Cavalli's AW12 collection was a mixture of influences and references that orbited around the house's signature glamourous character. The show began enveloped by animal skin. Not only were hides themselves used but their natural beauty inspired all manner of print design and embroidery work that shook up sartorial habits. From smoking jackets crafted from crocodile to velvet enriched with printed scales and feather reimagined in black and white photographic prints to the surprisingly subtle use of tiger stripe in cutouts and stitching on matelassé bikers, cashmere capes, not forgetting the jacquard from the knitwear.
Despite being its primary starting point, the collection was not just a dazzling display of precious skins and plumage. Cheviot stripes were present along with pinstripes that appeared on denim, English wool and the more classical chevron. Lapels of dinner jackets were embroidered with crystals, returning to their traditionally smaller form in silk and cashmere, or recreated directly on the garments through skilful cutting. Suits were grounded in traditional tailoring but the silhouettes presented a surprising lightness whilst providing unexpected fluidity when compared to the formal precision of the past seasons. There was an evolution – rather than a revolution of fit, underlined by a slightly narrower shoulder, trousers sitting looser on the thighs, refined shirts from pashmina, and lights coats with raglan sleeves.