Judging the Judges: Roberto Cavalli Fall 2008 Collection

Thursday, April 10, 2008 by
Darlings, it's time for us to give our opinions on the Fall 2008 collection of Chris March's favorite designer, Roberto Cavalli. Style.com had this to say:

"Cavalli opened and closed with fifties fit-and-flare dresses, bare at the shoulders. For day they came in white, embroidered with pastel wisteria and mimosa blossoms; after dark they were accessorized with rhinestone tiaras like those you'd see at a high-school prom or a debutante ball. In between, he went to Peru, knitting up colorful homespun sweaters, printing black cashmere jackets with vibrant roses, and embroidering both a sweet pinafore dress and a sexy bustier with paillettes in floral shapes. Black sequins at the necklines of chiffon intarsia tank dresses protected the models' modesty coming, but going was an altogether different story.

The show didn't hold together quite like Spring had—and then there was the caveat that, despite a few, almost craftsy patchworked furs, it didn't feel like a Fall collection. Not that the Cavalli faithful will much mind. They have the financial wherewithal to winter somewhere warm, and, once there, a black broderie anglaise dress—the show's loveliest look—will suit them just fine."

We're with them on the "not feeling like a Fall collection" thing. Oh sure, the days of strictly sticking to autumnal colors are gone (for now), but the pastel florals seem to be leaning too far in the other direction. We'll always applaud a designer willing to plunge up to their elbows in prints, so he definitely gets marks for that. We also like the Peruvian inspiration, but it's a little too Machu Picchu for us. The silhouettes are pretty, if a little basic. We just don't love the color choices for the most part. Not because they're not the expected harvest colors, but because some of them are too over-saturated. And while we're not hardcore "fur is murder" anti-animal skin advocates, we have to say that the use of it in this collection was off-putting. More of a "slap some fur on it" aesthetic than anything else. The effect is a little gross.

[Photos: Lexposure.net/Getty Images]


TheNYCourier said...

I couldn't agree more with you guys (again). Cavalli has never been one of my favorite designers, in fact, I find him overrated, and this collection really speaks up to that. For a man who was so concerned with Rami's (ugly) outfit to be too "normal" he certainly had an interesting take on "avant-garde".

And that fur is disgusting on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

I love you, TLo, for bringing this stuff to us fashion learners.

Glancing over the pieces all together, I like, especially the daywear. Oh yes, I like the fit & flair, and I like looking at the girly print dresses.

However, there is fug. I'm going to skip the fur, because politically I can't be fair.

Like the Peruvian-influenced pieces, but then he has the leopard dress, which is bringing the nausea.

The corsages on the evening dresses are amateur hour, and that is one ugly shade of yellow for an evening dress.

Those anklettey-meshy-shoes? Spare me! Although we've all seen uglier shoes, so maybe we're lucky.

Can I put my pitch here for Musical Monday, featuring Top Hat? pleasepleasepleaseplease

moo said...

(WHAT is with those boots? NO NO NO.)

I liked the second look, but not for fall. I also have to say that the black dress with the red flowers running along the bottom border is my fav. I covet, for it is pleasing to my eye and similar to my style.

The rest of it looks like a peasant from 200 years ago ate some wildlife and then puked it up all over herself. While. Wearing. Ankle. Boots.

Anonymous said...


Some of that is some major fug!

It looks like a spring collection, minus the horrible fur.

And some of those Technicolor nightmares look like kid's clothes

The booties are also....yech. But some of them would be nice with skinny jeans.

Jenster said...

Some of the pieces are pretty, but half of it does resemble a spring line. Also, I didn't like way he used those jewel tones in the long coat -- There were so many colors thrown together my eyeballs got tired looking at them.

FashionFanatic said...

"TheNYCourier said...

I couldn't agree more with you guys (again). Cavalli has never been one of my favorite designers, in fact, I find him overrated, and this collection really speaks up to that."

I second that. He's all over the place with this collection.

Anonymous said...

2/3 of it seems to belong to one collection and the other 1/3 to another, but I like most of itand love some of it. I thought the Peruvian inspiration was fantastic. I loved how he blended facets of that aesthetic with more classic and high fashion silhouettes.

Hated almost all of the ankle boots, though, and I'm really ready for real fur to be done with for the non-Inuits of the world.

In the end, though, I thank the fashion gods for the prints and embroidered patterning. I'm sick to death of solids.

Anonymous said...

NOPE...never liked Cavalli and now I remember why!! Most of those "creations" look like they should be draped over my grandmother's piano.
And what was with the WHITE clodhoppers with the black lace gown and that awful looking brown and black sweater vesty looking thing with a white eyelet lace dress?? And the fur "remnants" were distasteful.
Excuse me while I grab an Alka Seltzer.

