Safari array at Roberto Cavalli show in Milan

Designer Roberto Cavalli's outfits gathered low-brow party girls and Victorian ladies and cast them adrift in the safari wilderness in a confused collection shown at Milan Fashion Week on Monday.


Just Cavalli - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

Cavalli, who rather eccentrically took a German shepherd around the catwalk to greet front-row guests, opted for both mini- and maxi-length dresses which were decked out in a wild array of animal prints and garish colours.

He said the collection captured "an earthly paradise populated by creatures of fantasy, the Eden of femininity" and "a sensual and mysterious being," but most of the outfits lacked elegance and struggled to convince.

Short dresses and miniskirts covered in fish scales or with a python effect in turquoise, midnight blues or pinks were embellished with printed or inlaid fur, and worn with gloves to the elbow -- ubiquitous on catwalks this season.

The maxi dresses were truly unnerving: tops closed to the neck with a Victorian-era feel flowed into vast skirts in cashmere and mink with crocodile designs, which billowed out and made the wearer look like an unhappy octopus.

The prints were taken from hand-painted canvases of animal skins, and Cavalli went big on big cat motifs, both on the clothes and the catwalk, which was decorated with roses bunched together to mimic tiger stripes.

Applause was kept exclusively for top model Naomi Campbell, who strode down the catwalk in a sparkly burgundy evening dress with open back and deep "V" neck.

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