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. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!
Exactly a year ago, I was on fence with Peter Dundas‘ appointment at Robero Cavalli. Right now, I’m bewildered with myself, as I’m about to write an applauding review about his latest, spring-summer 2017 collection. It’s stunning, and so excessively Cavalli. And it’s crazy in love with rock & roll, sex and of course… love! Dundas looks back at the hippie 60s and crazy 70s, delivering Mick Jagger’s shirts, sultry boheme dresses, chic denim flares and patchworked maxi-skirts. The clothes aren’t too inventive and they will definitely hit a specific niche of Roberto Cavalli customers (think extremely tall, Italian donna with bangs and a yacht), but they literally look like authentic artifacts coming from wardrobe of Janis Joplin, and other music icons. Peter, the ultimate Playboy of the fashion industry, visibly craves to live in those times, filled with sun-drenched journeys to Morocco and lots of champagne. But who doesn’t?
I think it’s the first time I’m writing about Roberto Cavalli on my blog – ever! Not that I dislike Cavalli’s style – the thing is, the good old Roberto and his extremely Italian, slightly indie chic lost its right path somewhere in 2007, within the appearance of pre-collections and “hate” towards anything “kitsch” (talking of you, minimalism). Even though the designer was at helm of his studio till 2015, the collections didn’t differ much, while the brand wasn’t appealing to a younger clientele. In fact, Peter Dundas initially seemed to be a lost cause. Not only as Roberto’s personal decision, but after his, ironically, Cavalli-style-inspired collections for Emilio Pucci, which didn’t excite either. After the second season (I’m on fence with the critic-slammed spring-summer 2016 fluo glamorama), however, Dundas catches attention, but not only because of his predictable bling-bling. To a surprise, autumn-winter 2016 collection, for both men and women, was a great nod towards Robeto Cavalli and his bright, golden years – flares, python leather, music band t-shirts and a lot of denim revive from the dust, gracefully. With Jane Birkin’s 70s attitude and a sharp walk, anyone can make these killer, waisted pants look hotter than… hell!