The Ultimate Guide to Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli is a fashion house in Italy founded and named after the fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. The label makes and markets ready-to-wear, haute couture, and accessories, including purses, watches, eyeglasses, perfumes, shoes, and jewelry. And, if you’re considering buying your own accessories, you might want to check out our ultimate guide to fashion accessories.

It is known for its glamour and animalier prints on textiles and leather. In addition, the company creates interior design projects for high-end hotels and buildings.

Here is the ultimate guide to Roberto Cavalli, covering everything from the fashion house’s history to the various types and styles it offers.

Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli at the opening of Just Cavalli Store on 5th Avenue, New York City

Roberto Cavalli is best known for his eponymous collection of luxury perfume, apparel, and accessories, but did you know he is also an innovator with a patented printing procedure? Continue reading to learn more about the man behind the Roberto Cavalli collection, his stylistic vision, and his impact on the fashion world.

Roberto Cavalli was born in the Tuscan town of Florence. Giuseppe Rossi, his grandpa, was a member of the Macchiaioli Movement and an artist whose work was displayed in the Uffizi Gallery. 

Cavalli enrolled in the local Art Institute, specializing in textile print. He created a sequence of flower prints on knit while still a student, which drew the attention of large Italian hosiery factories.

He created and patented a printing method on leather in the early 1970s, and he began constructing patchworks of various materials. The designer first used these techniques in Paris, where he quickly received requests from designers such as Pierre Cardin and Hermès.

He debuted his first namesake collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris at 32. He brought it to the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence and Milano Collezioni, with intarsia leathers, brocade, jeans made of printed denim, and rugged designs. In 1972, he founded his first store in Saint-Tropez.

Roberto Cavalli wedded Eva Düringer, a past Miss Austria and first runner-up in the Miss Universe competition in 1977, in 1980. Cavalli debuted the first sand-blasted jeans in Milan in 1994. By December of the same year, the designer had launched boutiques in Saint Barth, in the French Caribbean, and Saint-Tropez and Venice.

In addition to the mainline, which is sold in more than fifty countries worldwide, Roberto Cavalli designs RC Menswear and the youth-oriented line Just Cavalli. This was launched in 2000 and now includes women’s wear, men’s wear, and accessories such as eyewear, jewelry, watches, underwear, perfumes, and beachwear. There are also two underwear lines, the Class line, shoes, watches, eyewear, fragrances, and the Angels & Devils Children Collection.

Cavalli established his first café-store in Florence in 2002, redesigning it with his distinctive animal designs. This was quickly followed by the inauguration of the Just Cavalli café at Torre Branca in Milan and another boutique on Via della Spiga.

Roberto Cavalli served as a judge at the Miss Universe 1977 pageant, where his future wife (Eva Duringer) competed and finished second. His corporate collection debuted on the catwalk of The Brandery runway show in Barcelona in July 2011.

Cavalli has five children: Christiana and Tommaso from his first marriage, and Sara, Robert, and Daniele from his second marriage.

On June 18, 2013, Domus Academy in Milan gave Cavalli an Honorary Master Diploma in Fashion Management during a ceremony,  followed by a lectio magistralis.


The Accademia di Belle Arti seen from Piazza San Marco

Year of Establishment

Roberto Cavalli received his education at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Firenze (Academy of Fine Arts of Florence). His grandfather was a well-known Macchiaioli group painter. In the 1960s, he began his fashion career.

Working in his silk printing factory, he applied a new painterly method to entirely fashioned garments, leading to garment dyeing. Throughout the 1970s, he continued to experiment with different materials, primarily leather.

The Italian fashion designer’s breakthrough collection in Paris in 1970 featured his leather patchwork pieces developed with Mario Valentino’s collaboration. In 1972, he debuted his patchwork designs on jeans at the inaugural Roberto Cavalli women’s runway collection exhibit at Palazzo Pitti, Florence, the main prêt-à-porter event in Italy at the time. Many international fashion houses, including Hermès, Krizia, Pierre Cardin, and Emilio Pucci, were drawn to his work.


The Cavalli Woman was on display at the 1994 Milan Fashion Week, with jungle and tiger patterns applied to jeans, embroidered fur, printed apparel, and long, opulent gowns that showed off the figure. Animalier patterns were a distinguishing feature of the company. Later, sand-blasted denim was introduced, and the fashion company was the first to present Lycra stretch jeans.

Angels & Devils (rebranded Roberto Cavalli Junior), Just Cavalli, and Class Cavalli were all introduced to the market. In 1996, the first Roberto Cavalli mono-brand boutique debuted in Venice. By the end of 2001, the brand was available in over 30 countries, including Asian, American, and Russian markets.

