Roberto Cavalli, Italian designer; an icon of Italian and world fashion. He founded, in Florence, a fashion house famous all over the world. Its main feature is originality.
Cavalli’s style is well defined, the clothes caress the body and the fabrics used are colored and with mixed patterns. Animal mantles, sequins, scales: this is the designer’s style with a great reference to nature. The Cavalli woman is gritty and strong; in his collections Roberto shows all his personality: instinctive and exhibitionistic.
Roberto Cavalli was born on November 15, 1949 in Florence. He studied textile applications of painting at the State Institute of Art in Florence.
In the early seventies he patented a process for printing on leather and created the first patchwork of different materials and colors.
In 1970 he presented the first collection with the name of Roberto Cavalli and shortly afterwards he opened the brand’s first boutique.
When he was twenty he married his first wife but they separated shortly after their wedding, he was 29. In 1980 he married again, and found his main collaborator in Eva, his wife. At the end of the nineties the brand was established and distributed in 36 countries.
In June 2013 he received an honoris degree in Fashion Management from the Domus Academy in Milan. Here he gave a lecture at the end of the graduation ceremony.
The fashion house: the sixties and seventies
A great experimentation on materials began in those years, in particular on leather. In 1970 Roberto Cavalli made his debut in Paris with his first collection. Leather patchwork garments made in collaboration with Mario Valentino paraded.
In 1972, for the first time, at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, he presented the women’s collection, patchwork is also applied on jeans. In those years many large fashion houses were interested in his work: from Hermès to Pierre Cardin; from Krizia to Emilio Pucci.
Towards the end of the seventies all the big brands moved to Milan while Cavalli decided to stay in Florence, isolating himself from the future capital of Italian fashion.
The fashion house: the nineties and the 2000s
It was in the early nineties that the fashion house moved its activities to Milan. In 1994, during the Fashion Week, the brand moved towards international success. In the new collections there are brindle jeans, dresses with large prints, embroidered furs, long dresses. The animalier, an iconic element of the brand, is now starting to conquer the big celebrities. The company presents aged denim with a special processing and the first stretch jeans.
In the same years the various clothing lines of the fashion house were also born: Just Cavalli, Angels & Devils (today Roberto Cavalli Junior), Class Cavalli.
In 1996 the first Roberto Cavalli single-brand boutique was inaugurated in Venice. At the end of 2001 the brand is distributed in 30 countries.
Following several partnerships, he also launched the sunglasses line, the watch lines and an exclusive club in Milan.
In 2010, the fashion house turns forty and parades in Paris with a collection that includes all the best known pieces made over the years. In 2014, the designer decided to sell the ownership of the brand and the entire fashion house.
The fashion house: recent years
In 2015 a new era begins for the Roberto Cavalli brand. Creative direction is in the hands of Peter Dungas; the Clessidra SGR fund acquires 90% of the group with other minority shareholders.
In 2016 after the premature death of Claudio Sposito, a new CEO is appointed who initiates major changes and a recovery plan for the company. In this same year the brand’s headquarters return to Tuscany, more precisely to Osmannoro.
In 2017 there is a new change, a new creative director. Paul Surridge arrives at the maison. New lines of accessories, women’s ready-to-wear and new men’s collections are created to revive the brand. Many stores are closed and underwear and beachwear licenses are internationalized. For the following year, the expected draw is not achieved and the Clessidra fund opts for the arrangement with creditors. During this same period, creative director Surridge also resigned. Dubai billionaire Hussain Sajwani buys the company in 2019. Roberto Cavalli passes to Vision Investments.
The brands of the Cavalli group
Over the years the group has grown just like the brands that have been included under the main one.
– Roberto Cavalli: historic brand launched in the world of luxury which includes evening dress lines.
– Just Cavalli: 1998, young brand with an urban and rock style. Since 2011 it has been licensed by OTB di Renzo Rosso.
– Class Cavalli: day line for men and women. Swinger International license since 2015.
– Roberto Cavalli Junior: line for children from 0/16 years.
– Roberto Cavalli Home: in 2012 it was presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. Big collaborations with Made in Italy companies.
– RC Sport: sports line.
Seven curiosities about the designer Roberto Cavalli
1. The designer is a son of art. His grandfather was Giuseppe Rossi, an artist, who exhibited at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
2. In the early 70s he was the first designer to bring patchwork to the catwalk. This was precisely one of the transgressions that led him to popularity.
3. The maison’s first boutique opened in Saint Tropez in 1972.
4. He is not an American fashion lover, these are his words: “A farce, a sweep, we prostituted ourselves to their wishes but now it is time to end it. Americans should be downsized. Their fashion? It is worth nothing, it should be cut off. “
5. In 2018 with Hussain Sajwani, who chairs Damac Properties, Roberto Cavalli signed a partnership to create the “Cavalli Hotel” project. Over the next ten years, the project plans to build five hotels. The first under construction is that of Dubai Marina funded for approximately 500 million dollars.
6. He was the first in 2007 to collaborate with the low cost H&M brand.
7. He loves photography, animals and nature. He manage to bring some of these passions into his creations.