Every time that I see John Crocco (which is at least twice a year backstage after the Perry Ellis show during New York Fashion Week), I call him “The King of Knits!” Ever since I saw Chad White strutting down the runway in a dove grey shawl collar cardigan (with suede elbow patches) in the Spring 2007 show, I’ve never met a Perry Ellis sweater that I don’t absolutely love. The Style Guyde’s favorite for the upcoming Fall 2011 season? See the Nordic sweater and scarf on Arthur Kulkov above.
John became Creative Director of Perry Ellis in 2005 after joining the company as Senior Vice President of Design and Merchandising in 2003. As Creative Director for all Perry Ellis brands under the Perry Ellis International label, John oversees the design and merchandising process of all apparel and accessories for the company and its licensees (i.e. John is VERY busy). Born and raised outside of New York City (in Nutley, New Jersey to be exact), John graduated (with a degree in Fine Arts) from the same college as Mr. Perry Ellis himself—New York University. Prior to Perry Ellis, John was busy perfecting his craft at such high profile companies as J. Crew, Lord & Taylor and Phillips Van Heusen.
Because I know that you’ll love John—and all of the great things he creates season after season for Perry Ellis—as much as I do (if you don’t already), I just had to ask him to sit down for the Style Guyde Interview. Lucky for all of us, he agreed—keep reading below for his answers.
What is your favorite piece from your Fall/Winter 2011 collection?
The Patchwork Shearling Eisenhower Jacket, worn by Sean Opry, for obvious reasons (see below).
What do you love most about designing men's wear?
I love the challenge of re-inventing classics and making something old look new.
Please describe "The Perry Ellis Man.”
In a sense it’s everyman. He prefers style over fashion and respects tradition—but has an updated outlook. He has a relaxed attitude even in a refined environment.
What are the five items every man should own?
A dark navy evening suit
Cordovan wing tips
A cashmere v-neck sweater
Proper tennis shoes
A concert T-shirt from your youth
What is the biggest mistake men make when getting dressed?
My biggest pet peeve is an ill-fitting suit with too broad a shoulder and baggy pleated pants. Who sells these guys their suits?!
Who are your style icons?
Bruce Pask (Men’s Fashion Director at T Magazine and a friend)
Arthur Kulkov (Re:Quest model)
Roger Federer (on and off the court)
Who or what has been your biggest influence?
The desire to succeed.
If you weren't a fashion designer, what would you be?
A lounge singer.
Let’s talk favorites:
Movie? The original Grey Gardens documentary. It reminds me that fortunes, and life, can change so quickly and that you can make adjustments and still be happy.
Book? Right now I’m reading Power Boating for Dummies!
Vacation spots? Best vacation ever was a week at the George V, with my pastry-chef boyfriend, who arranged a pastry-tasting tour of Paris for the two of us. I also love the Phoenician in Scottsdale for a week of tennis.
What's the one extravagance you can't live without?
My big, strong, sexy boyfriend.
What's on your current playlist?
What astrological sign are you?
What's next for Perry Ellis?
We are just now opening our first two retail stores on the West Coast—a very exciting evolution for our brand.
Although John just gave us a preview of the Perry Ellis collection for Fall 2011, let’s not forget that we’re smack in the middle of summer—and what better way to celebrate summer (and Perry Ellis) than with a brand new swimsuit? What do you think of this cool gingham one on Tommy Dunn (photographed by Rocco Laspata on the Gulf Coast of Florida)?
If you want one (and why wouldn’t you?), try your luck by e-mailing us at
with “Perry Ellis” in the subject line and tell us in 100 words or less what your plans are for the rest of the summer. The first 10 entries (with a valid e-mail, home address and telephone number) will win a Perry Ellis swimsuit—which retails for $59.50. Make sure to specify which size you would like—you can choose from small, medium or large. Only one entry/winner per household please.
For more from Perry Ellis go to http://www.perryellis.com and don’t forget to check out the sweaters!