Fausto Puglisi was in a desert state of mind when he designed his fall 2023 collection for Roberto Cavalli. In 2022, he travelled through the American Southwest and now, in a more-is-more collection shown at Milan’s Stock Exchange, he laid bare memories of that trip in an uber-Cavalli fashion.
Certain women coloured Puglisi’s distinct vision of what to wear in the dust and heat. Kate Moss, Georgia O’Keeffe and Millicent Rogers all made it onto his mood board, enlivening the women in his clothes with a creative spirit as they paraded through a desert dream. Appearances made by today’s supers, including Mariacarla Boscono, Adut Akech and Abbey Lee Kershaw didn’t hurt either, instead helping to dial up the fantasy feel.
For the desert, Puglisi prescribed the following: leopard-print bodysuits, faux furs, cowboy leather jackets, distressed denim (slashed in parts, dyed and ripped in others or fashioned into corsets) and patchwork leather bell bottoms. In other words, he delivered dose after dose of just the right amount of drama. Lest he forget about eveningwear come night-time in the desert, Puglisi put forward sheer lace long-sleeve dresses with asymmetrical hemlines and a series of gowns for good measure, held together with a central jewel bisecting the body to highlight the waist and décolletage.
Simply put, the collection radiated energy and nostalgia. Puglisi chose to celebrate the latter by highlighting the billowing silhouettes and prints Cavalli is known for; he rendered the house’s quintessential leopard print in shocking pink and lined flared sleeves and pants in fringe, velvet and faux fur trims to incite extra attention.
If his travels inspired a festive mood, nothing was lost in translation. Each piece of clothing wasn’t only visibly Cavalli under Puglisi’s direction, it was a conversation piece in its own right—and isn’t that precisely what successful designers aspire to do?