Roberto Cavalli RTW Spring 2019

A few weeks ago in an interview with WWD, an American designer recalled how he once told Joan Rivers that all the New York designers met in the basement of Bergdorf Goodman before fashion week to decide what the trends would be. He was joking, of course, but one wonders if there wasn’t some sort of secret confab of Italian designers this season wherein they all decided: biker shorts!

If so, Paul Surridge was in on it. Biker shorts in a range of embellishments and inseams were all over his spring collection for Cavalli, even anchoring some of the lineup’s best looks — ruffled tunic tops cut out just above the hip over the sporty shorts and glamour trainers. The lineup was about more than tight, stretchy shorts: Surridge cited a trip to North Africa and his desire to make the clothes younger, designed with “physicality” in mind, and the biker shorts served to hammer the latter two points home. Those who wither at the ubiquity of yoga pants, brace yourselves.

A desert palette colored the collection in shades of rust, terracotta, sky blue, yellow and red. There was animalia, vaguely tribal prints, rustic weaves and embroideries. Also a surplus of jersey. Hemlines were short and offset to some degree by long shirts and tailored jackets nicely derived from Surridge’s men’s wear background. The sex factor for which the house is known was fully intact, here with a playful sportiness that felt welcome. In that respect, Surridge is steering the house in a new direction. A few more seasons are needed to see if it’s the right one.

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