Roberto Cavalli's 40th anniversary show last September exaggerated his signatures to such an extravagant, spectacular degree that there was a danger he'd exhausted them for all time. What next? For pre-fall, Cavalli hedged his bets by taking on two quite different themes. The first—Hollywood safari—offered 1940's bat-winged glamour, an animal-printed georgette gown as daywear (with a plush fox-trimmed cashmere gilet, also in leopard), and a brick red Dietrich-style tux. The excess felt like the Cavalli we know, but there was definitely a more decorous tone than before: bow necks, fabrics nowhere near as sheer, a more forgiving volume in the clothes.

Same thing with Theme Two, where Cavalli tripped to Vienna on the cusp of the twentieth century, borrowing some of artist Gustav Klimt's gilded surfaces for languid cocktail dresses, eveningwear, even pencil-slim denims. Beaded art nouveau swirls decorated long tees that could do double duty as shifts (it worked for Madonna recently). The designer also stopped by the military academy for strictly tailored coats and jackets in brass-buttoned, felted loden. Ultimately, though, you don't necessarily want Cavalli learning new tricks. His strongest pieces will always be those that reflect the crafts of his hometown, Florence. Here there was a little leather jacket meticulously patchworked, again in an art nouveau pattern, with the untrimmed edges of the hide left as a lapel-like detail. A true heritage piece.