Roberto Cavalli: “Minimalism is the worst”
Roberto Cavalli truly personifies his brand – he is an audacious, booming Florentine who has an opinion on everything and a patently exalted spirit. The veteran Guido has been causing a scene since he landed on home shores, and TheVine was bestowed with the privilege of his presence at a press conference at Sydney’s Park Hyatt this week and for a quick chat after.
The bold, tanned, and unapologetically European designer rasps in an unmistakable smoker’s husk and is yet to be seen without his signature sunglasses. His swag truly augments his rockstar status among the fashion jungle, an industry he laments has now “become too international”, implying that today’s rag trade, with the advent of online, lacks the allure it did when he started his estimated $1 billion empire over 40 years ago.
Here to launch his 42-piece capsule collection for Target (and also to make a cameo at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse for a spring racing Saturday tomorrow) Cavalli is excited that the women of our country are destined to be donned in all the leopard-print and gold embellishments his latest diffusion deal has to offer, “I’m excited to bring the joyful and positive spirit of my work to a new audience... When I set out to design this collection I had a wonderful party in mind with all women dressed glamourously and sensually. The inspiration has always comes from the wonders of nature... fantasy, colour and fun!”
A mixture of two and one-piece swimwear, shapely shorts, arresting dresses and strappy, occasionally metallic heels, the designer tells TheVine he has no patience for the market’s current fixation with sports luxe and understatedness, “[the worst fashion trend at the moment is] minimalism.”
“I had the possibility to make all the women that cannot afford a Cavalli to wear my dream and my fantasy” though, so sharply cut neoprene may be over before you can say Vogue.
Cavalli ruminated on helming previous high-street collections (namely, his sold-out in 45-minutes H&M range five years ago) and laughed over the re-sale of items online – still legitimately shocked “that they are there for hundreds of dollars!” He also shared that at the New York launch of his previous H&M collection, he “put out a cigarette” in the gutter street, and saw the butt online for thousands later.
That wasn’t the only anecdote he recounted. In his thick Italian accent he reminisced on a fling that cemented his love for Australian women – “I met an Australian girl one day in Florence and it was love at first sight. She looked at me, I looked at her, I thought to myself ‘fantastic legs’... It was a wonderful night! The day after she left, I knew just her first name... Gloria.” Cavalli was so besotted with the stranger that he approached the Australian embassy requesting Gloria’s details, reuniting with her soon after.Clearly, it is Cavalli’s cheek and the deep-as-his-necklines love for women that has aptly built his supreme sex-saturated space, “I want to make all the girls here happy. Australia is an important market [even though] you are an island in the middle of the world; you are a country of beautiful women!”
Since making his runway debut at 1970’s Paris Fashion Week, with leather, gowns and innovate printing techniques, the 71-year-old, who still directs his eponymous label with wife Eva, now has five ready-to-wear lines – Roberto Cavalli Woman, Roberto Cavalli Man, Just Cavalli, Class Roberto Cavalli and Roberto Cavalli Angels & Devils – forays into furniture, cosmetics and “the best club in the world” to his name.
Of the creative process though, Cavalli says that “designing a collection every six months is very challenging. I always need to get the right inspiration and it is not easy because nowadays fashion is everywhere thanks to the TV, movies and internet and women become very demanding. I keep things fresh by travelling a lot, taking pictures in places full of nature and wild life. Another thing that is inspiring to me is to be with young people because I learn so much from them.”
And, as far as beauty goes, “self-confidence, [a woman’s] eyes, and her personality” transcend wardrobe fixtures even though the leopard print purveyor warms “the worst fashion mistake a woman can make is match[ing] the wrong accessories with a beautiful dress.”The oracle has spoken.