Wild Spirit. Roberto Cavalli AW23

Fashion in Milan doesn’t look forward, but resorts to the past in search for inspiration. It’s either about going Y2k-heavy, which gradually becomes quite nauseous, or channeling something more retro. Fausto Puglisi is in the latter camp with his autumn-winter 2023 collection for Roberto Cavalli – and it’s surprisingly good. I can’t remember a decent Cavalli collection since the founder of the brand exited the creative role. Puglisi’s first offerings for the brand were hard to digest, and thankfully he toned it down. The new season vibe is hedonistic, with patchwork leather trimmed in crystals, animalia motifs of many kinds, and piles and piles of faux fur. Denim was another focal point. Jeans are how Cavalli got his start; backstage Puglisi talked about the house founder’s early days, when he tooled around Italy scrounging for denim scraps that he collaged into hippie treasures. They were the inspiration for some of the most hands-on, highly embellished pieces Puglisi has made yet at the label. A pair of bell bottoms were so shredded and shaggy they almost looked like fur, too. A 2022 trip through the American Southwest is still reverberating with Puglisi, and he conjured the aesthetic with tooled leather, silver studding, and turquoise beads. This collection lived up to Roberto Cavalli’s reputation for excess, but in a pleasing way.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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