Peter Dundas underlines brand's ease in Cavalli debut

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

MILAN (AP) — The fourth day of Milan Fashion Week belonged to ex-Pucci designer Peter Dundas, who made his celebrated debut as creative director for Roberto Cavalli.

But he wasn't the only one getting his day in the sun: Young designer Daizy Shely made her Milan runway debut Saturday, showing her womenswear collection for next spring and summer in Giorgio Armani's theater.

The focus of the day was on youth, freedom and renewal. Here are some highlights from Saturday's shows in Milan:



Peter Dundas sought to underline a sense of ease and freedom in his much-celebrated debut collection for Roberto Cavalli.

Dundas had the delicate task of reviving a brand that was widely viewed as past its prime and paying due homage to the brand's founder, who hand-picked Dundas and remains an important stakeholder in the fashion house bearing his name.

"I wanted to accentuate the ease and the freedom that the brand represents to me," Dundas told the Associated Press backstage.

A 1980s vibe grounded the collection and kept it close to the Cavalli roots: denim, rock 'n' roll sequin jackets and billowing chiffon skirt trains, with just a splash of animal print for old-time's sake.

Dundas put a fresh emphasis on daywear, staying away from more glammed-up evening wear that the designer says seems less youthful than the looks he was after. Also for night, a long suede dress hugged the curves, where it was fastened by skin-revealing buckles.

Denim was central to the debut collection. The high-waisted washed-out jeans and matching cropped jacket — immediately recognizable to anyone who lived through the '80s — was a bold move. There also were tough-looking stonewashed denim biker jacket vests and a pretty-in-pink belted denim mini-dress. Shoes included sweet suede booties with bows or double-buckles.

In a twist, sequins and fringe were deployed on day, not eveningwear, worn with a silvery zebra-striped pant. Long chiffon open-front dresses, fastened with big bows over mini-skirts, were meant for the night. The billowing chiffon train was vintage Cavalli.



Daizy Shely finished on top in a Vogue Italia young designer contest last year and her colorful fashion has been chosen to dress "Scream Queens" stars Emma Roberts and Lea Michele.

Despite her accomplishments, 30-year-old Shely was taken aback when she got the call six weeks ago that Giorgio Armani had selected her to make her Milan runway debut in his theater, one of a series the designer has hosted to promote up-and-coming talent.

"It is beyond every kind of a dream," the Israeli-born, Italy-based designer said backstage. She had a collection ready for Milan Fashion Week, but thought it would be a presentation with a look-book, not an all-out runway production.

"I had a very short time to organize myself. But usually I make my collection ready to go on the catwalk, so it was not so difficult," she said.

Aerial photos inspired Shely's ideas for shapes — and the colorful results are for a woman confident in expressing a strong fashion point-of-view. The looks ranged from a long-tiered gingham and eyelet skirt paired with an Oxford shirt, to a feathery mini-dress created from hundreds of fabric strips, to form-fitting asymmetrical pencil skirts with cascading ruffles.

"The effect was a little bit a California girl — very, very colorful, very fresh," she said.



Tomas Maier's long dresses for Bottega Veneta next spring and summer catch the wind like sails, kept in place by climbing rope laced through grommets. It's a collection inspired by the outdoors but meant to be worn on city streets — a dichotomy running through Milan Fashion Week this season.

Maier employed technical fabrics, including fleece and a cotton-poplin mix that helped suggest a ship's sail. He also used trappings of the outdoor world to add a flourish to the designs, like hiking ropes that secure dresses or are used as colorful trim and drawstrings pulls, or climbers' clasps to fasten tops.

Sportier looks included shorts with halter tops and fleece hoodies with Lederhosen-style knee-hugging pants in camouflage mixed with animal prints. The season's shoe included clunky clogs decorated in animal prints or with circular metal grommets, or flat crisscross sandals.

"This is for the individual, the eccentric, the exceptional," Maier said in his notes.