MFW: ROBERTO CAVALLI A/W 2015

Roberto Cavalli
Roberto Cavalli A/W 2015. Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

What does one say when the most impressive thing about a fashion show was the light fixtures? They were quite nice; chandeliers made of vertically hung fluorescent tubes. They were quite impressive pieces that might have hinted at a level of artwork to come. Instead, they were simply very nice light fixtures illuminating an autumn/winter collection so full of leopard print and sequins as to border on being costumes.

Okay, in all fairness, animal prints are something of a Cavalli trademark. He starts the show with an interesting mix, though: standard leopard print on one side and vertically-oriented black/white print on the other. It was enough to make one rub their eyes, not unlike another dress that has made a stir in social media this week. Stare at it too long and the strips and dots begin to merge. The print juxtaposition didn’t seem to amuse Cavalli very long, though, and by the fifth look he was back to straight leopard print in various touches carried through the rest of the collection.

70s prints and silhouettes were, as with last season, the call of the day. Unlike the spring collection, though, this set has less to do with bohemian looks and takes on more of the disco portion of that decade with a flurry of ruffles on shirts and sleeves and dresses that I had somehow managed to forget had ever existed. I would still like to forget them. Their over-abundance and size make even otherwise wearable ensembles look as though one is trying to imitate a couture pirate. The floral prints are well done but feel too much as though they’ve been pulled from a closet or thrift store rather than the rack at Nordstrom or Macy’s.

Then, there’s the fringe, which I suppose might look great on the dance floor of one of Cavalli’s night clubs, given those have a 70s vibe to them as well. The shorter fringe is made of goats hair and, speaking from experience, looks far too much like the cat shed all over one’s clothes. There are a couple of ensembles where the fringe is matched with shearling and the contrast is almost painful.

Finally, there’s the sequins. Again, it wouldn’t be a Roberto Cavalli collection if there weren’t an abundance of sequins involved; the old man does like his bling, after all. Yet, the overload we saw today was a bit much even by Cavalli standards. Some things just shouldn’t shimmer quite that much.

Not everything in the collection was a miss, of course. You’ll want to be first in line to grab one of the cropped turtleneck fuzzy wool sweaters. Even from the distance of the runway they look incredibly snuggle worthy. And there are the gowns at the end with gathers at the waist so that they look like cutouts, but with softer lines. That touch paired with gradient prints generates a gorgeous effect that probably deserved more attention than just the two final pieces.

I like Roberto Cavalli, don’t get me wrong. The past two seasons, though, have been so heavily mired in 70s looks I get the feeling he’s relying more on his catalog than creativity. Given his age, that might be understandable. At 74, Cavalli has already tried stepping away from being so hands-on with the collection back in 2013, and that didn’t work. Now, with equity fund Clessidra taking a majority stake in the house just last month, I’m wondering if Cavalli is simply biding his time, waiting for a suitable successor to be chosen. Certainly, the past two collections have not been on his par with his historical level of creativity. There is reason to be concerned.

At least the chandeliers were cool.

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