The carnival atmosphere at the Just Cavalli
show today at the very least established the man's populist credentials. It felt like il tutto Milano
had come for a day out. The only thing missing was picnic baskets. The show itself surely conformed to what a "civilian" audience, weaned on cable TV visions of fashion as popular entertainment, might expect: insolent glamour and jet-set fantasy, set to a driving disco beat. Roberto Cavalli, celebrating his 40th anniversary in business this year, knows his stuff when it comes to such notions. He's had decades of experience since he opened a shop in Saint-Tropez when it wasn't much more than a fishing village. Now, artful denim and leather treatments are part of his DNA. And here they were, duly featured as a pearl-studded chambray waistcoat or flower-appliquéd jeans or baroquely curlicued leather pants. In terms of fashion fantasy, Cavalli covered the bases, from the suede-covered cowgirl to the safari queen in a leopard-printed caftan to the crop-topped flower child, in short shorts printed with palm fronds lifted from Roberto's own flash card. If thousands left his tent happy today, his work here was done.