Roberto Cavalli AW2017/18 Women's Collection

Roberto Cavalli AW2017/18 Women's Collection
The exoticism and sensuality of animal patterns; luxurious fabrics intricately worked and opulently embellished; the superlative artisanal skills of Italian craftspeople. These are the codes of Roberto Cavalli, and the focus of the AW2017 Roberto Cavalli collection.

Harking back to the roots of Roberto Cavalli, the story here is of man meeting nature - nature evoked through precious skins and intricate recreations of animal markings, specifically tiger and leopard, and man through craft and ornament. The fusion of these two is the definition of Cavalli.

The mood is of nighttime, a nocturnal menagerie of Cavalli animals, defining the look of the Roberto Cavalli woman. Big cat prints and embroideries combine with snakeskin, and peacock-feather designs are recreated on chiffons, and in leather and python across the back of Montgomery coats and tailored jackets. Chains create a trompe l’oeil effect of animal print.

The collection is sharply focussed: a sequence of signature Cavalli silhouettes showcase a sinuous line, long and lean, or dynamic and abbreviated. These silhouettes are reinterpreted in three different, distinct palettes - albino hues of white, ivory and nude; the twilight colours of night-time animals, in nuances of browns, grey and violet; and a series coloured with the shades of Cavalli’s trademark big cats and serpents, enlivened with flashes of brilliant sulphur yellow.

Both that strict palette and the static presentation pulls focus onto the clothes but deeper, concentrating attention on the workmanship that signifies this house. The dresses are canvasses for an exploration of technique.

The surfaces of each garment are precious with decoration included plissé, embroideries of paillettes and beads, or strips of python. Frequently, pattern is keyed on top of pattern, the combinations forming a new type of design. Baroque motifs merge with animal markings, and tweeds are needle-punched with leopard, which also blends into tiger.

Other designs are cut-out and painstakingly appliquéd to recreate animal patterns in matelasse, while micro flower prints are coloured with an ombré effect. Three-dimensional effects are created with mixes of skins and embroideries, and coats are worked in fringe, fabric and fur, a luxurious melange of lush texture and materials.

Accessories and jewellery underline the collection’s key influences. The high-heeled evening shoes in leather and snakeskin, balanced on a slender heel, are embroidered with winding bands of chain, or veiled with metallic chain-mail fringes. An ode to the beauty of nature, the sensuality of woman and to craft, these clothes express the true heritage of Roberto Cavalli. The heart and soul of the house.

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