Who needs intellectual reasoning to understand the bouncingly energetic thrust of Roberto Cavalli's collections? What he has on offer is blatantly and gloriously obvious: glamour and flash and a damn good half-hour's fashion entertainment. His fall collection stretched that wimpy term "eclectic influences" to the limitthrough the fierce side of the new black, seventies Saint Laurent, and silver screen Hollywood sirens with nary a stumble in self-confidence. (Unless you count the poor girl felled mid-runway by a gold lamé train.)
Since this was a show timed for the Oscars, Cavalli might just as well have run his triumphal Hollywood red carpet finale first. He called on classic images of feather-shouldered white satin, whalebone-corseted fishtail fuchsia, and powder-puff pink maribou in ways that channeled the glamour of Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, or Mae West. Those, along with a trio of draped and pleated gold, silver, and greenish lamé goddess dresses attest to the breathtaking speed with which Cavalli has developed his camera-ready fashion in the space of a few seasons.
It's that velocity that makes the Cavalli performance such an enthralling spectacle. It also applies to the heavily decorated and befurred jackets and vests he does for day. That was where the Saint Laurent references came in handy, as in an emerald-green belted and studded suede jacket or a gold Russian quilted number richly edged in fur. If his homages to Yves, like the red velvet wrap-over gown with purple boots or the black tuxedo topped with a feather chubby are too loud for the sensitive, never mind. This is a designer who can show fashion a good time, and you can't help applauding that.