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Roberto Cavalli: Wild Composer of Design

Johnny 2018-04-11 09:27

Among the mass of designers, a certain number of them are not conned by the pragmatics of “designs”. In their minds, design is about turning their wildest dreams into reality. Roberto Cavalli, the distinguished Italian designer, is one of them.


Textile Printing Knocks Up The Door To Fashion World

Observers will note that Cavalli’s ancestry could explain a lot about his artistic development of fashion design; Cavalli’s family earns a living from paintbrushes and palettes. His grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, is a prominent practitioner of the Macchiaioli School that was popular in 19th century Florence. The familial origin asserted influence on the later styling of Cavalli’s fashion designs to a great extent but the initial motivation of entering the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze came from the influence of his mother - Marcella.


After graduating from the academy in the mid-1960s, Cavalli started his career in painting, naturally. Different from other art students, Cavalli didn’t have a taste for sitting and painting in front of an easel. Rather, he frequently visited Como, the Italian city known for its silk industry. Cavalli loved watching the workers operating looms and printing patterns on the silk. Cavalli seemed destined to be a fashion designer during the research of textile printing to improve painting techniques, he accidentally created a new textile printing method which prints patterns on the whole fabric while secluding sections with only ornaments and stitches. To his own surprise, the silk industry at that time warmly welcomed his creative invention and directly kick-started his fashion career. Soon after, he established and registered his own brand - Stampa Cavalli. He opened his own studio and hired 16 workers to practice his craftwork. Meanwhile, he devoted himself fully to the studio and supervised every business he took.


The fashion world coveted Cavalli’s genius. Not long after he started his print business, opportunities came knocking; in the year of 1969, a large-scale international shoe exhibition was held in Florence. There, Cavalli became acquainted with the designer who would bring him success in the future - Mario Valentino. At that time Mario Valentino had won critical acclaim with his finely designed leather clothes. Valentino clicked with Cavalli after he saw the techniques Cavalli invented and adopted it for leathers. The cooperation was a successful one and critics praised their efforts. Later, Cavalli’s unique textile printings were also seen on Pierre Cardin and Hermès clothing.

If Roberto Cavalli had been content with his initial achievements, then there wouldn’t be the “Wild Fashion Archbishop” that we know today. Based on the previous successes, he started to design evening dresses and beachwear based on printed leather and branded his works with his own name. The series was debuted in February 1970, at the Paris Salon du Prêt-à-Porter and won immediate success and critical acclaim. Back in Florence, he expanded the creative idea to multiple styles of clothing. One of the examples is an adoption on the jeans. His creative mind represented the ordinary-looking jeans with a brand-new style. The success was ascertained with the popularity collected on the 1972 Sala Bianca catwalk in Pitti Palace.


Change Of Trends Molds Designing Styles

By this time, Cavalli was assured of his place in the fashion world. Nevertheless, the establishment of his own personal styles took place in the 1990s. Though in the 1980s the widely adopted New Baroque and maximalism gave free rein to his artistic talents, the fashion changed. The once extolled hedonism in the fashion circle only lived a transient life but was replaced with the exaltation of simplicity and minimalism.Facing the outrageous turbulence of fashion, Cavalli didn’t waver. He raised horses and managed business

at the same time to understand the truth of fashion designing and exploring new styles. As is often the case with fashion trends, simplistic design eventually lost popularity and new fashion arose. Cavalli took his chance to show his brand-new interpretation of fashion designs to the world after long deliberation. At the 1994 Milano Collezioni, Cavalli debuted a series of sandblasted jeans to create a vintage effect. Through this catwalk, the fashion industry witnessed the matured Cavallistic style. The signature charismatic style could be condensed with two words - sexy and seductive. The powerful return of Cavalli molded the never coquettish style of the brand, which accentuated the graceful  gures of female. The trend soon spread to worldwide. However, to differentiate from the fashion styles in the 1980s, Cavalli’s new success was based on the basic elements of daily life instead of chasing the ever changing fashion trends.Meanwhile, imagination, creativity, research, science and technologies were perfectly combined to create an enduring fashion style. While in fact, the fashion circle has always been friendly to Cavalli: his textile printings are timeless, fashionable and delicate, even the classic Animalier remains a unique symbol of design and it can regenerate itself into new forms with modern traits.