Brooklyn Bomber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooklyn Bomber said...

Peru? Where does the Style.com writer think Peru is -- somewhere between the Balkans & Bavaria?

I like the little sweater vest (the only thing that looks even vaguely Ande-an). Hate booties, even--if not especially--ones prettied up with posies. Like the bright colors. I just don't know what to make of the big funereal black dress or garden party dresses with odd bodices.

Anonymous said...

This "collection" is all over the place! No cohesiveness or continuity. That said, there are 5 pieces I really love. The rest fall between sweet and pretty, meh, and what was he thinking!

My favorites:

#3 -(black pantsuit with white/black trimmed top) Love the unconstructed jacket, pants with pockets that actually look flattering, and the whole effect with the style of the top underneath. I wonder if I would like it as much w/o the jacket. I think it would also look good on a wide range of sizes.
#11 -(jewel-tone cabbage roses, black, fur trimmed dress) I freaking love this, but I'm betting a lot of you don't. The lines are beautiful, the length is perfect, the colors/style make for a garment that will turn every head in the room. I wonder if that fur can be duplicated in faux. Stunning!
#18 -(sleeveless draped long dress, more jewel tones) Beautiful fabric. Reminds me of Uli, but I bet I would like what she would create with it better.
#26 -(black chiffon, lacey, sleeveless, high-necked dress) A lovely, lovely dress. Would like to have seen Audrey Hepburn in it!
#27 -(ivory corseted ruffled dress) My favorite of the sweet, pretty, more spring-like dresses, looks prom or bridal to me)


Anonymous said...

moo said:
I also have to say that the black dress with the red flowers running along the bottom border is my fav.

I agree. I meant to add that to my list too. It's different and very charming.


Anonymous said...

It is sort of all over the map, isn't it?

But, the Peru daywear is charming.

Above all else, I love the "new" hemlength.

-- desertwind

Anonymous said...

The collection is OK but the shoes are hideous.

Anonymous said...

No wonder he thought Chris could do haute-couture. I'm underwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

PS - re fur and the icky way it looks here.

It's all about the luxe-end marketplace, which now depends on its base of New Wealth Russian/Eastern European & Chinese & Middle Eastern customers who expects ostentation and will pay dearly for it.

-- d'wind

Crow Winters said...

Before he was a guest judge on the show, I best knew him for Uli claiming he was her favorite designer in S3.

Milla said...

I am not a huge Cavalli fan, but I own a couple of his things and I like the man because he actually throws us an occassional bone and makes a few things up to size IT 52(US 16/18).
I am loving right now that Krizia has a plus line :-)
But in this one I like the black broderie anglaise dress ( I did one that I told you about a year and chunk ago, similar silhouette for my apparel construction class) and the embroidered Peruvian coat.
There is a Mexican designer called Armando Mafud that has been putting out stuff like that for years...

Anonymous said...

brief off-topic

to the nycourier-
I went to your blog but couldn't comment because I'm anonymous. Good posts.


Zoë Malachi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zoë Malachi said...

i can definitely see the influence on uli, esp. the floor-length number with the crazy colors & mixed prints (which I actually like). i can hear uli now, “she lives in miami, on the beach, and she goes to a lot of parties…”

my major beef with this collection is the fit on a lot of the garments. would it kill him to cinch in some of those waists? or to supply a flattering bodice? (i’m looking at you, canary yellow castoff from the wardrobe dept of the movie carrie…)


TheNYCourier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheNYCourier said...


Thanks a lot.

I didn't realize anonymous users can't comment; i fixed that.

Ms Sangrail said...

Signor Cavalli,

Non mi piace questa collezione.

There. I said it.

Anonymous said...

Um, I love love 50's style fit and flare dresses = my aesthetic, that said, some of those dresses didn't fit in the bodice did they? and there was some serious fug going on. That all black dress? That's what comes to mind when I read the phrase "widow's weeds". An unpretty prhrase to match an unpretty dress.

Anonymous said...

I like the fur. It makes the models look like they have a little meat on their bones. So of those girls need to eat! Something! Anything!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the fugly bodice fitting. I think it's proof that some styles of dresses just have to be worn by women with a little bit more of boob. LOL. That said, why can't so many designers see this? I'd love to see more curvy women as models (like Heidi), and I'm not talking about plus sizes. I have a beef about their models too, but that's for another time! The springlike, 50's style dresses would have been so much prettier on the right models.

anon 4:14 if you were talking about the long-sleeved black dress, ITA. The other one, which milla referred to as the black broderie anglaise dress, (thanks milla, for a new term to me), seems sophisticated and not at all "widow-like."


