The insolent minx in the lookbook was obviously a Roberto Cavalli woman—a leggy, tawny-maned adventuress—but the designer's Resort collection opened up all sorts of new possibilities. For one thing, he explored elements of the animal/reptile kingdom other than big cats and snakes. Perhaps there was some conceptual point in Cavalli's new affection for the tortoise and the armadillo, hard-shelled creatures that could resist the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune that a company in the midst of reshaping itself might expect to encounter. Whatever, tortoiseshell was a dazzling new pattern for Cavalli, in filmy georgette or over-embroidered jacquards or printed onto python (a complex effect amplified by the fact that each scale of snakeskin was exhaustively edged in gold). The heels of the appealingly chunky footwear were also tortoiseshell. Armadillo was used in an over-beaded dress or printed on a croc bag print.

Cavalli clearly had scales in mind, because his next move was under the sea with enlarged fish scales printed on sequined mesh. The denizens of the deep showed up as vivid screen-prints, so much richer than digital. But if such visual excess was in tune with what we expect from Cavalli, the collection surprised with its use of cotton, summery in its crispness, pure in its flowing volume, virginal in its whiteness. Virginal? Cavalli? In a curious way, the same feeling for purity infected pieces in fuchsia toile de Jouy, even if one dress was corseted in the time-honored Cavalli style. There was more than enough going on here to whet the appetite for September's Spring collection.