We've been here before: waiting for the grand reveal of the new Roberto Cavalli designer and their take on what is a stalwart name in Italian fashion. It was Peter Dundas that had the task back then; it's Paul Surridge now – and his is a name that doesn't ring all that many memory bells in the brain. He's not a name name in the sense that so many designer moves have been. He has credentials, of course – a background in menswear mostly from time at Burberry and Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Zegna. He comes from the all-important Central Saint Martins. That's a good start. But is taking on Cavalli – who struggled even with Dundas, a promising horse to back for the position – a poisoned chalice?
Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
For Dundas seemed to tap into that retro rock 'n' roll spirit and had that brash glamour thing going on from his days at Emilio Pucci. But it didn't work out. And so in steps Surridge. And hype around a brand that last season opted for a buyers-only appointment schedule.
So, let's get to the point. Was it good or bad or a bit of both? It was a refreshing reboot that took the parts of Cavalli it needed and added a sports-luxe and slick sophistication. So there was less brash but enough splash of beads and sparkle and animal print, with tiger incarnating full suits and some waistcoats – which were an odd addition to the mix.
The first look was a good insight into a more streamlined aesthetic, black and not fussy. The fuss factor increased accordingly throughout the collection though silhouettes largely remained sculpted and minimal – the latter attribute of which makes sense given that Surridge comes from a menswear background, read practical.
Inserts pointed to signature Cavalli sass which meant there was enough to keep loyal customers returning while a cleaner take overall will raise a point of interest for a new customer, which obviously was, in part, the point.