After his romantic, soft-focus Spring collectionquite a turnaround for Roberto Cavallithe Fall show drew plenty of curious onlookers. The setting didn't look much different: He traded in a photo backdrop of Versailles' Hall of Mirrors for one of Paris' similarly opulent Opéra Garnier. But would the clothes continue in the same prettily subdued vein, or would he go vamp on us, as was once his wont?
The answer: a little of both.
Cavalli opened and closed with fifties fit-and-flare dresses, bare at the shoulders. For day they came in white, embroidered with pastel wisteria and mimosa blossoms; after dark they were accessorized with rhinestone tiaras like those you'd see at a high-school prom or a debutante ball. In between, he went to Peru, knitting up colorful homespun sweaters, printing black cashmere jackets with vibrant roses, and embroidering both a sweet pinafore dress and a sexy bustier with paillettes in floral shapes. Black sequins at the necklines of chiffon intarsia tank dresses protected the models' modesty coming, but going was an altogether different story.
The show didn't hold together quite like Spring hadand then there was the caveat that, despite a few, almost craftsy patchworked furs, it didn't feel like a Fall collection. Not that the Cavalli faithful will much mind. They have the financial wherewithal to winter somewhere warm, and, once there, a black broderie anglaise dressthe show's loveliest lookwill suit them just fine.