If we’re being brutally honest, Roberto Cavalli’s collections had a tendency to be gauche, with way too much animal print and blinged-out surfaces. However, it is clear that when Peter Dundas assumed the role of Creative Director, he would take the brand in a new direction, one that was on par with more conventional tastes – and he has actually managed to do this without erasing the brand’s innately glamorous personality. As demonstrated by his new Fall/Winter 2016 collection, Dundas is reviving Roberto Cavalli’s image by evoking the best styles of decades past, just like Hedi Slimane did at Saint Laurent and Alessandro Michele at Gucci. He achieves this by setting forth a rock n’ roll aesthetic that is quite appealing, and bursting at the seams with retro inspiration (his show notes name-checked Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin directly).
His nouveau-rock-goddesses first appeared on the runway decked out in patchworked fur coats slung over full lace slip-dresses. Topping the look off was a sequined skinny scarf wound around the neck, and below she wore some killer boots.
At Roberto Cavalli, the 1970s are back in full-force, and they are more extravagant and exhilarating than ever.
The stage often calls for extravagant styles – people pay a premium to see stars strut their stuff after all – and Dundas showcased plenty of strut-worthy material. There were velvet marching band trousers, tiger-striped velvet maxi skirts, densely embroidered jackets, and flirty bohemian dresses in an array of styles. As the show progressed, his haute hippie bohemians took on a more baroque quality, as surfaces became more opulent. At this point, he introduced beautiful capes scrawled with curlicue embroidery, floor-length patterned coats, and sheer dresses with galloon braiding across the chest. Just so his bohemian message wasn’t lost in the mix, Dundas paired many looks with bouquet-embroidered denim jeans. So many of the looks cued the replay of classic rock songs in our heads, from “Black Velvet” to “Witchy Woman”. At Roberto Cavalli, the 1970s are back in full-force, and they are more extravagant and exhilarating than ever.