Breaking news today. Roberto Cavalli (November 15, 1940 – April 12, 2024) has died at age 83. The «King of Bling», who has been synonymous with vibrant animal prints and sand-blasted denim, has died in his hometown Florence.

«Surround yourself with love, because love will be the beacon of your life.» – Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli launched his eponymous label in 1970 after his textile print studies and presented his first prêt-à-porter collection at age 30. He rose to fame extremely fast thanks to a revolutionary printing procedure on leather that he patented. He went on to open his first boutique in Saint-Tropez in 1972, and was soon after invited to present at the Sala Bianca in Florence.

With Roberto Cavalli in 2011.

Throughout his career, Roberto Cavalli created very sexy clothes in bright and bold colors. Animal prints were in his DNA as well as a very innovative approach to fabrics. He went on to introduce additional lines, including RC Menswear, Just Cavalli, which was marketed to a younger consumer, and a children’s collection. The brand also expanded into hospitality, opening its Cavalli Café in Florence in 2002, a concept it eventually brought to other cities, including Milan, Ibiza and Miami.

According to BoF, his company has faced a series of challenges in the last decade: In 2014, it began posting annual losses. In 2015, the Cavalli family sold 90 percent of the business to private equity firm Clessidra Capital Partners. In 2019, it closed its US stores and laid off 93 employees. It filed for bankruptcy in Italy in March 2019. The company went on to be acquired by Dubai-based real estate devloper Vision Investment Co. LLC later that same year.

With Fausto Puglisi in Café Cavalli in Milano in 2012.

The Cavalli collections are currently designed by Fausto Puglisi.

At the home of Roberto Cavalli were lots of animals.

Personally speaking, I met Roberto on several occasions and was invited to his house several times in Florence. He loved animals and was a very kind man who loved to host. RIP, Roberto, you will be missed and I feel privileged to have so many beautiful outfits from you in my closet.

In Roberto’s living room in his house in Florence.

If you are interested, I invite you to read an interview with him from 2011 here.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht and Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli
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