Photography provided by Vogue Runway
WORDS Laurie Trueman
Peter Dundas is no stranger to extravagance. The SS17 Roberto Cavalli show in Milan was set amongst a patchwork background, the runway itself draped in a heavy carpeted collaged material and printed in traditional Cavalli colours: the hues of nature.
Cavalli is a label that is focused on love, the beauty of the woman and her ability to flourish in a dress. Dundas did not shy away from this and what the house does best, fabrics inspired by mother nature. Models emerged one by one, draped in bright patch work textiles - inspired by travel and native culture. As they confidently stomped along the runway in clothes that had an unmistakably 1970s undercurrent, the show became a statement. The evident seventies influence was the statement. It is an era that taught us: the louder, the better. It is an era that is great for reference due to its breadth of obvious stand out pieces – clogs, platforms, flares and fringe. All of these elements scream ‘anti-wallflower’.
Though Dundas has remained true to the emotion and passion at the heart of the Cavalli woman, Dundas has rightly let the movement of gender fluidity take its course. The merging of womenswear and menswear is no longer a notion that surprises the industry. It is now a norm and is particularly common with designers that present collections of great affluence and fluidity. As gender becomes a less constructed ideal designers are more free to put together collections that accurately represent their wider set of consumers. In a time where more women buy menswear and more men buy womenswear, Dundas has scoped out a new market for his take on the Roberto Cavalli brand.
For a house that is branded with flowers, nude shades and deep connotations to nature through floaty boho dresses, Cavalli has found a way to communicate with both sexes through the influence of eras. No one ever stated that 1970s platforms were made for women and retro flares were exclusively for men. This collection perhaps works so fluidly because the casting was spectacular in its diversity. The men with longer hair and sporting a range of ponchos, shawls and vests. The intricacy of each piece of clothing ensured each piece was meaningful. Bright oranges and blues guarantee a bright but confident consumer is attracted to the brand. Gender almost did not come into play. The show notes read “The mood of a pioneer.” A pioneer Dundas is. The traditional Italian label is leading the way in gender progression, along with its Italian counterpart Gucci and its something the industry should take note of.