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Roberto Cavalli

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Roberto Cavalli
Cavalli in 2009
Born(1940-11-15)15 November 1940[1]
Died12 April 2024(2024-04-12) (aged 83)
Florence, Italy
OccupationFounder of Roberto Cavalli
  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Justcavalli
  • Roberto Cavalli Junior
  • Roberto Cavalli Parfums
  • Roberto Cavalli Home
Spouse(s)Silvanella Giannoni (1964–1974)
Eva Düringer (1980–2010)
PartnerSandra Nilsson

Roberto Cavalli (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto kaˈvalli]; 15 November 1940 – 12 April 2024) was an Italian fashion designer and inventor. He was known for exotic prints and for creating the sand-blasted look for jeans. The Roberto Cavalli fashion house sells luxury clothing, perfume and leather accessories.

Early life


Cavalli was born in a suburb of Florence, Italy on 15 November 1940.[1] His grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, an artist and member of the Macchiaioli Movement, produced work that was exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery. His father was killed in 1944 in the Cavriglia massacre [it], a Nazi reprisal on civilians, when he was four.[2] Cavalli enrolled at the local art institute, concentrating on textile print. While still a student, he made a series of flower prints on knit that caught the attention of major Italian hosiery manufacturers.[3]



In the early 1970s, he invented and patented a printing process on leather, and started creating patchworks of different materials. He debuted these techniques in Paris, immediately winning commissions from the likes of Hermès and Pierre Cardin. At age 32, he presented his first namesake collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. He brought it to the catwalks of the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and later his Milano Collezioni featured jeans made of printed denim, intarsia leathers, brocade, and wild-animal prints. In 1972, he opened his first boutique in Saint-Tropez.[4]

In 1975, he founded the house of Roberto Cavalli fashion, incorporating "femininity, spiritedness, and leopard print" as its pillars. The brand acquired appeal for its stable and unvarying looks despite the changing trends.[5]

In Milan in 1994, Cavalli presented the first sand-blasted jeans. By December of the same year, he had opened boutiques in Saint Barth, in the French Caribbean, followed by others in Venice and Saint-Tropez. Besides his main line, which is sold in more than 50 countries worldwide, Cavalli designed RC Menswear, as well as the youth-aimed diffusion line Just Cavalli, launched in 2000,[6] today encompasses men’s and women’s wear and accessories, watches, jewelry, perfumes, eye wear, under garments, and beach attire. There is also the Angels & Devils Children Collection, the Class line, shoes and two underwear collections. In 2002, Cavalli opened his first café-store in Florence, revamping it with his signature animal prints. Soon after, in Milan, the Just Cavalli café at Torre Branca opened, as well as another boutique on Via della Spiga.

In July 2011, his company collection was presented at the catwalk of The Brandery fashion show in Barcelona.[7]

On 18 June 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Master Diploma in Fashion Management from Domus Academy in Milan, during a ceremony after which he held a lectio magistralis.[8]

Personal life and death


In 1964, Cavalli married Silvanella Giannoni, with whom he had two children, before their divorce in 1974.

In 1977, while serving as a judge at the Miss Universe pageant, he met contestant Eva Düringer, whom he married in 1980. Together, they had three children and Düringer became his business partner. They worked together until selling the business. They divorced in 2010.[9]

In 2023, Cavalli announced the birth of his sixth child, with his partner, Swedish model and actor Sandra Nilsson.[9][10]

Cavalli died at his home in Florence, Italy, on 12 April 2024, aged 83, following a long period of ill-health.[11][12]



As of January 2014, Cavalli returned to the role of men's creative director from his son, Daniele Cavalli, starting with the 2014 fall collection, appointing Martyn Bal as his righthand man.[13] Also, on 24 January 2014, Gianluca Brozzetti (CEO) and Carlo Di Biagio (COO) announced they were leaving the fashion brand.[13]

In May 2014, Cavalli approached Investcorp, an investment firm in the Persian Gulf, as a potential buyer of a stake in his fashion brand.[14]

Many leading models have worked for the brand: Jessica Stam, Eva Riccobono, Laetitia Casta, Natasha Poly, Mariacarla Boscono, Karen Elson, Karolina Kurkova, and Ivan Olita[15] among others.[citation needed]

Former Acne Studios creative consultant Paul Surridge succeeded Peter Dundas as creative director for the brand in May 2017.[16]

