These days, Roberto Cavalli, senior rock god of Italian fashion, has to build a stadium to contain the legions of fans who throng to witness his spectacular shows. Deservedly so. His body-enhancing, glamorous, beautifully embellished Spring collectionall chinoiserie, corsetry and exuberant printwas grandstand material par excellence.
The designer struck a right-on opening chord with a deep-blue embroidered kimonoa key trend of Milan fashion weekoutrageously amplified with a raw-edged leopard-spot lining. He followed up the Asian riff with the briefest of curvy cheongsams in luscious print satin, then with dragon-painted matte leather, in lacquer red and black, cut into body-hugging, flipped-out minidresses and jeans. When he laid torso-clinching corsets over flyaway handkerchief-point print chiffon dresses over leather pants, the more-is-more decibel level reached a pitch that brought down the house.
There’s more to Cavalli, though, than pumping up the volume. The techniques he applied to his materials and cutslike distressed, crumpled leathers and delicately pieced floor-length gowns in chiffon and laceunderscored the brashness with a grace note of quality. And that’s what makes him a maestro.