Feast of flesh as Cavalli economises on fabric

Celebrities looking to grab the limelight on the red carpet can breathe a sigh of relief. After a few seasons of covered-up, romantic collections, Roberto Cavalli has returned to the "molto sexy" look for which he is best known, albeit with a lighter touch and no animal print. Perhaps the credit crisis has forced him to use less fabric, or maybe the designer could no longer repress his unofficial motto that if you've got it – and maybe even if you haven't – flaunt it.

Clothes to flash the flesh came in the form of lace trousers, micro dresses, backless gowns and sheer fabrics. Cavalli described his mainline collection as "sexual but also light and sophisticated, for a woman who speaks with her eyes". Body language would also be an option, as the tiniest of dresses came with fitted bustier tops and skirts with stiff ruffles or mini pleats. Patterns included delicate florals, and bolder pink flowers. Acid green appeared on a kaftan.

A less flirtatious, quirky femininity prevailed at the Marni show, a celebration of colour. The label combines wildly different fabrics, shades and prints in an irresistibly uplifting way. For spring/summer there was a pop art feel, confirmed by T-shirts featuring images by Peter Blake. Large polkadots in blue and red on white covered straight, knee-length skirts and shell tops, over which were worn sheer, forest green organza jackets. Slim shifts from cut-out circles of fabric and decorated with sequins were appealing, although a black circle-motif dress with a peplum felt like a Prada derivative. Other shapes included a strapless trapeze dress in flower printed purple silk, cropped trousers and tabard tops.

Last season's bold necklaces will hang around fashionable necks for summer 2009, appearing at Emporio Armani, Burberry and Marni. The latter's giant necklaces of horn-shaped flowers, resembling the work of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, are likely to be a hit.

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