Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Like a strand in the wind...

Roberto Cavalli

In a way it makes sense that Roberto Cavalli, granddaddy of the glammed-up boho babe aesthetic, would have the final word on all things hippie-deluxe this season. In just 40 looks he managed to make every other collection that has toyed with the look seem so sad and half-assed by comparison, at least to me. Cavalli's been in an ongoing state of flux these last few years, trying, it would seem, to move his brand forward. Some of the results, like his F/W 2009 collection, struck me as positive steps in a new direction that still kept his aesthetic intact, while others have abandoned everything the label is about for reasons unknown. I guess I'm of the mind that if you're good at something you should stick to it, and what Cavalli is good at is super glamorous, super luxurious rock star clothes, which is exactly what he delivered for Spring Summer 2011, his 40th anniversary. I'm not even going to try hating this collection because frankly between the craftsmanship and the conviction of belief I think it's an extremely well done take on one of the season's prevailing moods.

On the Fashion Spot some threw out a comparison to Cher, and I can kind of see that. Hell, Cher was probably wearing Cavalli back in her early bohemian days with Sonny, so it's not far off the mark. But if the hair and hiphuggers are Cher then the more ethereal, floaty pieces trailing fringe every which way are pure Stevie Nicks. The dreamy sun-baked color palette certainly adds to the effect. I mean really, can't you just picture her twirling around in some of these dresses while singing Edge of Seventeen? Part of what makes Cavalli's brand of trashy, flashy fun stand out has always been his commitment to beautiful workmanship. Questionable taste aside the man and his staff have quite a way with leather, embroidery and printmaking, and this collection is a testament to those specialties. From the whipstitched crocodile, ostrich and python jackets to the lacing that held together pants and dresses the work that went into the clothes is obvious. To me that's one of the things that separates his take on this look from all the other designers who have done it this season, it really does look handmade, homespun even, but in the best possible way. Even the way it's styled seems somewhat authentic, like real women put these looks together with the things they own. It comes pretty close to looking and feeling one of a kind. The other thing that sets this apart from the crowd is how it really goes there. It risks being ridiculous in order to be convincing, unlike collections such as Gucci and Pucci which only dip their toes into the boho pool. Cavalli dove in head first and went as far as he could, and whether the clothes appeal to you or not I think that kind of commitment is something worth praising. Like Versace or Prada earlier in the week this collection is focused and uncompromising, which of course means that it won't please everybody. But since when is anything that pleases everybody worth noticing?

all images from style.com

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