Roberto Cavalli

Luxury Italian fashion brand headquartered in Florence


Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, acclaimed for his animal prints on leather and textiles, has died at the age of 83 at his home in Florence after a prolonged illness. The grandson of an acclaimed painter of the Macchiaioli group, Roberto Cavalli studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence where he specialized in textile application. Few knew he would one day be a worldwide legend in the business of Fashion as he made cutting-edge developments in textile technology throughout his career.


Roberto Cavalli, who was born on November 15, 1940, began his career in Fashion during the Sixties, working in his own silk printing shop where he applied a new painterly technique to garments, which consequently led to garment dyeing techniques. His interest in adding colours to silk and wool has its roots in Tuscan artisan traditions. Few know that his grandfather was an acclaimed painter of the Macchiaioli group and Cavalli himself studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence where he specialized in textile application.

Roberto Cavalli made cutting-edge developments in textile technology. In 1970 he debuted at the Salon for Pret-a-Porter in Paris with leather patchwork in alliance with Mario Valentino. The evening gowns in printed leather took Fashion by storm and having patented his leather printing technique, Cavalli earned commissions from design houses including Hermès and Pierre Cardin. In 1972 he showcased patchwork jeans at Palazzo Pitti, Florence, and in no time it became one of his trademarks. He later created a sandblasting technique to give denim a distressed look and added Lycra to jeans, which made headlines when supermodel Naomi Campbell wore it in a runway show in 1993.

That year he also opened his first boutique in Saint Tropez, foreseeing the potential of the fishing village as a destination for the elite and attracted the A-list set including Brigitte Bardot. In the late Seventies most Italian fashion houses moved to Milan. Cavalli stayed on in Florence. Per Vogue: “Exotic elegance, wild prints and bohemian glamour are inherent in every collection and his seductive cuts have provided everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Victoria Beckham with red-carpet drama.”

Cavalli’s career entered an exciting phase in the Nineties. His showcase at Milan Fashion Week in 1994 made the luxury fashion brand a worldwide success. One of the most glamorous to date, the collection had wildlife motifs on denim, printed apparel, embroidered fur and sculpted gowns. Applying artistic techniques to denim he presented printed jeans in 1988, sand-blasted jeans in autumn- winter 1994 and Lycra stretch jeans the following year. These innovations in textile technology was an unbridled hit and Roberto Cavalli launched Cavalli Jeans — later renamed Just Cavalli — in 2000. This was followed by new clothing lines: Roberto Cavalli Junior and Class Cavalli.

The same year he opened boutiques in Saint Barth and the French Caribbean.. the first mono-brand boutique in Venice in 1996 and shortly the brand was distributed in over thirty countries. So is it a wonder it was loved and worn by International celebrities like Sophia Loren, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Victoria Beckham? At the turn of the century the Italian fashion group diversified its portfolio by inking collaborations and licensing agreements for the production and distribution of new accessories lines. The Marcolin Group started developing and distributing Roberto Cavalli and Just Cavalli sunglasses and optical frames.

In 2002 Cavalli collaborated with Sector to design watches which grossed reported €3.9 million. That year he opened a café store in Florence with the interiors done up in his animal prints. This was followed by the Just Cavalli Club in Milan.. and along with another club in Dubai, it became representative of the brand’s lifestyle experience. Set in a snakeskin-encased bottle, Roberto Cavalli Vodka was launched in September 2005. Followed by wines, restaurants and members’ clubs.

His eponymous luxury brand Cavalli celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2010. The company was named the number one women’s fashion label on Luxury Brand Status Index- released a coffee-table book- and held an extravagant party in Paris attended by Heidi Klum, Kylie Minogue, Naomi Campbell and Taylor Swift. Roberto Cavalli Home debuted at Salone del Mobile in 2012 and new licensing agreements were inked with Renzo Rosso’s OTB Group for Just Cavalli, Coty Inc. for Roberto Cavalli and Just Cavalli fragrance. The same year Cavalli’s second limited edition high-street line was launched for Australian Target. Georgia May Jagger was signed as the face of Just Cavalli perfumes in March 2013. The following year, the brand reported €210 million revenue and €12 million loss. Sadly, the search for buyers had begun.

