Reiteration was key, but sometimes that lapsed into repetition, which occasionally felt like a stuck record.
Whenever fashion is in doubt, it seems to head back to the seventies. But there are exceptions to every rule - take Roberto Cavalli. He always end up back in the seventies, but there's never any doubt about the clothing he puts on the runway. Indeed, Cavalli is so assured he could probably design with his eyes closed - and there are seasons when you question if he does, or at least, if he designs behind a rather thick pair of sunglasses given the glitz and gilt crusted his garments.
For A/W 2011, Cavalli lightened up somewhat on those excesses. Rather than the soaring proscenium and mise en scene topping his runway, we had a bare expanse of Yves Klein blue, and his vision of the seventies seemed to have cleaned up somewhat. Rather than Flower Power beads and fringed leather, this time Cavalli's trademark patchouli-trail nomads were clad in almost-sober three-piece suits (albeit with a neckerchief and medallion or sixteen to hammer home the hippie vibe). The hip-hugging line of his boot-cut flares were about as sexed-up as we got, alongside heavy references to Jim Morrison and John Travolta (perhaps only I saw the latter). That tapped, perhaps unconsciously, into the gender-bending we've been seeing on other catwalks - some of Cavalli's boys walked the androgynous divide so beloved of the triply Haight Ashbury crowd, although maybe that was just when they were placed next to the throbbing masculinity of Tony Ward (even a stick-on porn star 'stache can't help you there).
What the seventies was certainly an excuse for was some fine tailoring - namely a standout and oft-reiterated belted overcoat in tweed or wool. Reiteration was key, but sometimes that lapsed into repetition, which occasionally felt like a stuck record. Cavalli boiled it down to one suit shape, one coat, one safari jacket, and the classic satin-lapelled tuxedo - think of any American prom get-up circa John Hughes and you'll know precisely the look. They are classics, granted but, less than halfway in, proved too ubiquitously classic to be the entire foundation of a collection.