Roberto Cavalli F/W 2016

Napoleonic Teenage Wasteland

If they ever cast Keith Richards to play in a movie where Hugh Hefner dreamt that he was secretly Napoleon Bonaparte, then last night’s Roberto Cavalli collection had every costume you might need.

“Casual couture for guys,” smiled Peter Dundas, after his debut show for Roberto Cavalli and the opening show of the Milan menswear fall 2016 season. Staged in the beautiful Palazzo Crespi, the show also marked the first full men’s collection that Dundas has designed in his busy career.

The rock gods that this Norwegian reveres abundantly inspired the collection – from Richards to Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page. With The Who blasting out of a schizophrenic soundtrack by Frederic Sanchez that mashed up opera classics, the models marched around the stupendous palazzo. It was built in the first years of the 19th century, barely completed when Napoleon was crowned King of Italy in the nearby Duomo cathedral on May 25, 1805. Primed with prosecco, a tight gang of editors and young rockers were perched on velvet armchairs as models sauntered before gilded mirrors and two immense and beautiful paintings by Canaletto, no less.

The collection was quite a mash up too, but none the worse for that. Dundas opened with all sorts of dramatic combinations in outfits that featured flared pants; shiny lizard blousons with each pelt cut at an angle; grandfather skinny ribbed tank tops and reptile skinned sneakers.

This is true Cavalli reptile style Roberto Cavalli
This is true Cavalli reptile style

He riffed on the Cavalli’s signature animal prints with a couple of great dyed leopard coats and cheetah cabans; and then changed gear with several great fur collar Chesterfields that looked ideal for the cold snap that just hit Milano.

Leopard coat meets Pajama Roberto Cavalli
Leopard coat meets Pajama

Dundas also put the famed Florentine atelier of Cavalli through their paces with wonderfully finished baroque appliques of golden fireflies and horses done on see-through crepe shirts, denim rock god jackets and classic khaki green military jackets.

Beautiful embroidery Roberto Cavalli
Beautiful embroidery

For evening, the designer diced it up with a Playboy Mansion moment, a series of crazy silk pajama looks that Dundas insisted “must never be worn in bed!” Which is where we had our vision of Hefner meeting Bonaparte at a rip roaring baroque after party. Not the worse dream to have, you’ll agree.