaign is an impromptu jam on the tarmac that was captured on video. Varvatos said the video will be featured on the John Varvatos Web site beginning this weekend. The ads themselves will break in the September issues of magazines in the U.S. and internationally, including GQ, Esquire, Vanity Fair and Details. The band has also agreed to play at the designer’s store in the former CBGB space on the Bowery during New York Fashion Week in September.
— JEAN E. PALMIERI