Fashion | Roberto Cavalli: Pre-Fall 2020

Roberto Cavalli has been in a state of flux since the departure of creative director Paul Surridge in March. Eight months later, the company is still waiting to be put back on firm ground and rebuild by a new owner. In the meantime, the in-house team marches on, providing transitional collections designed to be appealing to buyers and keeping the business afloat without straying from the label’s core vision: a sexy, powerful look bordering on the Amazonian yet winking to Bohemia, with animalier prints in every possible iteration.

The Cavalli woman is part goddess, part warrior, part irresistible seducer. The designer complied with this (rather challenging) narrative, referencing for Pre-Fall themagical world of Celtic mythology, the romantic legends of Avalon, and King Arthur and the Knights, as well as Richard Donner’s fantasy move Ladyhawke. To save the company, a little magic would surely be of help.

The medieval imagery translated into  a series of sumptuous printed motifs (one of the house’s distinctive traits), including Hawks’s plumages; ramages interspersed with effigies of knights and mythological animals; and cheetah and jaguar spots blending into fantasy landscapes. Those details their way onto long cocktail dresses in over-dyed devore velvet or in plisse silk georgette which (the rather hyperbolic subtext notwithstanding) felt effortless and not overdone, qualities not often associated with Cavalli’s usual flamboyance.

In the daywear mix were alpaca, leather, and shearling greatocoast, cut oversize with a military feel and punctuated by metallic buttons with Celtic motifs. Sharp tailoring was prominent in masculine coats encrusted with metallic lace. Black velvet pantsuits had a sexy vibe, with cropped spencer jackets worn on bare skin. Denim was stone-washed and doubled with indigo devore velvet, to achieve an elaborate ripped finish.

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