The catwalk at the latest Roberto Cavalli show was chevrons of gloss and matte - but, from a distance, it looked like animal print. Maybe that wasn't intentional, but it felt fitting - kind of like the Cavalli of old, but new. Daniele Cavalli is now the head honcho at the house, and this latest menswear show marked a move away from the established Cavalli house style into something newer, dare we say more modern? Then again, Cavalli would never stray too far from its roots.
Roots and routes, as the Cavalli path is well-worn. There are those who argue that a well-worn route can quickly become a rut, but Daniele Cavalli showed no sign of complacency or boredom with the house's well-established signatures. That signature, for men, is the Lothario - just in case the models' stick-on seventies porno moustaches didn't hammer it home hardcore enough. The show was titled 'The Charmer' - whether that is meant genuinely, or as that pejorative (but perhaps Anglo-Saxon) insult is open to interpretation.
What it amounted to was a Cavalli interpretation of next season's gentleman theme. The Cavalli gentleman, however, is a crooner, and possibly a carouser - he slipped easily from bubblegum-pink and electric mauve biker jackets into slender, silk-faille lapelled evening jackets, finishing both off with hefty boots, a cross between cowboy and working-man (slightly dodgy, those). If they sound like True Grit, it was True Grit - The Musical: all the theatrical, extravagant luxury Cavalli is known for was well in place. Try a sulphur-yellow silk tuxedo, cape appliqued with tiger striations, or a classic black Le Smoking rendered in eye-popping alligator: imagining the price-tag on that number alone is enough to jolt the Italian economy back into recovery, I'd reckon.
That said, it was the simplest pieces that warranted the most attention: skinny peacoats, slender suits and a grey melton topcoat collared in fur. We've seen them on half-a-dozen Autumn/Winter menswear catwalks already - the fact they garnered more than a second glance amidst the trademark Cavalli finery is nigh-on a miracle.