These days, with so many talented designers seeing their brands flounder and go out of businesses, I’m astounded by the ever-expanding Robert Cavalli empire. Sure, the Italian designer is a pioneer, and one of only few designers that can create an instantly recognizable garment (even in today’s sea of leopard), but in these times of restraint it’s surprising that shoppers are still turning to Cavalli’s over-the-top prints. Or maybe they’re not, given how empty the Cavalli stores appear every time I pass one.
If the Resort 2011 collection of Cavalli’s lower-end, younger line, Just Cavalli, is any indication, the designer won’t be veering off track from what we’ve come to expect from him in the coming season. Loud floral and animal prints on everything from skimpy, little dresses, to uber tight skinny pants and fitted tops made their way into the collection.
When a piece isn’t tight, it’s skin baring, with the exception of a loose-fitting chiffon gown that was bold in its mix of loud prints made even more eye-catching (not necessarily in a good way) by a contrasting, loose fitting jacket that was layered on top of it.
When Cavalli shows restraint, as with a fluttering yellow mini lined with print on either side of the model’s body, or with a one-shoulder black dress with a large obi-style cinching at the waist, the clothing shines. Unfortunately, the particular black dress I am referencing was styled over printed leggings, taking away from the simple beauty of it. I understand the Cavalli woman isn’t simple or understated, but sometimes a little restraint could go along way.
Hopefully Roberto Cavalli will, at some point, follow in Donatella Versace’s footsteps and enlist someone like Christopher Kane to head the creative team for his diffusion label.