No small portion of this show was spent trying to determine exactly which bandwagon upon which Roberto Cavalli is attempting to jump. The runway is designed to look like a boardwalk (beach theme, anyone?). Textured leather done in silver metallic takes on a more futuristic look. Animal prints hint at the safari theme we’ve seen a couple of times. At the end of the day, however, the collection is probably best described as yet another 70s inspired set that breathes heavily with bohemian air and a psychedelic rock soundtrack.

Cavalli wastes no time stepping back to the days of halter tops and maxi dresses with brightly colored fabrics that in some ways hint at being tie-dyed but aren’t. This great splash of color at the very front of the show was a very welcome departure from some of the more subtle palettes we’ve seen this morning. When Cavalli commits to a 70s look, he does it very well and the pieces are very attractive and wearable.

But then one looks up and sees a black tuxedo jacket over a full length black skirt with alternating bands of leather and tulle. This is definitely not a 70s silhouette. There’s nothing 70s about this look. It’s a very cool and impressive look, to be sure, but it breaks with the theme.  He’s quickly back to the multi-colored maxi and even tosses in a pair of leather pants with a leather halter top under a leather jacket.  He never wanders too terribly far away, but that he wanders at all is a bit visually frustrating.

White lace is a look Cavalli does very well, something we’ve seen from him before, and when he applies those touches to the 70s silhouettes the look is absolutely phenomenal. Practical? Well, I guess that depends on just how clumsy one is, but there’s no denying the looks are gorgeous. So, what does Cavalli do? He tosses in extremely distressed denim. Granted, jeans really started coming into their own during the 70s, but they were clean, pressed, and completely in tact. Distressed denim doesn’t make its appearance until late in the 80s. To mix that look with such a strong 70s silhouette made my head hurt.

Then, there’s the silver metallic on leather and some very curious looks that sort of hint at 70s styles but departs from them in interesting ways. Again, on their own, these are very attractive looks and are worthy of some serious attention. Their interjection into the middle of a more strongly themed collection, though, is curious and aesthetically unsettling.

Animal prints on flowing maxi dresses end the collection and by that point one is longing wistfully for the more brightly colored pieces at the start of the collection. How could something that started out so strong and wonderful wander off into such ambiguity?

Roberto Cavelli is an amazing designer and this is an attractive collection in many, many ways. One just wishes he would make up his mind on a theme and stick with it. Please.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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