Runway: Roberto Cavalli F/W 19
Paul Surridge’s appointment as the Creative Director of Roberto Cavalli was born from his desire to prove himself. After flexing his creative muscles at Jil Sander, Z Zegna and Acne Studios (brands revered for their affection for austerity), the designer wanted to establish that he was more than a mere minimalist. And where better to cultivate a new physical and social ethos than the Florentine house renown for its uniquely sumptuous wares - a far cry from the subtle conventions of his past. Challenge accepted.
While slowly rebooting Roberto Cavalli since his appointment in 2017, Surridge has delicately weaved the brand’s DNA with contemporary movements in an effort to recondition the brand for a new breed of luxury consumers. While paying homage to the sartorial heritage which built the brand’s reputation of tasteful vulgarity, Surridge has experimented with fashion’s more recent leanings in an attempt to meld the two worlds into one creative vision. An audit of his latest showing for A/W 2019 yields results which indicate Surridge has hit his stride.
As part of his exhibition, Surridge sent models down his runway wearing Cavalli’s trademark animal prints, abstracted by reenergized hues and patterns. This season’s collection was teeming with vibrant colors and masterful displays of tailoring which was equal parts elegant and ergonomic. Surridge concerted a balance between acknowledgement of house codes and modernity, offering a coed show which was enticing and imaginatively articulate. His menswear was dynamic, as models donned colorful outerwear and shirts complimented by obligatory nods to streetwear in the forms of puffers and parkas. Womenswear was equally robust, as models sported outfits which ranged from white tuxedo suits paired with embroidered blouses, to flowy gowns and knee high boots. Surridge did not spare the senses, sending both men and women down the catwalk in audacious jewelry and teal blazers to the upbeat tunes of musical polymath, Raithe Laurence. If Cavalli’s A/W 2019 was any indication the brand’s future, then it is sure to be every bit as bright as its runway.