Farewell to Roberto Cavalli, the designer of animal fabrics

Designer Roberto Cavalli, famous for his animal-print fabrics and bold, sensual garments, has died at the age of 83.

Designer Roberto Cavalli, one of Italy’s most celebrated fashion designers and standard bearer of made in Italy around the world, has died in Florence at the age of 83. Cavalli passed away after a long illness. He leaves behind his partner Sandra Nilsson and six children, the last of whom, Giorgio, was born on March 8, 2023. Born Nov. 15, 1940, in Florence, Italy, from a young age Cavalli showed an exceptional talent for fashion and design, and after studying art at the State Institute of Art in Florence, he immediately began working in the textile industry.

It was in the 1970s that Roberto Cavalli gave birth to one of the distinctive brands that would forever set him apart: the animalier print. Revolutionizing the concept of pattern and texture, Cavalli brought the beauty and boldness of felines, zebras, and giraffes to the runway, transforming fashion into a wild and sensual experience. His signature quickly became synonymous with luxury and glamour, winning over celebrities, style icons and fashion lovers worldwide.

Thanks to his creative genius and avant-garde vision, Roberto Cavalli quickly conquered the international market. His garments, characterized by flowing lines, luxurious fabrics and bold prints, have become a must-have. Alongside the Roberto Cavalli collection, the Florentine designer launched the RC Menswear brands and the more famous Just Cavalli, a line aimed at a younger audience and launched in 1998. Meanwhile, Cavalli has moved from clothing to the world of accessories, sunglasses, perfumes, and costumes. On June 18, 2013, he received an honorary degree in Fashion Management from the Domus Academy in Milan.

Cavalli left the helm of his fashion house in 2014: current owner is Dubai investment company Vision Investments, while creative director is Fausto Puglisi.

“With deep sorrow and sincere regret, I learn of the passing of Roberto Cavalli, an illustrious figure who brought Italian haute couture to the world, making Tuscany an undisputed point of reference in the global fashion scene,” said Eugenio Giani, president of the Tuscany Region. “Roberto was not only an innovator and an artist of textiles, but also a symbol of creativity and mastery who was able to boldly mix the colors of our land with international trends. At this sad moment, on behalf of the entire Region of Tuscany, I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and all those who had the privilege of knowing and working with him. His legacy will not be forgotten, but will live on in his creations that have brought prestige to our region and inspired so many generations. Tuscany is grateful for all that Roberto Cavalli offered to the world of fashion and culture, and joins in the condolences of those who today mourn the loss of a true master. It will be our concern to honor his memory and continue our commitment to support the art and culture he loved so much.”

Farewell to Roberto Cavalli, the designer of animal fabrics
Farewell to Roberto Cavalli, the designer of animal fabrics

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