Sep 27, 2010
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Cavalli marks 40 years in fashion with gala Milan show

Sep 27, 2010

MILAN, Italy, Sept 27, 2010 (AFP) - Italian fashion icon Roberto Cavalli on Monday celebrated 40 years in the business -- and 70 years on the planet -- with a gala event to unveil his spring/summer 2011 collection.

Cavalli turns 70 in November. Photo : AFP

A massive showroom built for the occasion stretched from Milan's Arco della Pace, the monument visible from the catwalk through a clear plastic roof.

At the other end, giant stylised green palm trees suggested Hollywood glam to go with a front row loaded with Italian celebrities.

Cavalli clearly had his career beginnings in mind with the Seventies-look creations worn by models coiffed a la Ali McGraw -- long, straight and reaching to the waist.

Minimal tops and short jackets teamed with billowing low-slung skirts or hip-hugging bell bottoms for a longer silhouette, made busy with an abundance of fringes hanging from sleeves, handbags or down the front from tiny bustiers, some in graduated hues.

Colours -- beige, faded green, lilac -- took a back seat to designs that celebrated bare flesh, in backless tops, open-work panels down the leg or spiraling round a torso, in crocheted creations leaving unused string for yet more fringes, and in styles with the midriff as focal point.

For evening, the fringes disappeared to be replaced by strass and gold leaf appliques while the peekaboo effect persisted with the use of strategically placed sheer panels.

The perma-tanned Cavalli, who turns 70 on November 15, greeted the front-row glitterati ahead of the show, then took a bow with his second wife and business partner Eva Dueringer at the end.

The flamboyant Florentine who says he sees himself as a fashion "artist", not designer, got his start by inventing a procedure for printing on leather.

Today Cavalli clothes, as well as spinoffs including eyewear, watches and perfumes, are sold in more than 50 countries.

Earlier Monday, the Dsquared2 twins introduced bobby socks to evening wear and revived classic masculine dress for women in an "anything goes" mood that was also reminiscent of the 1970s.

A perfectly tailored men's suit in slate grey with pants just a bit too big, slung low, encouraged what Canadians Dean and Dan Caten called the "tomboy slouch".

Roomy khakis also hung low, and jeans were cuffed to a high-water mark to showcase the basic brown leather lace-up shoes and white socks that were the show's predominant footwear.

Also reminding onlookers that they are not sex objects, the models wore over-sized glasses, even as "Come On Baby Light My Fire" pulsated around them.

Who knows whether the tomboy look will make a comeback just yet, but even if it doesn't, these masculine clothes are made to last till the next go-round.

Careful tailoring was evident in the suits, as well as a white trench with tall cuffs and a double-breasted blue blazer that was worn with the sleeves pushed up to squeeze the brass buttons together.

Giorgio Armani was to present his collection later Monday, the last major show of Milan Fashion Week.

By Gina Doggett

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