Peter Dundas started his second lap at Roberto Cavalli — this time in the driver's seat — with a smart and audacious move: to bring the brand of exquisite leather and wafting chiffon into denim country.
But not just singing the blues. Instead Dundas picked pink — a hot shade for the designer's youthful and sensual body language — especially when teamed with stretch leggings where splodges of colour suggested an artist at work.
"Freedom!", announced Dundas backstage about his denim delights. He might have been referring also to big light skirts that opened at the front as if in a breeze, and made the collection seem an invitation to a sunshine world.
This was a good thing, because in his former role as creative director at Pucci, the designer had tended to keep his sexy looks more for night than for the daylight hours.
A number of designers in these takeover roles are following the same pattern: out with the old and in with the new. Being too respectful is dull; but a clean sweep confuses brand loyalists.
For that brand definition, I would give Dundas around 50 per cent.
Roberto Cavalli's heritage includes prints, and the new designer played with the impression of a cloudy sky, rock-the-baroque patterns and roaring lion heads. So wild, so good.
But what I read afterwards in the show notes about the mythological Pegasus recurring throughout the collection had escaped my eyes - surprising, because the long, open-air catwalk left space and light for viewing.
No runway does justice to the craftwork that is the glory of Italian hands. Dundas called fabric treatments like washed velvet and tie-dyed taffeta a "fresh language of luxury". And even without touching, I could see the softness of suede and the density of pattern on the feather-light fabrics.
Yet, however intriguing the choice of material and its breezy use, the ultimate Wow Factor was missing. Perhaps it is unreasonable to imagine that a designer's first show for an established brand can reach the summit.
Yet the new Cavalli had a promising beginning with the denim focus, which in the way it looked and in Dundas's attitude, was an OK start.