With Paul Surridge at the helm, the fashion pack were eager to see what was on offer for menswear this season. Will it err toward Cavalli tradition? We climbed high in the hills of Florence to a castle courtyard trimmed with flags and plush carpeting for this S/S 19 show. So far, so Cavalli.
What followed was an unsuspected turn for the house. White suiting within the first five looks had clean lines and emitted an understated quiet. Double layers, suited shorts, loose movements. A remix of Björk played. Is this a new Cavalli? Perhaps Surridge’s previous experience with Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Z Zegna are an influence here.
Then white was lost altogether as animal print surged into the space. Tiger print, zebra print, leopard print - it came in abundance and it came on everything. Gone were the linear whites that opened the show, we were now absorbed in animal print cut-out vests, bright orange and green leopard jackets, clashing motifs on top of blazer and coat. Holographic trainers bottom-ended luridly bright, printed jeans. The house is not shy of the use of animal print, but here they were digital, cartoonish, young. One felt as if Surridge was bringing Cavalli into the now, appealing to a youthful and international Cavalli buyer.
Those boxy sunglasses were a good start. As too were the cross body bags and relaxed tailoring. With an entry-level price point and a modern shape, both accessories could lure a new market in. Digi-prints and double denim felt contemporary, as did the cropped hooded jacket exposing the midriff, while classics such as red duster coats and polos remained a homage to the original Cavalli customer.
There were elements of the traditional alongside functional shapes, and loud, sexy patterns. A welcome surprise from Surridge at Roberto Cavalli.