MILAN: British designer Paul Surridge debuted in Milan with his first collection for Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli, showing tight-fitting designs and animal prints that he said were an attempt to find a new type of sensuality.
The alumni of London’s Central Saint Martins college became Cavalli’s creative director in May, following the departure of Norwegian Peter Dundas after only three seasons.
“I am celebrating the woman’s body and I try to dig deep to find a new sensuality, which, I think, is missing on the general landscape,” he told Reuters at the end of the show.
Surridge said his collection incorporated the “authenticity” and “use and respect of materials” that Roberto Cavalli had shown when he was designing for the brand.
“With me, it’s not just about looking at the past but also looking at things right now and building a wardrobe that is contemporary… with a cocktail of elements,” he added.
Gian Giacomo Ferraris — the group’s chief executive — said Surridge was “embracing the future while respecting the past”.
Florence-based Cavalli was bought in 2015 by Italian private equity firm Clessidra and is undergoing a radical overhaul aimed at relaunching the brand, popular with celebrities.
To the sound of African beats in the middle of Parco Sempione — one of Milan’s largest parks — models wore tight, long dresses with ample cardigans draped over them, wide trouser pantsuits, and animal print ensembles.
Cavalli’s signature ‘animalier’ prints were simplified from past years, matched with dark tones of blue and brown. Lines were clean and less baroque than the rich collections of past years and flowed, showing off the models’ bodies.
Tiger prints appeared on suits, tops, and trenches. Plain black blazers were matched with animal prints and snakeskin vests.
Black dresses flowed, some with transparent inlays, other decorated with metal beaded tops.
The clothes were complemented with chunky ethnic bracelets, metal necklaces, big leather clutches, and flat slippers in horse hair in earthy tones.