Roberto Cavalli F/W 2016
Roberto Cavalli F/W 2016

He gets it. Peter Dundas finally gets Roberto Cavalli. I was worried for a moment last season when Cavalli first introduced Dundas as his successor. Last season’s collection was very much out of character for the house and strayed from what we know Dundas is capable of doing. This season, though, Dundas not only nailed the Cavalli look, he may have presented his best collection ever.

For starters, Dundas got us out of that dank, damp basement he was in last September and into the more opulent, luxurious setting of the Palazzo Spinola, complete with crystal-laden chandeliers, candlelight and quiet harp music playing gently as guests entered. Settings can say a lot about a collection before it even hits the catwalk and this was one that was more like something Cavalli himself might have chosen.

The styles were straight up 1970s rock and roll. Think Mick Jagger’s wardrobe from about 1976 and you already have a good feel for where this is going. Necklines plunge as low as they dare go. Plants legs are flared. Silhouettes run lean and trim. Coats are long, luxurious, and covered in fur. There are long scarves with almost every ensemble, dashes of paisley and psychedelia, and even references back to classic rock such as the Beatles’ Seargent Pepper album.

Fabrics were full of texture with enough crushed velvet to create a shortage in the market, plenty of leather and animal print, and a sufficient helping of gold lamé just in case one happens to run across a random disco. Where Dundas kept things contemporary is with a tremendous amount of sheer, mostly in tulle and chiffon, but with occasional forays into clear beaded sheer that might have been the only hiccup in the collection. I don’t know if there was a problem with the dress or the fact that she was, for all intents and purposes, bare ass naked on the catwalk, but the poor model wearing the first sheer beaded dress stumbled a bit as she made her entrance and looked absolutely mortified through the entirety of her walk. I can’t say I blame her in the least. Saran wrap would have hidden more. The dress itself is beautiful, but the model was obviously self-conscious.

Oh, but the mustard colored ruffles, the brocade, the incredible amount of bead work, the washed denim, and the heavy eye makeup were so spot on that I almost felt as though I were 20-something again. In fact, this was one of those collections that might inspire one to go out dancing were it not for the fact that this has been an incredibly long day. It was nearly 11:00 PM before everything was said and done which is extremely late even by fashion standards. Getting up in the morning is going to be a challenge for those of us who can remember the 70s the first time they came around.

It’s good to see Peter Dundas adapting so well to his appointment to Roberto Cavalli. The old man wasn’t in the building tonight, but I’m sure he was keeping track of events from his yacht or something. This pairing looks as though it could go better than I had expected.

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