Milan Fashion Week Coverage: Roberto Cavalli Spring 2016 Collection

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Milan Fashion Week has seen its fair share of shake-ups this season (see: Alessandro Michele’s total rebranding of Gucci and Massimo Giorgetti’s nautical undertaking at Emilio Pucci), but the newly installed Creative Director of Roberto Cavalli, Peter Dundas, was more intent on honoring brand traditions than upending them. Filtered through Dundas’ specific worldview, Cavalli codes received a much-needed update, without losing their distinctive edgy power. For Spring/Summer 2016, Dundas defied Fashion Week’s dominant trends and turned to the 1980s for inspiration. Instead of mining the era of excess for its overblown silhouettes and top-heavy proportions, Dundas let denim guide the agenda. The sturdy material was all over the Roberto Cavalli runway, from bleached vests and button-up dresses to zebra-striped jackets and burnout jeans covered in metallic tinsel fringe.

Peter Dundas defied Fashion Week’s dominant trends and turned to the 1980s for inspiration.

Beyond the collection’s denim range, Dundas also reinterpreted house signatures, rendering its signature big cat motifs into literal lion-head prints that roared from the surface of twist-and-fold minis, skinny trousers, and sporty tank dresses. The call of the wild could also be found on leopard-print skirts, zebra-striped moto vests, and tatted sweaters that appeared to have been clawed by a jungle predator. High-octane drama was injected into the proceedings with a billowing series of mullet-hemmed skirts that fell from ruffled heights into theatrical trains. Maximalism continued its incessant march with slashed-up gowns that were held together by O-rings, slinky jumpsuits, skimpy bandeaus topped with massive bows, and lavishly ruffled tie-dye maxis. Obviously, there was a lot going on, but quieter moments cast a spell in the form of lovely one-shoulder cocktail dresses with sparkly fringed exteriors and vintage-inspired leather jackets. Although this collection was a fervent celebration of Cavalli’s club-girl signatures, it almost felt too direct, too spot-on. Dundas is an extremely accomplished designer, so one might expect to see a taming of Cavalli excess, but he did introduce enough changes to assure a less niche approach next season.

Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree

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