Anonymous said...

I really liked it! The first word that came to mind was J'ADORE!

Although, I didn't look at it as a collection and ignored the fur.

I love love love the fit/flare look! Must find in a normal person price point.

Gorgeous Things said...

The only piece I really love is the aqua gown. I love that one! Other than that, it's a nice collection, but nothing really rocks my boat.

PhantomMinuet said...

It doesn't look like a collection. It looks like two halves of two different collections. Me, I love the bold colors. Love 'em. The fur? I'm okay with the fur. The silhouettes? They're all right, I guess. A couple of them make the models look ginormous, though.

The pastels I hate. But then, I usually hate pastels.

Anonymous said...

I just bought some workout pants and a t shirt at Target that are more attractive than that stuff. One or two nice looks and a whole lotta dreck.


Anonymous said...

I am a woman--I like the collection and I looove the boots

Ann said...

Love the Peruvian fabrics. Too bad he didn't do anything remotely flattering with them. I couldn't help but wonder what Uli could have made with them instead!

Anonymous said...

Some prints can be beautiful. These are the other ones.

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting collection but definitely not my style. Honestly, I never liked his clothes.

Anonymous said...

Talk about a VERY incohesive collection. I'm sorry, Cavalli, but you're out. Auf Wiedersehen!!

Anonymous said...

Cavalli is famed for his glamorous and dramatic evening wear and animal prints. I just don't see it here. Meh.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

I am a woman--I like the collection and I looove the boots"

I am a woman too. What does that mean??

Rainwood said...

I liked most of the prints but not what he did with them. The wisteria dresses are quite pretty and, for some completely inexplicable reason, I'm drawn to the closeup of those wisteria ankle boots even though I didn't like them with the dress. And, as always, I hate the fur.

If it's true that hemlines go down with the economy, we're headed into the bidet, if not the toilet, because those are some looong silhouettes.

Kristin said...

I have to say that overall I like the "collection"!

It's not cohesive but apparently that's ok for established designers. I don't love everything - the white dress with vertical and horizontal stripes for example.

Love the colors and my favorite is the long aqua gown, but the model doesn't look good in it.

Anonymous said...

I also loved the black dress with the red flowers at the bottom. The hemlines were very flattering.

The 50's silhouettes spoke to me more than some of the other things, but I like the "Uli" dress and the Peruvian knits.

Boots- yuck!
fur mash ups- yuck!

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn bomber... those skirts are totally reminiscent of the typical peruvian dresses worn in the highlands (all across the Andes), sorry... bavarian style is not really the same. Google it.

I loved is black and green design, with that cute skirt showing up.

GothamTomato said...

Although it's very 'ladies who lunch', it IS nice to see a handbag that doesn't look like it's meant to be luggage for a two-week trip to the Outback.

That's a step forward.


Anonymous said...

My problem with the Peruvian prints (aside from the fact that they looked like they were bought by a gullible tourist family from the '80s) is that they make the models appear very blocky. And it's clear from the 1950s Wisteria dresses that those women are anything but. The fabric looks stiff and I'd hate to have to sit in those outfits for any period of time. The layered outfits look like they'd be eternally ruching up.


Anonymous said...

Well he hit every part of the spectrum for me.

Some of it I wish I was a woman so I could wear it. Some of it I can appreciate for how pretty it is. Some makes me want to claw my eyes out. See the fur pieces.

My favorites? The second dress in the mint green florals and the black piece that has the see through parts and the roses on the skirt.

I'm not even going to judge it as a whole because it hit everywhere for me. Like some a lot. Hate some a lot.

Isabel said...

My mom is from Peru and I wouldn't wear the Andes stuff, even though it's mixed in with the great material.

Anonymous said...

I really like the clothes - I love the saturated colors!! I hate fur, so that turned me off, but the rest of it was beautiful and alive!!

Anonymous said...

That stuff is bad, and some of it looks poorly made.

Save_The_Hobbit said...


Sorry....anti-fur person here.

Anonymous said...

He's tacky as hell.

Anonymous said...

Love the black lace dress and the black and white one with lacy stripes. I would recklessly wear either to a Prince concert.

I would also recklessly wear the white/blue/lavender/green floral dress with the matching boots to church. Under a purple jacket. With a smug smirk. (Assuming I could get down the main aisle without killing myself.)

The coats look like Louis XIV meets the Abominable Snowman.

Rule One: wear the clothes; don't let the clothes wear you.