This is what the fashion world recognized. Cavalli’s establishment of his distinctive personal styles based on his own interpretation of fashion also won him the acclaim of “Wild Fashion Archbishop”, as a landmark figure in the fashion world.


This has been recognized by celebrities’ reaction to the brand from different industries. A number of celebrities and stars have been loyal followers of Roberto Cavalli, some even becoming renowned business partners. Most of them are well recognized. To name a few, Sharon Stone, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Drew Barrymore, Demi Moore, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé Knowles, Lenny Kravitz, Charlize Theron, Victoria Beckham, and Kate Hudson, etc., have all been “celebrity ambassadors” to Roberto Cavalli. For instance, when Sharon Stone attended the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 AmFar Event and the White Tie and Tiara Ball in 2005, she wore ne gowns by Roberto Cavalli. Charlize Theron paraded with Cavalli at her debut at 2005 Academy Awards in Hollywood. Michael Jackson chose Cavalli at the awarding ceremony of 2006 World Music Awards. At the 2006 and 2009 Oscars, Jada Pinkett-Smith attended with Cavalli collection. In the 2006 Golden Globe Awards, Emma Thompson wore a set of Cavalli. Adrien Brody premiered King Kongwith Cavalli and also at Chopin Awards in Cannes back in 2008. All these big names are both loyal customers of Cavalli as well as his good friends.

The Creative Mind Born From Personalities

People say that art designs are all labeled with distinctive traits of personalities, and so too are fashion designers. Maybe it is because he was born in Italy where the lifestyle is quite wild. Cavalli brings his wild Cavallistic lifestyle into every single piece of design. In his personal life, Cavalli pursues perfection. He experts in entertainment and cuisines. He is fond of luxury and joy, as well as beautiful things of any kind. He pursues a life of wonder and infinite livelihood.


In 2001, Cavalli ventured for the first time into the F&B business with Caffè Giacosa. The illustrious cafe has a history dating back
200 years and remains a Florence institution popular with the city’s fashionable elites. Inspired from the feature of that time era of the city famous for its glory in renaissance, he restored the original cafe while maintaining many of its original features - Burgundy banquette seating and glass top round tables, while black and white prints featuring models and celebrities wearing Cavalli designs adorn wood panelled walls. This way to do new things while respecting the tradition clearly shows that he has talent to establish relation between various things, making them something creative. And in 2002, he expanded his franchise to Milan with Just Cavalli Café. Located in Branca Tower (in Sempione Park, designed by master architect Gio Ponti), the cafe added a delicate touch to the Fifth Milan Triennale and established a modern landmark to the city which is considered as one of the fashion capitals around the world besides Paris, London and New York City. The cafe on the ground floor of Branca Tower has a unique design style. It is entirely constructed with glass and stainless steel with a total area of over 250 square meters. All the tables and chairs in the diner are decorated with classic Cavalli fabric - spring bok. And the solid steel bar counter centrepiece was designed by the architect, designer and sculptor Ron Arad. The Cavalli Club in Dubai is a youngest member of the Cavalli brand. Located in one of the most famous hotels in the UAE, it presents the whole Cavalli world to the public. 

This club, designed by architect Italo Rota, is equipped with three diners, a bar room, and a boutique shop with fantastic visual design. The indoor space is decorated with 463,000 pieces of Swarovski crystals, while the furniture is covered with recyclable white marten. Highlight is a 100-metre long drape featuring the ancient Florence bridge to reflect the origin of Roberto Cavalli. The Cavalli boutique shop, so to speak, is a palace of refined tastes, a galleria rather than just a shop.

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