June 27, 2004
Of late, Roberto Cavalli has been making a concerted effort to establish a beachhead in London, via a new store and his sponsorship of the Serpentine Gallery's splashy summer party. His current interest in all things English was evident in the abstracted Union Jack motif that cropped up in his collection. It could also be traced in the Master and Commander subtext of officer's jackets, an embroidered vest, and the aged braid and old medallions that loaned character to coats, shirts, even a bathing suit. And perhaps the English weather has had a sobering effect on the designer, because his exuberantly sauvage trashiness was scarcely in evidence. Yes, there was a tiger-print shirt, a pink satin suit, and a wet-look ostrich trench. And yes, he highlighted his three-decade mastery of exotic skins with paper-light leathers, used in shirts and trousers. But the overriding impression was earth tones and tastefully muted shades of suitingan unexpected and interesting new departure for this designer.