Fashion Industry Reacts to Roberto Cavalli’s Death


MILAN – The news of Roberto Cavalli’s death at age 83 on Friday led to fond memories of the designer, his passion for the arts and fashion and his influence on Made in Italy.

“I cannot imagine a vision of fashion more distant from mine than that of Roberto Cavalli, yet I have always had enormous respect for him: Roberto was a true artist, wild and wonderful in his use of prints, capable of transforming fantasy into seductive clothes. I have learnt with great sadness of his passing: his Tuscan verve will be greatly missed,” said Giorgio Armani. 

Renzo Rosso, founder of OTB, which for years held the license for the Just Cavalli line, said the designer “has been an icon of Made in Italy in the world, his unmistakable style influenced entire generations of designers.”

Rosso, whose group controls brands ranging from Diesel to Maison Margiela, Marni and Jil Sander, was said to be aiming to buy the Roberto Cavalli brand in 2018. “I am deeply saddened by his death and I remember with a lot of affection the moments that we spent together. He was a brave artist, an extraordinary talent that never feared to dare and was always committed to exalt the excellence of Italy. His passing is a great loss for the fashion community and for Italy.”

“There is no one like Roberto. He was a true ‘bon vivant’ and his brand reflected this,” said Peter Dundas, who worked with Cavalli and his former wife Eva as head designer from 2002 to 2005, before returning to the brand and succeeding the founder in 2015 as Cavalli gradually eased out of fashion. Dundas was creative director of the brand until 2017.

“Arriving in the world of Cavalli was for me like a kid entering a candy store. Each design and every collection was a celebration. A celebration of femininity (or masculinity), a celebration of color, of pattern, of embroidery. Always a celebration of beauty and of sexuality,” said Dundas. “It was the best finishing school a kid like me could hope for and I am so grateful for the opportunities Roberto gave me to play, have fun with fashion and [for] giving me the freedom to find myself as a designer.

“When years later he asked me to return as the house’s creative director, it felt like the ultimate gift from one of the most visually generous designers the fashion world has known and he will always have a special place in my heart,” said Dundas.

Former Bulgari and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton executive Francesco Trapani, who spearheaded the acquisition of the Roberto Cavalli company in 2015 when he was chairman of Clessidra, said Cavalli “was a revolutionary designer,” which led to his gaining “great international success.”

The model Maria Carla Boscono shared a picture of the designer, saying “Ciao Roberto” on her Instagram Stories.

Mariacarla Boscono's story on her Instagram

Mariacarla Boscono story on Instagram

“His passing hits hard for everything he stood for, for Florence as a true Florentine and for Italian and international fashion. He excelled at everything he did… he worked with prints in such a unique way,” said Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine. “They were a great passion of his, he would sketch those prints. He was also such an eclectic character… from flying helicopters, [breeding] racehorses. He was passionate about art and a generous man. He truly meant a lot for Italian fashion. When someone dies people usually use superlatives, but I like to remember him for what he did, always supported by Eva.”

“Ciao to my old friend…I will miss you!” wrote Laudomia Pucci in a post on her Instagram account.

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Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah, who founded the Kuwait retail emporium Villa Moda that carried Cavalli’s collections, said “my most treasured memories of Florence are the fabulous dinners hosted by Roberto at his house with his wonderful wife, Eva.

“I’ll never forget the setting, the food, the atmosphere and above all Roberto’s amazing sense of humor, and how he teased Eva with his old stories of flirting with girls. May his soul rest in peace and he will always be remembered and in our hearts and prayers,” Al-Sabah said.

The photographer Mert Alas of the fashion photography duo Mert and Marcus shared an advertising campaign from 2004 on his Instagram account paying homage to Cavalli.

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Spanish-born model and actor Jon Kortajarena posted on his Instagram Stories a photo of himself and the designer.

Jon Kortajarena's story on his Instagram

Jon Kortajarena story on Instagram

The entrepreneur Federico Marchetti on his Stories wrote, “Roberto was always kind and generous soul. Rest in peace”

Federico Marchetti story on his Instagram

Federico Marchetti story on his Instagram



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