There was hardly any doubt that Peter Dundas’ menswear for Roberto Cavalli wasn’t exactly going to be a minimalist affair. The designer has always been about the glamour, the sex, the after-dark glitz – and so is his new old house – but last night, as he opened the Milan shows under the header ‘Real Opulence’, he took things in a more seventies-dishevelled, bohemian direction: Baggy flares, Fair Isle knits, bejewelled chiffon blouses and heavily embroidered denim of the kind that Cavalli did in the early 2000s, only amped up here.
It’s a homecoming for Dundas, who worked with Mr Cavalli from 2002 to 2005, and as CEO Renato Semerari told the Miami Herald, he’s been brought back into the fold to front the company’s expansion, and menswear – which currently makes up less than 10 per cent of revenues – will be a central part. The show unfolded at the Palazzo Crespi, where guests dined from ornate silver plates and Frédéric Sanchez’s The Who-infused soundtrack filled the grand rooms.
It was more trustafarian college dropout in William Morris-inspired florals and Converse than Cavalli’s dark glam rock of yore, and the show notes – printed in a baroque, cursive font – spoke of establishing a blueprint for the new Cavalli man, a “twenty-first century dandy”. It’s still about rock icons but the more bohemian ones: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Serge Gainsbourg, whom Dundas all mentioned.
The collection echoed the romantic mood that’s been gaining momentum in Milan recently. It seems like as the world falls to pieces around us, decadence comes to the fore in a kind of metaphoric Boccaccio’s Decameron party. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the week here plays out.