The persistence of memory – how it shapes the present, how it forms the future – inspires the Fall/Winter 2019 Roberto Cavalli collection by creative director Paul Surridge. It evokes memories of Cavalli – not direct references, but reflections. Embracing, celebrating, evolving, it asserts the codes of the house: vibrant colour, a distinct print language, an artisanal touch. Alongside universal ideals of status, allure, beauty and confidence. These too are fundamentally Cavalli.
Clothes move with the body – freedom is confident. The clothes interplay between fitted and draped, a dynamic esprit. Plissé silks ebb and flow, sometimes interrupted with a twist in their precision, and knits cling to contours yet shift in motion. A modern ease. Joie de vivre.
Tailoring is rigorous, sculpting: it defines. A compact silhouette drawn from frock-coats references timeless notions of status, and the structure of tailoring offers dynamic rigour when combined with liquid silks. Menswear relaxes tailoring – here, ease equals power,translating a modern deformalised attitude into sartorial dressing. Mens and womens clothes interchange, exchange. They have a memory of each other.
Cavalli’s key code of animalier is here impressionistic, refracted into a stylised, Modernist tiger print, shadowed, in unexpected colours. It appears as prints across fluid silks, as embroideries that appear painted on the skin, and in intarsia shearlings – abstracted, but always with a memory of its origin. Python is recreated as a hand-drawn pattern in jacquard, or as sequin embroidery keyed close to the body, drawn from archival styles. These are reflected in Art Deco-inspired evening dresses, the memory of the 1920s, a source of inspiration for Cavalli past and present.
The colour palette is rich, embedding subdued tonality with glimmering jewels: midnight navy, black, fresco pastels, porcelain, alongside chartreuse, lagoon-mist blue and bougainvillea.
Accessories are founded in anchors, classics, archetypes. Bags become embellished status symbols carrying “Bold C” hardware; jewellery plays with crocodile scale motifs, like a modern armour. Shoes have strong chiselled toes, on both high-boots and evening mules, balanced on a finely-tooled bevelled gold heel. The same sharp, squared toe appears in menswear, on an elevated ankle-boot – shown alongside the iconic Roberto Cavalli V1PER sneaker.
Throughout, like a heartbeat, is the artisanal touch that defines Cavalli. Delicate embroideries, intricate fabrics, a memory of the human touch. Quintessentially Roberto Cavalli.