Glamour. Va-va-voom. Animal prints. ‘Excess is success,’ is how Roberto Cavalli puts it.
Roberto Cavalli has carved out a corner of the fashion world for his very own: a darling of the red carpet, designer-to-the-stars, a go-to fashion house for an injection of style stardust. The New York Times described him as ‘the Italian fashion designer with a gypsy soul’, and that just about sums Roberto Cavalli up, to us, with his use of extravagant prints, gilded touches and lavish embroidery. (Vogue has said about him: ‘Cavalli is as much an haute hippie as he is a red carpet king’.)
This is a man who loves to glory women through his creativity. As a reporter for Popsugar put it, ‘Within 30 seconds of observing Roberto Cavalli, this much is clear: he doesn’t just like women. He adores them. Whether making eye contact with his long-time wife Eva or greeting this reporter with a kiss on the hand, the Italian designer has an appreciation for all things feminine.’ We just love the designer’s philosophy: ‘Every woman is a supermodel. A supermodel is a woman who’s feminine and strong. Many women are more beautiful than they think…’ And his whole career has been devoted to bringing out that beauty.
Roberto Cavalli was born in Florence, in 1940, to a seamstress and a mine surveyor. The artistic gene may have come from his grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, who painted in the Impressionist style – and Roberto Cavalli‘s first dream was to be a painter. Instead, he opted for textiles. And from textiles, to clothing. From the first collection, his designs turned heads and sparked headlines. ‘I had this idea to print on leather. I used glove skin from a French tannery, and when I started to print, I saw it was possible to make evening gowns in leather… in pink – unbelievable’. Brigitte Bardot became one of his stellar early fans, when he opened a boutique in (where else?) Saint-Tropez.
It’s perhaps that textiles background which sets Cavalli apart, in the fashion universe. Already successful, known for his patterns and colour, everything really began to explode for Roberto Cavalli when he began to print designs on denim, too: his second line, Just Cavalli, is one of the most sought-after denim collections on the planet. (And, the designer admits, he happens to own 50 pairs of jeans himself…!)
Not surprisingly, print and pattern – and that 22 carat detailing – has proved hugely inspirational for Roberto Cavalli‘s fragrance line. 2012 saw his Roberto Cavalli signature scent given a glamorous makeover, with sensual notes of pink pepper, orange blossom absolute and toasted tonka bean.
As Roberto Cavalli told The Huffington Post at time of launch, ‘It’s sophisticated… When I made the fragrance, I asked myself the same questions I do when I create a collection, “How do I make it more sexy? Feminine? Glamorous and romantic?: It’s special yet unusual.’ His wife Eva added: ‘It evokes a very special woman. She’s romantic, but very powerful. Just a few days ago, I met a friend by accident on the street and I said, “Oh, that’s such an amazing perfume!” And she told me that it was Cavalli. I was so proud, because it’s really for a woman who is rich on the inside.’
Just Cavalli followed in 2013: complex, youthful, featuring a heady combination of flowers and woods. ‘Undeniably sexy,’ Escentual‘s review commented, ‘opening with a fanfare of captivating neroli flower and tiaré flower. The dry-down is comprised of a more unusual ingredient, palisander wood, noted for its depth. Overall effect: provocative and yet very wearable.’ (For men? There is the magnetic woody-fougère Uomo, as well as Just Cavalli for Men..).
Clearly a man who is passionate about what he does, Roberto Cavalli continues to communicate directly with his followers. ‘I go to bed very late,’ he told Harper’s Bazaar, ‘because I have my Roberto Cavalli blog… Then I go on Twitter (he’s @Roberto_Cavalli, with 1.5 million+ followers). Before slipping between his sheets – we’ve a hunch they may be leopard-print – the last thing he does, Cavalli reveals, is to apply 10 drops of his own perfume.
And where does Roberto Cavalli believe we ourselves should be applying his fragrances…? ‘Behind the ears and between the breasts,’ he advises. ‘I love it there.’
Advice from a man who understands glamour – and sexiness – like almost no other…
NB Compiling this website we spent a huge amount of time online looking at designers’ own sites. Perhaps because he so well understands the power of the web and social media, we hugely enjoyed his, and can thoroughly recommend a visit to robertocavalli.com, for a taste of the excitement the designer’s catwalk shows are known for, and behind-the-scenes videos. Do also take a look at the ‘timeline’ of landmarks in Cavalli’s history. Fun. And really very impressive indeed.
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