Have you ever found yourself inexplicably drawn to animal prints, especially those appearing on leather, of all fabrics? Maybe something True Fashionista colorful and artsy, the colors all swirling together like a light show? Thought so. Chances are you’re a Roberto Cavalli fan, like a whole bunch of us round the world.

Born November 15, 1940 in Florence, Italy, Roberto Cavalli inherited the artistic talent that ran in his family. His grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, was a talented Impressionist painter and his mother a seamstress, so it was no surprise that Cavalli ended up attending the Academy of Art in Florence in the late 1950’s, concentrating in textile print. This Cavalli, however, found his artistic expression in applying paint to textiles in new inventive ways, thereby creating exciting new clothing designs, shares Vogue Magazine. He reflected, “My dream, maybe because of my family, was to be a painter. I chose in one moment the direction of textiles; from textiles I went to fashion.”

Cultivating his ideas for many years while raising two children with first wife Silvanella Biannoni, Roberto showcased his innovative designs in his 1970 debut collection. Using glove skin from a French tannery, he figured out how to make evening gowns in dyed leather, including one of Cavalli’s initial designs, a pink leather gown. Seeing the value in this process, he promptly patented it and started earning commissions from other design houses including Hermès and Pierre Cardin. He went on to invent and showcase jeans made of printed denim, intarsia leathers, brocade and wild prints. (Wikipedia)

Cavalli was also a visionary in recognizing up and coming fashion hotspots, opening his first boutique in Saint-Tropez in 1972 when it was still a quiet fishing village.

In 1977, he was a judge for the Miss Universe pageant where he met his second wife, Eva Duringer, who placed second in the contest representing Austria. Their 1980 marriage brought three more children into the Cavalli family, Soon after, he had opened boutiques in French Caribbean locale of Saint Barth, followed by others in Venice and Saint Tropez. Besides his main clothing line available worldwide, Cavalli also launched RC Menswear around this time.

While the minimalist fashions of the eighties did not exactly gel with Cavalli’s visions, he came back in full force by the decade’s end with the introduction in 1988 of sand-blasted jeans, followed a few years later by a collaboration with Lycra in 1995 to invent stretch jeans. However, things really ramped up for Roberto with the turn of the millennium.

Started in 2000 aimed at youth, Just Cavalli today encompasses men’s wear, women’s wear and accessories, eyewear, watches, jewelry, perfumes, underwear, and beachwear. Cavalli’s ideas have also spawned the Angels & Devils Children Collection, the Class line, two underwear collections, shoes, watches and perfumes.

In full entrepreneurial spirit, 2002 saw Cavalli open his first café-store in Florence, designing it with his signature animal print motif. This was shortly followed by the opening in Milan of the Just Cavalli café at Torre Branca and another boutique on Via della Spiga. (Wikipedia) Nightclubs and event spaces in Italy also operate under the Just Cavalli moniker, where Roberto Cavalli vodka (stored in signature snakeskin bottles and launched in 2005) is also served. These spaces are also outfitted in True Fashionista Cavalli print-turned-décor. The meld of fashion, food and design has come to be characterized as signature Roberto Cavalli.

In December 2004, Cavalli sponsored an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York. Dubbed “Wild: Fashion Untamed”, the exhibition examined the human fascination with animal skins and animal references in clothing throughout history. In 2011, Cavalli told Vogue, “I like everything that is of nature. I started to appreciate that even fish have a fantastic colored ‘dress’, so does the snake, and the tiger. I started to understand that God is really the best designer, so I started to copy God.”

Cavalli was appointed in 2007 by some of the music industry’s leading ladies, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and the Spice Girls, to design costumes for their concerts. Then in 2008, Diet Coke came calling in search of a limited-edition animal print Diet Coke bottle, or as they say in Italy, “Coca Light”.

In 2013, Cavalli was awarded an Honorary Master Diploma in Fashion Management from Milan’s Domus Academy.

Currently, Cavalli’s stateside success has taken a bit of a backslide, as all US stores have recently closed while the company restructures its American holdings. Cavalli fans need not despair, however, as their presence is felt throughout the rest of the world and of course, online.

Find your Roberto Cavalli at a fraction of the original cost at True Fashionista Resale, either in store or online. And go wild!



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