Milan Fashion Week: Roberto Cavalli, Mr Maximal
‘All this,’ wrote Cavalli, in his show notes, ‘is created for women who do not have an ordinary personality, who are confident, who love themselves and have an intense desire to be loved.’
Who knows if his summation of Cavalli Woman applied to Janet Jackson, who was sitting front row and flanked by bodyguards at today’s show. One thing is certain, Cavalli’s creations are worthy of the spotlight.
This was Cavalli digging back to his roots, his passion for art and craftsmanship, he said, pointing out somewhat grandly, his artistic heritage – ‘grandson of Guiseppe Rossi, a painter from the Macchiaioli movement, whose work hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence’.
His opening section, in monochrome, featured prints of flora and fauna inspired by masterpieces by Rubens and Caravaggio – no less. These paintings had been reworked ‘by professionals and art students alike to create fabrics that through a plisse effect become cubist fantasies’. They were indeed lavish.
The same haute ideas went into the fur, assembled on a loom, leather strips were covered in sequins, sparkles, studs and chainmail, then he introduced the colour – flaming red appeared as chevrons on fur coats and as vibrant roses, liberally scattered. Every piece, it appeared, had employed an intensive workforce to complete.
Opulence is what the Cavalli customer wants and opulence is what she gets. There was some respite to the full-on magnificence of it all in the form of skinny tuxedos, their collars and trouser seams printed in monochrome or made entirely from lush devore velvet in oxblood… or embellished with golden rivets.
Roberto Cavalli once again finds himself chiming with these uber-decorative times.