Tuesday 8 March 2016

Art Nouveau by Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2016/17

Divine Decadence. An ode to the louche, lean and sinuous women of the Art Nouveau, fused with the attitude of today. Peter Dundas looks to absolute femininity incarnate to inspire his fall/winter 2016 Robert Cavalli collection. His muse is the free-spirited, wilful Cavalli woman, her love of luxury, her sensuality and her wardrobe.

The collection takes its cue from glam rock - and the often-overlooked fact that ‘glam’ is an abbreviation of ‘glamour’, an essential attribute of the Cavalli girl. Inspired by the hedonism of the late sixties, when fashion first began to revive the naturalistic curvilinear lines of the Art Nouveau, graphics mix imagery from Gustav Klimt, Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha and the album art of Led Zeppelin. The fusion of Belle Epoque with rock is the root of this Roberto Cavalli collection.

Silhouettes are whiplash slender like an Art Nouveau flourish, shoulders narrow and sleeves full, a hint of Janis Joplin fusing with serpentine Edwardiana. This sylphlike line is translated from slender gowns through to day, in attenuated maxi-coats and willowy jeans or trousers.

Embroideries underscore a pagan inspiration, drawing on the work of René Lalique, the gilded canvasses of Klimt and ritualistic ornamentation, like mythological celebrations of nature and its gifts. The motifs are tinged with early twentieth-century mysticism, the elegant occult of Aleister Crowley, and the artfully reimagined historical attire of Theda Bara in her Hollywood epics. Other embroideries draw on hussar frogging, swirling across tailored horseman’s jackets and soft evening proposals. Lines are blurred – male with female, day with evening, historicism with styles of today.

Maxi coats, patchwork fur capes, skimpy lace dresses, platform boots, and trailing Lurex scarves: Peter Dundas has always been fashion’s most committed translator of the louche world of the early-1970s rock chick. “Yeah, it’s me. I can’t deny it!” he admitted backstage after his second collection since arriving as creative director of Roberto Cavalli. Actually, it’s the continuation of the look Dundas has carried over from his tenure at Emilio Pucci and no bad thing, as it fit in with all the other references to the ’70s that are building this season.

Cavalli has always been about hedonistic women flamboyantly in search of a good time. This season, that aesthetic was treated to a significant material upgrade, involving many skilled person-hours to produce tiger-stripe velvet, gold tissue lace, caviar beading, intarsia fur, baroque curlicued embroidery, and all the shiny textured silks that went into tailoring the high-waisted, skinny, flared pantsuits. Backstage, Dundas made a point of thanking the artisans who made his collection: “Italy is just amazing like this.” Like many others this season, Dundas made a play for the long, transparent dress one thing that is definitely a 2016 rather than a 1970 phenomenon.

Colours are rich, scarab nuances of petrol blue, purple haze, forest green, absinthe, and chartreuse. They are infused with brilliant flashes of burnished gold, lavender and robin’s egg blue. Patchwork is a key technique, keying surfaces with a sumptuous texture. Handbags are patched and embroidered, while platform shoes hint at glam rock with glitter and snake intarsia patterns. Lacquered snake is used to recreate reptile designs, while intarsia patchworks in mink and velvet invent symbolistic astrological designs for nocturnal adventuresses. The signature Cavalli big-cat print this season is tiger, cloaking the Cavalli woman like a high priestess.

Evening spells nights in lunar white satin, cut clinging and close, platinum-toned like Jean Harlow, dripping with crystal dazzle. Skin is suggested through panels own transparency, rather than displayed to the naked eye. The preciousness is mixed with the pragmatic, sportswear t-shirts, blouson shapes and treated denim juxtaposed with precious silks and velvet. That effortless mix affords the collection a dégagé ease, a contemporary mood and fresh sensuality, for a new Cavalli woman. Today she walks alongside her masculine equivalent, to encapsulate an entire universe - the cult of Cavalli.

Roberto Cavalli's Creative Director Peter Dundas 

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories 

Photo Credit/Source: The House of Roberto Cavalli
Photos by Kim Weston-Arnold/Indigital.tv

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Karl Lagerfeld offered up a lightheartedly trenchant quote before the Fendi collection set foot on the runway: “Voltaire said, What needs an explanation is not worth explaining.” Teasing those who make intellectual pronouncements about fashion collections with the words of a philosopher is a typical Lagerfeldian flourish.

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