By Edward Cardenas
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – Fashion designer John Varvatos returned home Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of his new store with some stylish friends.READ MORE: Johnson and Johnson Begin Vaccine Distribution After Receiving FDA Emergency Authorization
Justin Verlander, Kate Upton, Detroit Lion Eric Ebron and R&B singer Dwele joined business and community leaders dressed for a night out to celebrate the opening of the store and hear a private concert from Alice Cooper.
Detroit’s hottest couple — call them Uplander if you will — were uncharacteristically open and affectionate at the event.
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As Verlander noted, it was Detroit’s comeback night.
“For me to have a store here, and all this buzz around it, is very touching and very emotional tonight,” said Varvatos, who grew up in Allen Park. “More than anything, seeing all the energy that’s happening downtown Detroit right now is incredible.”
Woodward was shut down Thursday night for the invitation-only, black carpet grand opening event for Varvatos’ new “rock & roll” inspired 4,000 square foot store on Woodward at John R. in the Gordon Lloyd-designed Wright-Kay building.
The store is located in a Bedrock Real Estate building within the “Madison Block” – which is home to dozens of tech start-ups in Detroit.
“It’s really getting exciting around here,” said Dan Gilbert, founder of Bedrock Real Estate Services and chairman of Rock Ventures, who added his companies will have more development news in the coming weeks. “But we are just getting started.”
Business leaders also showed their support for Varvatos at the event, noting he supported one local automaker during the challenging late 2000s.
“As we came out of the misery of 2009, 2010, John was there,” said Alistair Gardner, Chrysler president, of the John Varvatos designed 300s. “We built a couple cars together … John is a great guy. We love him.”
Some who walked the black carpet into the celebration were wearing Varvatos designed clothes which include sleek leather jackets, peace sign T-shirts and Converse X kicks.MORE NEWS: Hard Rock Hotels® Announces Development Plans For REVERB By Hard Rock™ Kalamazoo
“Being from Detroit, and seeing something like this here is nice,” said former University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who was wearing Varvatos’ items. “Growing up there wasn’t too many things like this. It’s amazing for me …. it’s kind of breathtaking to see downtown, the city like this.”