Friday 22nd September

| BY Jack Moss

Roberto Cavalli: Ready-to-Wear SS18

New Milanese arrival: Paul Surridge. And what did he do to take on the venerable house of Robert Cavalli this afternoon? He took the roof off it. Well, not entirely – he actually just took the walls off it, presenting it in a shiny white pavilion that opened it up to the surrounding gardens, and gave it some fresh air. Clever move – no-one wants a row of sweaty critics for outing number one, but metaphorical too – a ceremonial airing out of the house’s heavy archives. Because what do you think of when you think of Cavalli? It probably goes along the lines of: print, sex, Euro, sequins, fabulous. All well and good, but Surridge set forth the question: is that what the modern Cavalli woman actually wants to wear? No, he decided. So this was an exercise in paring it all back, airing out. Which meant there was a cleanness to it – razor-sharp tailoring sat next to simple shirts that sat loose on the body, worn with matching trousers, whilst super-light knits added flashes of precise block-colour. But the spirit of Roberto remained (and his physical form, too – he was sat front row) emerging through the slashes of coloured animal print, a Moroccan influence (here, the pixie-like flats) and a smattering of glam, body-bearing gowns. Some of those plunged cleanly down the chest and into a sporty racer back, others were entirely sheer, the model’s modesty retained through curves of handily placed opaque fabric. It was sexy, but felt modern. It was all brought together by this sense of fluidity – as if it was all going to slip off at a moments notice (handy for the Cavalli girl, we presume) – cardigans slinked down the model’s backs, twisted crepe tops revealed the shoulder and chest. It’s always a tough balance between past and future, but Surridge seems to be staking his claim, and taking the house down a welcome new road. So far, so good.