It's arrivedercifor Roberto Cavalli's traditional glamour puss. And so long, as well, to the more romantic muse of recent seasons. His new girl? "She's tough, aggressive, sexy, and young, and she's going to help me fight this crisis," Cavalli said backstage. Her weapons of choice: grommeted and studded black-suede tank dresses and scarves, fur jackets, steel-heeled leather boots so high they disappear underneath her hems, body-conscious knits, and leggings that lace up the sides. Off duty, she might choose jersey T-shirts and minis featuring faded trompe l'oeil prints of dresses from past collections. But after dark, she pulls out the big guns: sheer knit gowns in midnight blue or black, layered over bodysuits that leave miles of leg exposed.

Sound familiar? No, Cavalli's not on the leading edge of the rocker-chick trend. It's not necessarily fair to call him a follower, though. US Weekly readers and Beyoncé fans might not have picked up on it, but he's been inching away from animal prints and the like for a couple of years. A photographer in the crowd remarked that when he asks one particularly tough, aggressive, sexy, and young editor what she's wearing, the answer is often, "Cavalli!" After last season's confused meandering between fifties debutante dresses and seventies disco, this collection not only has the courage of its convictions but also seems destined to sell.