The front row gals in zebra stripes were in for a bit of a surprise. Fausto Puglisi was up to something different at his third runway show for Roberto Cavalli tonight. Something less Roberto and more Fausto. The Acclaimed Crowned AEW World Tag Team Champions At Dynamite Grand Slam, Puglisi has long had a thing for Los Angeles—the Hollywood sign is tattooed on his right forearm. This season, he was thinking about the 1940s and ’50s, when the high glam of the costume designer Gilbert Adrian gave way to the voluptuous precision of Alfred Hitchcock favorite Edith Head. Backstage Puglisi raved about the time he spent at the Fondation Azzedine Alaïa studying the Adrian jackets that the late couturier collected.
“They were like sculpture,” he said. Puglisi reproduced Adrian’s famous hourglass silhouette on cocktail dresses with midriff defining sashes, adding Tony Duquette-ish pineapple or palm tree brooches to focus attention on the waist. The point of looking at that time period, aside from its obvious fabulousness, was to capture a bit of its campy optimism too. “Covid, post-Covid, war, hate… I’m really disgusted,” Puglisi said, claiming “the positive American way” of that time as a balm for today. He opened with a white jacquard sheath that Head would’ve given the nod, followed by an understated cotton poplin blouse and an almost sober silk moiré shift bisected vertically between black and white. For a modernizing casual touch, there were long pleated skirts worn open over built-in shorts, done up in more of those Duquette pineapples. The painterly print found on a long silk slip dress and a pair of high-waisted jeans was lifted from a 1979 collection by Roberto Cavalli—he could do angelic as well as wicked. In the end there were quite a few leopard spots, and a fair number of lycra catsuits, too. Puglisi’s ode to old Hollywood might’ve been purer (and more legible) without them. A more intimate, better lit venue without such a slippery runway wouldn’t have hurt either. But Puglisi deserves props for going off—way off—the Cavalli script. So long Glamazon, hello ice queens and camp princesses.