Roberto Cavalli Pre Fall 2012 Collection

When you hear Roberto Cavalli‘s name, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t always “masterful tailoring” or “innovative construction.” He’s always had his place among the legendary figures in fashion but, let’s be honest, he sometimes dares you to wear some of the clothes on the runway. Cavalli onstage is baroque chic at its most luxurious and most extreme. What happens, though, when he turns down the volume? Well, Pre-fall 2012.

This collection was sublime, and made me see Cavalli and his talented team in a whole new light. Working in an austere palette, by Cavalli’s standards, you could see the clothes for what they were: desirable, impeccably well-made, alluring, and smart. From evening wear to accessories (I lived for the studded bags and the S&M elbow-length leather gloves) Cavalli nailed it.

What I loved most was how fluid the prints moved from being completely abstract to very literal natural references. My favorites were the leopard brushed pony hair varsity jacket (look 25), and the kaleidoscopic python and cheetah prints used throughout the collection. All the classic Cavallisms were there, but paired down and intelligently proportioned to making the clothes fresh and relevant.