Cavalli is the surprise hit at Pitti Uomo

A leopard can't change its spots. Nor should it have to. That is precisely the takeaway from Roberto Cavalli's SS19 men's presentation, who, in addition to showing lynx, tiger and zebra, kept the brand's animalia prints flourishing, reversing them inside jackets and coats and softening shirts and outerwear with muted tonal iterations.

This was Paul Surridge's first men's only show, and the backdrop of the fourteenth century monastery Certosa di Firenze on a hilltop overlooking Florence - Cavalli's hometown - gave it a confidence boost. Taking a brand from fashion's realm of obscurity to relevance in just a few seasons is no mean feat, and Surridge proved Cavalli can be both wearable and covetable.

Surridge, who was appointed Creative Director in May 2017, has been tasked with bringing a new urban and dynamic energy to the House, changing the once gaudy perception to something, well, a little more chic. When we think of Cavalli, we don't necessarily think of craft or refinement, we think of ultra glamour, sex appeal, and tanned folks on yachts in skintight clothes.

A reboot of menswear staples, Cavalli style

As for SS19, there were plenty of classic menswear staples: chinos, shorts, parkas, trench coats and suits all reworked in a modern day Cavalli language. There were the familiar flavours of shiny testosterone: “I grew up in the ’90s so it’s a little bit Loaded," Surridge stated backstage, referring to the original lad's magazine that was a publishing phenomenon in the 90s. “This was a reload and a reboot; high octane, glamorous and high energy.”

Quite a coup was Apple CEO Tim Cook on the front row, not normally a face spotted during fashion week, and certainly not at a Cavalli show. Perhaps the connection is Angela Ahrends, SVP of Apple Retail, and formerly Surridge's boss at Burberry.

Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of the Roberto Cavalli Group, has publicly given high praise to Surridge for his role in the company's turnaround to profitability: “To me, it confirms that our roadmap is correct and that we have the right creative direction and management team. We are particularly excited by the results of the recent selling campaign that followed the FW18 fashion show. We are also back in some of the best concept and department stores which bought Roberto Cavalli again after only two shows by Paul Surridge," Ferraris stated.

As we said, a leopard doesn't need to change its spots.

Photo credit Roberto Cavalli website


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