Roberto Cavalli was born in 1940 and is an Italian designer. Referred to as “an artist of fashion,” perhaps to remember his grandfather who was an illustrious painter, one of the Macchiaioli, and the creator of paintings on display at the Uffizi in Florence, his hometown.
He attended the Academy of Fine Arts and soon became interested in the relationship between fashion and painting. He investigated various materials in his own print shop, and at the same time experimenting with new technologies. In the 1960s he patented a revolutionary process for printing on leather then he debuted these techniques in Paris, and immediately was recognized by Hermès and Pierre Cardin. At age 32, he presented his first namesake collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris.
Then, in 1972 he made his début at Palazzo Pitti with his patchworks, which are by now considered a classic of his style, and which are especially typical of his glamorous jeans. Also at this time he opened his first boutique in Saint Tropez. In 1980, Roberto Cavalli married Eva Düringer. He owns an important art Collection with paintings from the 1400s and 1600s and has a fondness for the painters of Siena. He also likes purebreds.
The Cavalli woman has a well-defined silhouette. The Cavalli clothes are made to caresses the body, wrap it, and imprison it with often overlapping colored fabrics in fantastic patterns.
Nature is a source of inspiration for Roberto Cavalli. This includes animal skins, sequins in the shape of fish scales, waves that lose themselves in the transparencies of the fabric. The impact of his collections have always been very strong with ferocious wild beasts, angels and demons that peep out from a jacket or from trousers. Feline and witty women find their personality in Cavalli’s style, instinctual and exhibitionist.
Every style is breathtaking. For example, shorts and corsets for a Scarlet O’Hara updated to the year 2000, contoured blazers in prints of leopard, crocodile or lynx, and snake skin as a substitute for spotted patterns of every sort. Then the black of the youth gangs, from the jacket of a wild Marlon Brando to punks and heavy metal lovers. His unmistakable, elegant jackets are made out of very soft deer skin. Something lunar for his micro galactic skirts, and again baroque-patterned jeans.
Anna Falchi and Claudia Koll played the winning couple in a prêt-à-porter presentation in Milan in 1995. The presentation was full of sophisticated elegance with a touch of transgression. Stretch became ultra stretch: a master of leather, he treats it like a canvas on which to paint and the body seems tattooed.
The first single-brand boutique opened in Venice in 1996. The brand, Just Cavalli, launched in 2000 with a men’s and womenswear collection, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewelry, perfumes, underwear, and beachwear.
At this time, his brand is distributed in more than 30 countries, directly from the Milan, New York, and Düsseldorf’ showrooms. The home market leads with 35% of the turnover (Europe 25%, Asia 20%). The Russian market is expanding and the U.S. market has already been conquered, with his styles in the windows of the most important department stores. The principal line is gradually supported by CJ Cavalli Jeans, a men’s line, a line of eyeglasses produced by Marcolin, and accessories for men and women. The most recent line is women’s underwear. His wife, Eva Duringer, who works with him professionally, was Miss Universe.
In October 2000, at Milano Collezioni, an entire day is dedicated to Cavalli. After the Collection is presented in the morning, the afternoon sees the opening of his first boutique in Milan, on via della Spiga. A year later, the the company decides the men’s shoe line will be produced and distributed for the next five years by Roberto Botticelli. The Fall/Winter 2001-2002 Collection is inspired by the Old West, with loafers, ankle boots and, above all, cowboy boots with embroidered details.
In March 2001 Cavalli designs two new lines for the watches produced by Sector. For his beachwear he uses the eclectic and comfortable Sensitive fabric made by Eurojersey, personalizing it with his celebrated prints. Later in July, to celebrate his début in Great Britain, Eva and Roberto Cavalli welcome their guests in a Berber tent, thus bringing a piece of Africa to Momo, the historic club in the West End. Among black-and-white striped carpets and copper trays, he presents the new eyeglass Collection, which is produced and distributed by Marcolin.
The turnover for 2001 was expected to be 280 billion liras, but by the end of the year the new estimate is 300 to 350 billion liras. The opening of the next single-brand shops is already planned. After Milan, Rome, Jeddah, Paris, New York, and Venice, Cavalli opens a new boutique in Florence in a prestigious location, the ancient Palazzo Viviani della Robbia, with nine large windows on via Tornabuoni. The historic and renovated Caffè Giacosa is connected to the boutique, but it also has independent access. At this point, Cavalli is aiming above all at the “new” markets of Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, and Moscow.
