Remembering The Extravagant And Glamorous Roberto Cavalli

Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, who took the fashion world by storm through his boldly glamorous pieces, has passed away at 83. 

Just shortly after the death of Iris Apfel, the world of fashion has lost yet another talent in its roster of legendary figures: Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, whose flamboyant and vibrant sense of style changed the landscape of his industry in more ways than one. His eponymous brand announced his passing through an official Instagram post.

Roberto Cavalli
Roberto Cavalli/Photo via Instagram @roberto_cavalli

“You may not be physically here with us anymore but I know I will feel your spirit with me always,” added Puglisi in his tribute. “It is the greatest honor of my career to work under your legacy and to create for the brand you founded with such vision and style.”

“His legacy remains a constant source of inspiration,” shared Azzolari, who also extended his condolences to Cavalli’s family for their loss. 

“Roberto believed that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves,” the tribute post wrote. “Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his creativity, his love for nature, and via his family who he cherished.”

READ ALSO: Remembering A Style Maven: Designer Iris Apfel Passes Away At Age 102

Remembering a Visionary

More friends, collaborators, and key figures in the fashion industry flocked to social media to pay their respects. This includes British designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, who posted a photo of herself holding hands with her late friend. “So sorry to hear the sad news of Roberto’s passing. He’ll forever be an icon,” she wrote, reports Ellie Muir of Independent

Designer Giorgio Armani also wrote a heartfelt post about Cavalli through the official X account of his fashion label. “Roberto was a true artist, wild and wonderful in his use of prints, capable of transforming fantasy into seductive clothes,” he wrote. 

“He made the world a more beautiful place and will be dearly missed. May he rest in peace!” said American singer and actress Jennifer Hudson in an X post

Big and Bold

Born in Florence, Italy, Cavalli made his mark on the fashion industry through his daring animal-print outfits and playfully sexy styles that defined 70s fashion. According to Rebecca Cohen of NBC News, the designer “revolutionized” jeans through patchwork denim and a sandblasting technique that gave the material a distressed edge. He also came up with a special printing technique for leather and added Lycra to jeans for a more form-fitting appearance. 

As his tribute post mentioned, Cavalli was a fan of all things nature. This is why he incorporated animal patterns into his designs, from the spotted coats of big cats to giraffes. In a talk with Oxford students, he shared that “God is the best designer in the world,” writes Samantha Conti for Women’s Wear Daily

Star Power

Like Iris Apfel, his aesthetic sensibilities leaned more into maximalism. He never compromised this vision even when minimalism was gaining traction in the industry. Over the years, Cavalli gathered many fans, including celebrities like Shakira, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, according to Steven Kurutz in a New York Times feature. 

Miley Cyrus in a bustier mini dress from Roberto Cavalli's Spring Summer 2004 Archive
Miley Cyrus in a bustier mini dress from Roberto Cavalli’s Spring Summer 2004 Archive/Photo via Instagram @roberto_cavalli
Roberto Cavalli with Beyoncé
Roberto Cavalli with Beyoncé/Photo via Instagram @robertocavalli

Actress and model Zendaya also sported a Jazz Age-inspired Cavalli dress in the recent 2024 Green Carpet Fashion Awards. International music sensation (and now full-fledged billionaire) Taylor Swift is also a fan of the designer. She sported a number of his fashion label’s designs on and off the stage, including her Eras tour

Though his business experienced some ups and downs as the industry’s trends changed, Cavalli’s legacy continues to this day. It’s a testament to how authenticity can never go out of fashion, as late the designer was certainly someone who always stayed true to his vision. 

Banner photo via Instagram @robertocavalli.

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