Per LA Times: “The designer finally stepped aside as creative director of Roberto Cavalli SpA in 2013. He was married to Silvanella Giannoni from 1964 to 1974, and Eva Marie Düringer from 1980 until their divorce in 2010. He dated Sandra Nilsson starting in 2014 and welcomed a child with her in 2023. Cavalli had two children, Tommaso and Cristina, with his first wife and three — Robert, Rachele and Daniele — with his second.”

In 2015 Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR had ninety per cent stake in Roberto Cavalli with minor partners such as L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. Former Versace head Gian Giacomo Ferraris was appointed  CEO in July 2016 and began a re-organization and return to the brand’s Tuscan origins: the Milan headquarter closed and relocated to Osmannoro. ‘The profound knowledge of the sector and the important professional experiences of Gian Giacomo Ferraris will allow Roberto Cavalli to consolidate the path of relaunch that is at the base of the company’s development plans’ Cavalli said in a statement. The following year he appointed Paul Surridge as Creative Director of the maison.

To revamp its lines the Italian group focused on accessories, womenswear and menswear. A collaboration with DAMAC real estate developer to build Cavalli Villas in the Middle East stimulated growth of the Home division. In March 2019 Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli closed its US stores and prepared to liquidate its North American operations. In November, Hussain Sajwani, President of Dubai-based DAMAC Properties, purchased the fashion brand through private investment company Vision Investments. Per BoF: ‘The company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2019 and later that year it was bought by Dubai-based real estate devloper Vision Investment Co. LLC, which had an existing relationship with the brand thanks to a project of Cavalli-designed luxury villas hotel in the Middle-Eastern capital launched in 2017 and slated to be finished by 2020.’

In a more recent development Roberto Cavalli S.p.A appointed Fausto Puglisi as its creative consultant. ‘I am honoured and proud to carry on the legacy of this extraordinary brand and, above all, to continue to support Roberto Cavalli’s image of glamour and refinement’ he said in a release. ‘This is a unique opportunity to write a new chapter in Cavalli’s history, continuing to celebrate the legacy of Italian craftsmanship and excellence.’ Since, the luxury fashion brand has enhanced its e-commerce primarily as a result of the global pandemic while maintaining its stores in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Sadly though the iconic fashion designer passed away this week after a long illness, at his home in Florence. “It is with great sadness that today we say our final goodbyes to our founder Robert Cavalli” the company said in a statement Friday on Instagram. “From humble beginnings in Florence Roberto succeeded in becoming a globally recognised name loved and respected by all. Naturally talented and creative, Roberto believed that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves. Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his creativity, his love of nature and via his family who he cherished.”

Mission Statement

To focus on the client’s desires and needs while keeping constantly high professional standards.


Roberto Cavalli envisioned creating wild, fabulous products of the highest quality that would always be a statement piece… be it fashion or interiors. The Italian luxury brand is bold, expressive and, at times, non-conformist. It is synonymous with sensuality, joy, excess and glamour, and is targeted primarily at bold confident women who like edgy, statement looks. Unapologetic glamour with an Italian master craftsman’s couture sensibilities, has become Cavalli’s signature style.

Products and Services

Cavalli retails apparel and accessories.. fragrance and eyewear.. home line and interiors.. and Vodka. the iconic fashion designer is particularly acclaimed for stretch Lycra denim, patchwork denim and animal prints on leather. His newest showing for Fall Winter 2024 was a success. Per Vogue: “Though the techniques used to reproduce marble’s veins and flakes on the floor-length dévoré dresses were doubtless complicated, the clingy results looked easy to wear while remaining elegant. And the same can be said for the crinkly slip dresses whose mottled prints almost looked tie-dyed.”

Leadership Team

Roberto Cavalli (Founder)
Sergio Azzolari (CEO)
Fausto Puglis (Creative Consultant)