Roberto Cavalli Pre-Fall 2024 Collection

Clothes not concepts—or as he puts it, “no bullshit”: that’s what Fausto Puglisi is driven to deliver as his stewardship of Roberto Cavalli canters on. Even at 9 am sharp on a mightily cold Milan morning this week, the fiery Sicilian’s passion for his gig was boiling over. “You editors always want stories—blah, blah, blah—and there is one here. But the truth is that I think a lot about the demographic of women for whom it’s my job to make a wardrobe. That’s why I love speaking with retailers, to understand what their customers are telling them they are looking for… and what they show me is that they are looking for clothes to communicate fun, freedom, and not giving a shit about judgment. She creates herself. That is a statement about power, and about freedom, and I like it very much.”

Puglisi translated that brief into a punchily robust Spaghetti Western of a collection that played as casually with transnational codes of worn Americana as the rest of the world does with the cultural integrity of Italian food. An Appaloosa print (a nice Cavalli nod), a bandana print that incorporated Zebra stripe within the originally central Asian paisley, gaucho hats, swirling malachite prints (plus stone-set accessories), and finally a sharkskin-over-zebra print were his key decorative ingredients. These were served on form-fitting dresses in clingy chenille, floaty chiffon, dévoré metallics, amphibian-slick sequin, and intensely textured velvet. There were pajama sets, big-silhouette separates, tailoring in an incongruous Milanese tonal herringbone, plus red white and blue wools sometimes embroidered with desert florals. Mega-puffers in bandana print, boot-cut denim, fringed leather skirts, and a murderously tough cracked leather trench, also fringed, completed the posse of Puglisi proposals. The red-bloodedly abundant Florentine maximalism that is at the soul of Cavalli was further amplified through the house’s fang-heeled footwear and tiger-head handbags.

“These are pieces that I want people, real people, to understand immediately,” said Puglisi: “And that’s it.”