02/23/2013 11:59 EST | Updated 04/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Cavalli trades sexy for sophisticated in his winter 2014 styles at Milan Fashion Week

MILAN - For designer Roberto Cavalli, it was a very quiet and surprisingly elegant show.

The master of sexy fashion shuns his trademark animal prints and body-clinging clothes, replacing them with sparkling fabric in high society styles.

But despite the glitter there was something dark about the womenswear collection presented Saturday, a reflection of the prevailing aggressive mood of this round of preview showings.

The extravagant fur coats for example, shaggy and black with splashes of bright red or yellow, were something Cruella De Vil, Disney's despised dognapper, might favour. The shoes, too, came with a nasty high metal heel.

But the series of cocktail and evening dresses, with hand-stitched sequined prints inspired by works in the museums of designer Cavalli's native Florence were literally awesome. Whether floor length, with dipping neckline, or short with demure pleated skirt and sleeveless top, the outfits are a treat to the eye and a relief from the edgy feel of next winter's fashion.