Roberto Cavalli is something of a seafaring man. He spends the summer sailing the Med, where his big iridescent boat, the RC, is an inescapable fixture in glamorous ports of call like Saint-Tropez and Porto Cervo. So Roberto could have been drawing from his own experience when he took the sea as inspiration for the Spring outing of his second collection, Just Cavalli. The show opened with a white biker with "pearl"-studded sleeves. Short dresses were covered in sequins shaped by "an oxyhydrogen flame" (the rather alarming claim made by the show notes) that looked like gilded mermaid's skin. And the handkerchief hems of chiffon slipdresses trailed like undulating underwater fronds.
But all that aquatic stuff was really just PR flimflam to dress up an old story, because the collection was ultimately classic Cavalli. It was almost as though the designer's deal with Renzo Rosso had freed him to deposit all his longtime signatures in a closet marked Just Cavalli: the engineered jungle prints, the jaguar spots, the digital bougainvillea (snapped by Cavalli in his own garden). Also the python, the slither of lace under the tux jacket, the blue majolica pattern duplicated in everything from tees to leggings, the distressed denim, and those languid, handkerchief-hemmed slipdresses. Yes, these are Cavalli's strengths, but that meant it was ultimately a man's blazer tailored in organza that yielded the biggest frisson. It wasn't predictable.