It was as balmy as Miami in July at the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan tonight. Roberto Cavalli’s Fausto Puglisi dressed the space in jungly greenery, and being a man generous with his enthusiasms, he thoroughly transformed the place. People were fanning themselves and it wasn’t because the market had just crashed.
The collection that charged through all those palm fronds was just as exuberant. In a follow-on from last season, which was the first time Puglisi committed to Cavalli-esque levels of excess since signing on at the brand in 2020, these clothes were fully loaded—with feather prints, with feather embellishments, with denim embellishments in the shapes of feathers, and no small amount of exposed décolleté or bared midriff.
In silhouette and vibe, it was true to Cavalli’s hippie origins. Cher, Bianca Jagger, and the Italian actress Valentina Cortese were all on Puglisi’s moodboard backstage, looking confident and free. He reproduced Cher’s silvery white criss-cross bandeau top and bell bottoms in black, and Cortese’s signature head scarves, wrapped around the head and worn low over the eyebrows, accessorized some of the other looks. There was no white horse—Jagger famously hopped on one of those at Studio 54 in 1977 wearing a red off-the-shoulder number (Halston, probably)—but you got the feeling that if Puglisi could’ve made it happen, he would have.
Renewing a legacy label requires not just a keen appreciation for the past, but also an eye for the future. Puglisi should’ve focused more on the latter in this collection, especially in the first third of the show, much of which was shown in shades of pink and/or was trailing fringe or other surface embellishments. The most modern-looking piece was the closer, a black stretch lace dress embroidered with botanical motifs and dotted with crystals, and featuring a lace-up plunge-front neckline; it was sexy in correct Cavalli fashion, but without any superfluous extras.