Nowhere quite encapsulates Cavalli like Miami, and it was all there in luxuriant floral motifs and alligator prints, tight tops, voluminous bottoms and soft, unpadded shoulders.
Parked at the root of the runway, Roberto Cavalli’s 1970 Ferrari Daytona left little doubt as to the personal nature of his spring/summer 15 collection. It’s the designer’s second season back on the Milan men’s show schedule, and the second season since he appointed Martyn Bal – formerly of Dior Homme, Versace, and Margiela – to oversee his menswear. Whatever it is, there seems to be a chemistry between the old Italian playboy and the young Dutch rock’n’roller, which shouldn’t really work on paper but completely works on the runway. At 73, Cavalli is feeling nostalgic and Bal is channelling his amazing legacy into a respectful modernisation of the aesthetic of the house he founded in 72.
“Every time I open my garage and I see my Daytona it reminds me, well, not of Miami, which is the inspiration for this collection, but of Saint-Tropez,” Cavalli told i-D, leaning against his Ferrari before the show. It was in Saint-Tropez that the designer opened his first store in the early 70s, and where he first let his hair down and sealed his classic playboy reputation. Applying the idea of Cavalli’s youth to a Miami setting was a clever move, not just because Don Johnson drove an identical Daytona in Miami Vice, but because the subtropical but still American character of Miami took out any possible clichés and gave way to a collection that looked intrinsically Roberto Cavalli but entirely fresh and modern.
Cavalli recently opened a club in Miami and as he pointed out, few places in the world sum up his universe quite like the Floridian city. “The beaches, the colours, the palms, the red sky…” It was all there in luxuriant floral motifs and alligator prints hinting at the wildlife of the Sunshine State, but fused with a 70s silhouette of tight tops and voluminous bottoms – and soft, unpadded shoulders in tailoring featured throughout – the Cavalli prints took on a young, urban attitude, which elevated the house to a new category of desirability, or perhaps a new clientele altogether. It was everything Cavalli should be and more, and we can all learn something from Roberto. “I wish to enjoy myself while I’m working,” he said, “but for many people life is very boring. You need to go to Miami!”