The front row – all teeth and hair, big, big hair – comprising Elizabeth Hurley and her beau Shane Warne, Leona Lewis and a fleet of Italian TV personalities – were greeted by Roberto Cavalli prior to his spring/ summer 2013 show. He is the only designer to do this – come out and shake hands with his invitees, as if it’s a party he’s hosting – which, in a sense, it is.
The music is always up-tempo, the models look ravishing (as Liz Hurley later pointed out on Twitter) and the clothes – well, they’ve moved away from the brash, laminated-to-the-body, celebrity party kit of old and now sit firmly in the credible fashion arena – and, still, no less loved by the paparazzi.
Roberto Cavalli walks that fine line between Fashion and Red Carpet with the dexterity of a tightrope walker. He started – as so many designers in Milan have done this season – with white. Not that you could call white leather lace trousers minimalism exactly, but as with his Just Cavalli collection shown earlier in the week, there was a distinct stripped-backness to the proceedings. The lace was fairly astonishing – either in leather cut to resemble lace or the fragile fabric itself – deftly manipulated into sharp-shouldered jackets and nude-pink or pale lime body-contouring dresses and floor-sweeping gowns.
He mixed in his signature scarf prints – flamboyant designs, but again restrained in soft colours and air-light chiffon. Where the Roberto Cavalli of old might have stuck religiously to dresses, here he proposed striding super-wide trousers, worn with ultra-fragile camisoles – a great modern alternative for the much-photographed women on the front row.
Not that there weren’t plenty of Hurley-esque dresses too. The last section, in black, was beaded, embroidered, crystal-tipped, plummeting, slit, backless… you get the picture, but each look still planted on fashion terra firma.It was a great, bold show that showed off the best of Cavalli.