At first glance, the spring Just Cavalli show was an exercise in sultry familiarity — smoky-eyed models in low-rise skinny pants and sheer georgette blouses, loaded with animal prints, feathers and leather jackets. But if you looked beyond bohemian rock ’n’ roll styling — wind machines and all —there was a valuable lesson to be learned: Never underestimate the importance of a license.

In the interim between fall and spring, the Just Cavalli license changed hands from Ittierre SpA, with which Cavalli had long openly expressed his dissatisfaction, to Staff International. And the difference between this season’s collection and last was remarkable. Fabrics, execution and the production value in general far exceeded that of Just Cavalli collections in recent memory.

Billed as a relaunch, the lineup reestablished the Just Cavalli mission — clothes for the younger and sweeter but just as sexy version of his collection customer — while setting the bar for the 10-year partnership with Staff. It hit the mark with girly denim minidresses, cropped leather jackets, filmy cutaway dresses done in a dreamy butterfly print and a million other styles that showcased great leatherwork and hardware details. It wasn’t a new ethos for Cavalli, but it had a fresh and improved attitude.

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