July 24, 2024

Fashion Design

Fashion Designs that Enlighten the Soul

Roberto Cavalli dies at 83 following celebrated fashion career

3 min read

Roberto Cavalli, the Italian fashion designer known for his glamorous designs and animal prints, has died, his company announced in a post on social media Friday.

Cavalli was 83.

“It is with great sadness that today we say our final goodbyes to our founder Roberto Cavalli,” the Instagram post said.

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli
Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli attends his fashion show on June 10, 2013, in the coastal Montenegro town of Budva.Savo Prelevic / AFP via Getty Images file

“From humble beginnings in Florence Roberto succeeded in becoming a globally recognised name loved and respected by all. Naturally talented and creative, Roberto believed that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves. Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his creativity, his love of nature and via his family who he cherished,” it read.

In comments on the post, Fausto Puglisi, the creative director at Roberto Cavalli since October 2020, and Sergio Azzolari, CEO at Roberto Cavalli, shared their thoughts on Cavalli’s passing.

“Dear Roberto, you may not be physically here with us anymore but I know I will feel your spirit with me always. It is the greatest honour of my career to work under your legacy and to create for the brand you founded with such vision and style,” Puglisi said.

He added: “Rest in peace you will be missed and you are loved by so many that your name will continue on, a beacon of inspiration for others, and especially for me.”

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli
Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli at his New York City showroom on Dec. 6, 2000.Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images file

Azzolari said the company “shares condolences with Mr. Cavalli’s family loss.”

“His legacy remains a constant source of inspiration,” Azzolari said.

The post included a slideshow of quotes from the famed designer.

Born in Florence on Nov. 15, 1940, from a family of artists, Cavalli was orphaned of his father at just 4 years old, as he was killed in a Nazi roundup known as the Cavriglia massacre in 1944.

Cavalli became renowned in the early 1970s for his animal prints and an excessive, sexy style that remained his trademark throughout his long career.

After founding his own fashion house in the early 1970s, Cavalli quickly became an iconic brand, loved by top celebrities like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyoncé.

Cavalli patented a new printing method for leather and debuted the patchwork denim that was one of his trademarks in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti in 1972. He revolutionized jeans, creating a sandblasting technique to give denim a distressed look, and adding Lycra to jeans to make them sexier and stretchy.

Cavalli took frequent inspiration from the natural world, featuring animal prints and fish-scale sequins. The Cavalli woman ranged from hippie to slick rocker, in diaphanous gowns that caught the air, seductive beaded dresses or sexy skinny suits.

As his fashion house recalled on Friday, Cavalli once explained his “animalier” inspiration with a popular quote: “I copy the dress of an animal because I love to copy God. I think God is the most fantastic designer.”

He stepped back from designing about a decade ago, after ceding 90% of the company to the Clessidra private equity group. The company is now controlled by Auriel Investment SA.

“Don’t call me a designer. My talent is rather finding what makes a fabric, a dress, a woman special, thinking always of fashion as if it is dream of ready-to-wear, something ready to be worn,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Just Me,” published in 2013.

He told The Associated Press in an interview that the woman he dressed was “a woman who believes a lot in herself. A woman who can show she is strong but at the same time soft and romantic.”

Cavalli is survived by model Sandra Nilsson, who has been his partner since 2014, and six children. He became the father of his sixth child the age of 82.


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