Fall/Winter 2002 Men’s Collection
In January 2002 the new men’s Collection for Fall/Winter 2002-2003 is refined, precious and extravagant. It renewed the style of men’s fashion with an irony of excess and fantasy with inspiration drawn from Victorian England. The Collection is presented in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio. The exhibition More and More More and More — The Looks Roberto Cavalli Wants for You, opened. The exhibition was organized by Italo Rota is full of excess, provocation, color, and fun.
In February 2002 the exhibition Men in Skirts at the Dress Gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London displayed work by Cavalli and other designers. Organized with the purpose of celebrating the designers who turned the skirt into a man’s garment, the exhibit is divided into five themes: historical styles, the kilt, exoticism, styles vs. culture, and futuristic styles. Roberto Cavalli finds his natural place in the exoticism section where he shows a linen caftan with animal-tribal prints.
Fall/Winter 2002 Women’s Collection
The Fall/Winter 2002-2003 womenswear collection was an amusing and lively presentation with a touch of self-irony that proposes pieces such as a black tailored suit of Breitschwanz, sophisticated decorated furs, patent-leather overcoats for a cat-woman and calf-length dresses in delicate flower-patterned muslin with long sleeves. Cindy Crawford wore a tight sheath dress in Persian scarlet lamb, a herringbone-patterned fur, and, finally, a long white satin dress embroidered with panther- and tiger-shaped sequins, together with a trench coat in very bright and light snake skin. Something very unusual was a loom-manufactured Scottish fabric in strong colors that was used for tailored suits that had the skirt tight on the hips and then dropped in a flare, and for the tiny jackets worn with jeans. The fabric was also worked in patterned cloths embroidered with silver thread.
In May 2002 for the 85th Giro d’Italia, Cavalli designed the uniforms for Mario Cipollini and his team, in black and white stripes, of course.
Roberto Cavalli Kids Collection
In 2002 Roberto Cavalli Angels, the Collection produced and distributed by Simonetta, is presented at Pitti Bimbo, for Spring-Summer 2003. There are light leather jackets, snake skin patterned jackets, chalk stripe jeans, and oversized overalls in pre-washed fabric. The suede boots on the feet as those of the Navajos, and around the waist are colored raffia belts with plastic beads and feathers. Roberto Cavalli Devils is a new line dedicated to children and kids from 4 to 14 years. It supports Roberto Cavalla Angels, the Collection for little girls and teenagers produced and distributed by Simonetta, who is to manage the new brand as well.
In July 2002 the youth line, Just Cavalli, opened a boutique in Rome, in Piazza di Spagna, of the first boutique dedicated to the youth line Just Cavalli. Roberto Cavalli and Ittierre (It Holding Group) renew, three years in advance, the license for the Just Cavalli line, extending it to 2010.
In the first six months of the year, the watch line designed for Sector has a turnover of €3.9 million, growing 136%. The reopening of the Torre Branca, ex Littorio, in Milan takes place in October. At the foot of the tower is the Just Cavalli Café, with a counter designed by Ron Arad. Cavalli receives the award The Provocateurs, given to “those who dare.” The ceremony takes place at Cipriani New York, on the occasion of the 19th edition of the Night of Stars, organized by Fashion Group International.
In 2003 black-and-white striped dishes, gold rimmed glasses, and animal-patterned cushions for the house designed by Cavalli. Also, in the main collection the style is a mix between a cowboy and a bikerman presented by Cavalli at Milano Moda Uomo.
Store Openings in US
In April 2003 the brands fourth boutique in the US, in Coral Gables, Florida, called More More and More By Roberto Cavalli is opened. All his Collections, with the exception of the first line, can be found there, including the children’s, accessories, and household lines. The other American boutiques are in New York, on Madison Avenue; in Bel Harbor, Florida; and in Las Vegas.
At this time, the brand opened a new boutique in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Then, at number 15 in the Tretyakovskiy Passage in Moscow, of the first single-brand Roberto Cavalli boutique in Russia.
