September 26, 2015 / 3:41 PM / 2 years ago

Dundas brings fresh take on Cavalli in debut line

Designer Peter Dundas waves at the end of the Roberto Cavalli's Spring/Summer 2016 collection during Milan Fashion Week in Italy, September 26, 2015.Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - Peter Dundas presented his debut collection as creative director of Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli on Saturday, offering a youthful take on a brand known for bold animal prints.

Dundas takes on the main designer role from founder Roberto Cavalli, 74, and his wife, Eva.

The celebrity-favorite fashion house has been through several changes this year, with private equity fund Clessidra acquiring control in April. Cavalli retains 10 percent.

Dundas, who was previously at fellow Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci, worked at Cavalli from 2002 to 2005.

At the Milan Fashion Week spring/summer 2016 show, he cut sleeves off denim jackets and colored them in pastels, teaming them with skin-tight or looser high-waisted trousers. Other denim jackets were short with plaits running down the sides.

Dundas kept up the trademark animal prints by putting lions' faces on dresses. Zebra print featured on gilets and mini dresses.

He also tied large bows on one-shoulder crop tops, and embroidered tassels across his denim creations and dresses.

For a brand known for floaty gowns, the nod to long dresses came in ball skirts that were short in front and had flowing trains at the back.

Models parade at the end of the Roberto Cavalli Spring/Summer 2016 collection during Milan Fashion Week in Italy, September 26, 2015.Stefano Rellandini

Company Chief Executive Renato Semerari said the line showed "a new face" of the brand.

"He (Dundas) will bring fresh air to the brand, and that's very much what we're looking for," he told Reuters.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Semerari said the company was eyeing more offerings in daywear and accessories. It also seeks geographical expansion in Asia, namely China - despite signals of strains and market turmoil in the country.

"To start with, we want to solidify what we already have ... Our presence is very limited (in China) at the moment, so it is a big opportunity for us in the future."

"If you have 40 stores in China you may be scared about what is happening, but this is not our case. China remains a huge market."

Asked about a time frame, Semerari said the expansion phase would likely start in the second half of 2016.

"Turbulence or not, we are going to go ahead in that country," he said, adding business at the moment was "soft".

Roberto Cavalli himself was not at the show.

Editing by Helen Popper and Matthew Lewis

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