Camera crews and reporters swarmed the “black carpet” as actress and model Kate Upton and her boyfriend, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, arrived at an invitation only VIP party to celebrate the opening of the new John Varvatos store in downtown Detroit. Also spotted in the crowd headed to the star-studded celebration at 1500 Woodward Avenue were rock star Alice Cooper, who put on a high-energy heavy metal performance, singer Michael Bolton, R&B and soul singer/songwriter Dwele, “Rehab Addict” star Nicole Curtis, and several pro-athletes. Business leaders, including Bedrock Real Estate Services founding partner Dan Gilbert, managing partner and CEO, Jim Ketai, and VP of leasing and development, Dan Mullen, also stopped to talk with reporters along with Chrysler brand CEO, Al Gardner, and several others. Chrysler presented the rock star worthy party which drew more than 600 guests.
“Having this kind of energy in Detroit is a great thing,” said Dan Gilbert, standing in the glow of camera flashes and search lights along Woodward. Bedrock is leasing Varvatos the 4,600 square foot space for his hometown store.
For a single evening, the retail store was transformed into a concert venue. Guests enjoyed drinks, a DJ and an interactive photo-booth before Cooper took the stage performing hits like, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and “Poison.” His band also played various classic-rock covers, including “Brown Sugar,” “Break on Through,” “Foxy Lady,” and “My Generation.” They wrapped up their hour-long set with crowd-pleaser “School’s Out.”
Those who were not able to get inside stood on the street nearby just to hear the live music. Guests flooded social media with their party pics using the hashtag #JVDetroit. Even Kate Upton got in on the fun, sharing a photo of herself and Justin with her nearly 2 million Instagram followers.
Alice Cooper and John Varvatos, both Detroit natives, met through fashion and connected over their love of music and their hometown roots. They’ve been friends for several years. Both are energized and inspired by the city’s ongoing resurgence – proud to support each other – and the city they love.
By Friday, staff members had put the retail store back together, the black carpet and backdrop which blocked a portion of Woodward were removed, and it was businesses as usual. The store is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Saturday and Sundays 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Click HERE to see video clips and a photo gallery from the one-of-a-kind celebration.