In April 2004 Cavalli hosts Le Cirque du Soleil in Milan and organized an evening for the première of the extraordinary show Saltimbanco. The designer, with the creative help of Ettore Scola, transforms a warehouse into an enchanted paradise.
Later in December, Cavalli is back in New York to host the most exclusive evening of the year on the occasion of the exhibition organized by the Fashion Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, entitled Wild fashion Untamed. To celebrate the event, the designer organized an exclusive evening: cocktails and an exhibition preview followed by a dinner for 300 selected international guests.
In January 2005, Just Cavalli opened their first single-brand store in Milan. It was an innovative project and the result of collaboration between Roberto Cavalli and Italo Rota for a real “fantasy store.” Later this year, Roberto Cavalli with his friend Dino De Laurentiis, together launched the film, The Decameron, a film directed by David Leland, Cavalli designs the costumes. The cast includes: Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton, and Tim Roth. Roberto Cavalli also collaborated with Tre Italia, the first branded video cell phone. The project includes a donation to the Veronesi Foundation for their cancer research.
Roberto Cavalli teamed up with Pragma Group in 2009 and opened its first nightclub, Just Cavalli, in Florence. The location used to be a 15th century church. Soon, Just Cavalli club opened in Milan. This business venture also made a 5-year plan to open 3 more Cavalli Clubs and 15 Cavalli cafes.
2010 marked the 40th anniversary of Roberto Cavalli. On September 29th, the brand hosted an anniversary gala at Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts, plenty of celebrities attended the celebration party include Naomi Campbell, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Heidi Klum. Some of Cavalli’s signature designs were also displayed at the gallery of Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts. Celebration continues at Milan Fashion Week later, where Roberto Cavalli presented its spring/summer 2011 collection at spectacular 19th-century marble Arco Della Pace.
In 2011 Roberto Cavalli signed a five-year licensing deal with Compagnia delle Pelli for launch a new “CLASS Roberto Cavalli” accessories line. Start to offer both men’s and women’s bags and small leather goods collections. A year later, with their india partner Infinite Luxury Brands, Roberto Cavalli launched its first store in India and a brand new Cavalli Cafe in New Delhi.
In 2013 Yvan Mispelaere, the former chief designer from DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, was named Roberto Cavalli’s first design director. He unveiled his first collection for Fall/Winter 14. A year later, Roberto Cavalli, before the Just Cavalli Women’s Fall/Winter fashion show, he exclaimed that he refuses to engage with celebrities to promote his brand, and encouraged the fashion world to turn its back to celebrity endorsements.
In March 2015 Peter Dundas was pointed as new creative director of Roberto Cavalli. This Norwegian-American designer worked as the former creative director of Emilio Pucci, and in fact, he used to work with Roberto Cavalli very closely when Roberto Cavalli was relaunching his no-holds-barred brand between 2002 and 2005.
In January 2016 Peter Dundas presented his first collection and returns to the original Florence fashion house style. He focuses his attention on sensuality, femininity and coolness. This return underlines the ability of the stylist to mix day and night, elegance and beauty but also fierceness. Accessories are composed by boots and earrings with charms.
Clessidra SGR Acquired Roberto Cavalli
One month later, private-equity firm Clessidra SGR acquired 90% of the Italian fashion house. In 2016 February, Roberto Cavalli became the first designer brands to open up a store in Iran. Then, Renato Semerari left the Italian fashion group because of strategic differences, while Gian Giacomo Ferraris was named the new Chief Executive Officer of the company. Later in October, Peter Dundas departs from the label after only one year.
Meanwhile, Gian Giacomo Ferraris announced a comprehensive reorganization of the company, including store closures, severe cuts to global headcount, nearly 30% positions were eliminated, Milan offices were closed, and all functions moved to Florence. Roberto Cavalli employees took action immediately after the dramatic restructure plan and conducted an eight-hour strike.
In May 2017 Roberto Cavalli brand welcomed its new creative director, British-born designer Paul Surridge. Surridge graduated from Central Saint Martins and has experience working under Calvin Klein, Burberry, and Jil Sander. Paul Surridge displayed his first women’s SS18 collection during Milan Fashion Week.