The modern fashion world has lost one of its pioneers: on April 12th, Roberto Cavalli passed away

Roberto Cavalli, a fashion icon of the late 20th century, was born in Florence in 1940. Florence, with its renowned artistic heritage and aristocratic families, endowed the Maestro with impeccable taste and confidence in his pursuits.

A graduate of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, Roberto Cavalli boldly experimented with painting, patchwork, and fabric design in the post-war years. His first successful projects – prints on leather – were appreciated by fashion houses such as Hermès and Pierre Cardin.

Animal prints, luxury, and a disdain for minimalism

As a bold experimenter, Cavalli was unafraid of kitsch. He always knew the fine line between sensationalism and tastelessness, between “luxurious” and vulgar. His name became synonymous with animalistic prints, vibrant golden patterns, and a luxury borrowed from nature. Leopard, tiger, and python prints, adorned with golden motifs, became Cavalli’s signature. During one of his lectures at Oxford, Roberto explained his passion for nature: “I love nature. Animals wear the best clothes. God dressed them so well. Women love such designs; they feel naturally in them.”

The name Roberto Cavalli is synonymous with glamour and luxury elevated to an art form. He opened his first boutique in 1972, and since then, the Roberto Cavalli corporation has expanded to thousands of boutiques worldwide. His collections are particularly popular in the Middle East.

Stretch jeans and entering the mainstream

One of Cavalli’s innovations was stretch jeans, which remain popular today. The Cavalli designer added lycra to denim fabric, while the Cavalli tailor subjected the fabric to sandblasting, giving the jeans a “worn” look. Alongside animal prints and inlaid leather, denim became a staple of his signature style, leading to the creation of the younger subsidiary brand, Just Cavalli, in 1998.

In 2007, as one of the first top couturiers to collaborate with mass-market brand H&M, he extended his influence from the fashion world to interiors. Roberto Cavalli left behind a name, a brand, a history, and six children. The youngest, son Giorgio, was born in 2023. At the age of 82, the Maestro had carried two passions for fashion throughout his life: “Fashion is part of my DNA; I couldn’t live without it. And I always want to discover new horizons endlessly!”

And to women: “As predictably as it may sound, women inspire me the most! A woman is the most important thing in life. And the most fantastic woman is my mother.”

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