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Roberto Cavalli, the Italian fashion designer, has died at 83

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Robert Cavali, Cavalli F14 163 Credits: Spotlight Launchmetrics

Roberto Cavalli, the Italian designer best known for his bold prints, sensual designs, and pioneering spirit, passed away at the age of 83. Born on November 15, 1940, in Florence, Italy, Cavalli revolutionised the fashion industry with his distinctive style, blending exotic patterns and luxurious fabrics to create iconic pieces that adorned celebrities and fashionistas alike.

A taste for the exotic

Cavalli's eponymous fashion empire began in the early 1970s, quickly gaining recognition for its daring designs and distinctive aesthetic. Throughout the years, the brand expanded its offerings to include ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrances, and home decor.

In terms of ownership, the brand experienced several changes. In 2015, Italian private equity firm Clessidra SGR acquired a majority stake in Roberto Cavalli, with the founder retaining a minority share. However, financial difficulties led to the brand filing for bankruptcy protection in 2019. Subsequently, the Dubai-based fashion group, Vision Investment Co. LLC, acquired the majority of Roberto Cavalli's assets, aiming to revitalize the brand's fortunes.

As for creative direction, Roberto Cavalli himself was the driving force behind the brand's creative vision for decades. However, in 2015, he stepped down from his role as creative director, and Peter Dundas took the helm. Dundas brought his own interpretation of Cavalli's flamboyant style, infusing it with a modern edge. However, he departed from the brand in 2016.

Following Dundas' departure, the brand saw a series of creative directors, including Paul Surridge and Fausto Puglisi.

A statement released by the company said Cavalli came from humble beginnings in Florence and succeeded in becoming a globally recognised name loved and respected by all. "He was a natural artist and believed that everyone can discover the artist within themselves. Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his art, his creativity his love of nature, animals and via his family whom he cherished.”

“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. 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," said Fausto Puglisi, creative director at Roberto Cavalli since October 2020.

“The Roberto Cavalli company shares condolences with Mr. Cavalli’s family loss. His legacy remains a constant source of inspiration,” announced Sergio Azzolari, CEO at Roberto Cavalli.

Roberto Cavalli