You have to feel for Daniele Cavalli, scion of the Cavalli empire. Trusted with dragging the company into an austere 21st Century is quite an undertaking, especially when you’ve been saddled with your father’s legacy of full-beam extravagance and an indulgent Eurotrash clientele.
Stuck between an old rocker and a hard place, Daniele has managed to dial down the loucheness of the past, yet this skeleton in Cavalli’s closet creeps out from time to time, locking horns with the new, understated aesthetic which Daniele is attempting to instil.
The Autumn/Winter 2012 collection features many examples; a refined palette of black, dark taupe, and deep blues impinged by acid yellow and dusky pink, a dramatic navy and purple opera cape overshadowing the slender shawl-collared formal wear , sly tone-on-tone snakeskin prints on scarves converted into monochromatic top-to-toe ensembles. Every time Daniele attempts to rein it back the reductive ghost of Old Cavalli crops up.
That aside, when this collection’s good it’s very good. The slim tuxedos with their contrast details, the chevron motifs which run throughout, and the quintessentially Cavalli way with animal skin, most noticeable in the soft suede and waxed leather coats trimmed with Astrakhan and Mongolian lamb.
Maybe as Daniele grows in confidence he’ll be allowed more autonomy. Until that time comes, however, Cavalli will remain if not “off message” then certainly confused.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah Blog.