In 2019, DAMAC Properties's Hussain Sajwani completed the acquisition of Italian fashion group Roberto Cavalli. [17]



Cavalli was sharply criticized in 2004 by the Hindu community for marketing a line of feminine underwear (designed for Harrods) which featured the images of Hindu goddesses. The line was eventually withdrawn and formal apologies were made.[18]

The Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi school of Islamic Sufism accused Cavalli of copying their "sacred emblem" for branding the Just Cavalli line.[19] The Sufi school brought forth a proceeding in Europe to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). "On 16 May 2014, the OHIM pronounced itself in the first degree rejecting the request made by the School to invalidate the Just Cavalli logo. The Court stated that the two logos are not mistakable and do not present any similarities."[20] Nonetheless, students of the Sufi school continued their protest.[20][21][22][23][24]


  1. ^ a b Steven Kurutz (12 April 2024). "Roberto Cavalli, Designer Who Celebrated Excess, Dies at 83". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Cuozzo, Ciro (12 April 2024). "Addio allo stilista Roberto Cavalli: il padre ucciso dai nazisti, le tre donne della sua vita, i sei figli (Giorgio nato un anno fa) e la malattia". Il Riformista (in Italian). Archived from the original on 12 April 2024. Retrieved 13 April 2024.
  3. ^ Roberto Cavalli, chi è l’ex moglie Silvana ilsussidiario.net
  4. ^ Zargani, Luisa (12 April 2024). "Roberto Cavalli Dies At 83". WWD. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on 13 April 2024. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  5. ^ Ramzi, Lilah (3 May 2024). "Before the Met's Show of Costume Institute Treasures, A Prediction of Future Fashion Collectibles". Vogue. Archived from the original on 10 May 2024. Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  6. ^ Caroline Leaper (22 April 2008). "Roberto Cavalli". Vogue. Archived from the original on 10 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  7. ^ "The Brandery Catwalk". Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Tuesday, June 18Th | Roberto Cavalli At". Domus Academy. 22 September 2015. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b Donnell, Chloe Mac (13 April 2024). "Roberto Cavalli, flamboyant Italian fashion designer, dies aged 83". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 12 April 2024. Retrieved 13 April 2024.
  10. ^ "Roberto Cavalli è diventato papà a 82 anni". tgcom24.mediaset.it. tgcom24.mediaset.it. 8 March 2023. Archived from the original on 8 March 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2023.
  11. ^ Phillips, Hedy (12 April 2024). "Roberto Cavalli, Italian Fashion Designer, Dead at 83: 'A Life Lived with Love'". Archived from the original on 13 April 2024. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  12. ^ Zargani, Luisa (12 April 2024). "Roberto Cavalli Dies At 83". WWD. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on 13 April 2024. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  13. ^ a b Turra, Alessandra (29 January 2014). "Daniele Cavalli Exits Roberto Cavalli". WWD. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Roberto Cavalli approaches Investcorp for possible investment". Reuters. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Singers designer, Armani as gettonato". Corriere della Sera. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  16. ^ Erica Gonzales, ROBERTO CAVALLI ANNOUNCES PETER SURRIDGE AS NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Former Acne creative consultant Paul Surridge succeeds Peter Dundas, who left in October. Archived 10 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine harpersbazaar.com 10 May 2017
  17. ^ Warrier, Ranju (1 December 2019). "Damac chairman's investment firm acquires Italy's Roberto Cavalli". Construction Week Online. Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Harrods apology over Hindu bikinis". BBC News. 9 June 2004. Archived from the original on 19 December 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2004.
  19. ^ "Designer Cavalli soll islamisches Symbol entweiht haben" [Designer Cavalli said to have desecrated Islamic symbol]. Der Spiegel (in German). Spiegel.de. 10 May 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b Swash, Rosie (29 May 2014). "Sufi students protest at Roberto Cavalli perfume logo's similarity to sacred symbol". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Cavalli Store At NorthPark Center Draws Protest". Dfw.cbslocal.com. 23 May 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Protest Held in Beverly Hills Over Designer's Use of Islamic Symbol". Losangelese.cbslocal.com. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  23. ^ "CNN News: Ice on the Great Lakes till June?". Cnnallnews.blogspot.co.uk. 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Is Roberto Cavalli Stealing Ideas Consistently?". GlamMonitor.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.