Sometimes it's best if designers don't admit to their inspirations. Anyone who loves Morocco or the written works of Paul Bowles or the music of Devendra Banhart could rightly take exception to Roberto Cavalli's adopting their allure as the wellspring of his latest collection. In this case, they were an of-the-moment hodgepodge to drape around the show's concept, "Bohemian Safari"and besides, by the time the evening-gowned Natasha Poly followed an army of bathing-suited boys onto the catwalk, any notion of bohemia or safari had been well and truly obliterated.
That doesn't mean there wasn't extreme entertainment value in the Cavalli presentation. Open your eyes, let your mind go, and you could almost have been looking at a dress rehearsal of Romeo + Juliet: The Reunion. Florentine artisanship is in Cavalli's bloodone taste of his wine, olive oil, or chocolate is ample proofso he is perfectly capable of delivering twenty-first-century Renaissance wear: something as convincingly arcane as a brocade blazer or a blanket coat with woven fur lapel. And, of course, anything that involves skins is his speciality. Cavalli loves his printer, too. That was where the exploded floral print on a jacket came from. Likewise the palm-tree-leaf print on a pair of jeans, and the sunset print everywhere else. But Oxford bags? In the future, it might be best if the designer applied the Romeo + Juliet test: Would a Montague or Capulet wear this outfit?