Backstage before the show, Roberto Cavalli cited the large tropical fish tank he keeps at home as an inspiration. Rather than go for an over-the-top, va-va-voom mermaid look, the designer pared things down considerably at Just Cavalli with well-executed clothes that incorporated patterns and surface details with a more subtle hand than in past seasons. These included an oversize, sequined white T-shirt with a studded pleated skirt, and a tailored jacket in an appealing Mediterranean motif with matching skirt.

There were still plenty of sexier looks in the lineup — skintight pants in his signature jaguar print mixed with florals — but they never seemed overtly flashy.

What the collection perhaps lacked in energy was made up for with some real clothes — and that’s a good thing. Even a class act like Ariel might check them out next spring.

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