The Marcolin group began developing and distributing optical frames and sunglasses by Roberto Cavalli and Just Cavalli. In 2002, the business collaborated with Sector to create six Cavalli watch lines, which generated €3.9 million in revenue. The same year, the Just Cavalli Club opened in Milan. Roberto Cavalli was the first Italian fashion house to create a limited selection for the fast-fashion retailer H&M in 2007.

During the label’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2010, it exhibited an exclusive runway collection in Paris that contained most of its classic garments. The new interior design subsidiary Roberto Cavalli Home launched at the Salone del Mobile trade event in 2012, led by Roberto Cavalli.

New licensing agreements for Just Cavalli and Roberto Cavalli perfumes were signed with Renzo Rosso’s OTB Group and Coty Inc. In 2014, the company had €210 million in revenue and a €12 million loss.

Ownership Transfer

a profile picture of Hussain Sajwani, Founder and Chairman of DAMAC Properties

Clessidra SGR, an Italian private equity group, purchased a 90% share in Roberto Cavalli in 2015, along with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, L-GAM, and the florentine designer himself. Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who was named CEO in July 2016, began a reorganization plan to rationalize the logistics, production, and retail cost operations.

The firm returned to its Tuscan roots, closing its Milan headquarters and relocating to the Osmannoro plant, where children’s, men’s, and underwear lines were brought back in-house. The group’s focus was on women’s pret-à-porter, accessories, and men’s collections.

Following the resignation of Peter Dundas, who had held the position since 2015, the company selected Paul Surridge as the new creative director in May 2017. Surridge debuted his Roberto Cavalli Summer/Spring 2018 collection at the Milano Moda Donna fashion show. A recent collaboration with the Dubai-based real estate developer DAMAC Properties resulted in creation of the new Cavalli Villas in the Middle East.

In 2019, the corporation was experiencing financial difficulties. It closed its US stores and liquidated its North American operations. The president of DAMAC, Hussain Sajwani, purchased the company on November 28, 2019, through the private investment firm Vision Investments.

The corporation improved its e-commerce while keeping its physical stores in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia open. The corporation declared in 2020 that it would relocate its historic headquarters from Sesto Fiorentino to Milan.

Roberto Cavalli’s Various Styles


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Flamboyant Prints

Roberto Cavalli is most recognized for dressing his models in intricate and ornate designs inspired by other countries, decades, and traditions. From Apache and Navajo designs to paisley and jacquard stripes reminiscent of the 1970s rock scene, Cavalli reinvents well-loved aesthetics and makes the old fresh.

The motifs are frequently bright and ornamental, and they always compliment, instead of competing with, the silhouette of every piece. Cavalli is a fan of animal prints, florals, and ethnic designs, which he effortlessly applies to his outfits for a genuinely opulent aesthetic. The designer also likes using sequins and embroidery to bring a sense of high craftsmanship and romance to each gown.


Cavalli’s exuberant patterns are skilfully fashioned onto various shapes, styles, and fabrics that seamlessly complement the female form for an ultra-glam aesthetic. Although Cavalli’s looks are undoubtedly seductive and appealing, they are frequently voluminous and free-flowing to produce a subtle, feminine grace.

His floating dresses frequently include lace, ruffles, and embroidered components that show the meticulous attention to detail and excellent quality of each piece; accessories like pearls, beads, and metallic stitching further add to the decadence of each item. He is a genius at making each piece wearable, tasteful, and incredibly covetable, no matter how risqué his garments are (he loves to play with translucent fabrics and barely-there cuts).

Rock & Roll

Most designers appear to flirt with the punk rock style to give some edge to their creations. Cavalli’s outfits are lavishly gorgeous, but they are also bold and modern: black and fuchsia tiger-striped shirts, red leather trousers, and acid-washed biker jackets have appeared in recent collections. His black taffeta dresses and ruffled skirts wonderfully encapsulate Cavalli’s paradox of rebellion and sensuality in one piece, demonstrating the designer’s creativity.

Roberto Cavalli’s Dress


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Roberto Cavalli first gained international acclaim with his Patchwork collection in 1971. In 1972, the Patchwork garments were displayed in Florence’s La Sala Bianca, Palazzo Pitti, or the famed White Room. Cavalli’s work astounded couture consumers and Italian couturiers in the early 1970s, who scorned the calico construction and dismissed faded denim as a workingman’s textile.

Few could, however, argue with the designer’s intuitive fusion of haute couture tailoring and handcrafted ornamentation. After images of Brigitte Bardot wearing a Cavalli printed jacket at Saint-Tropez were published, an appreciation for the designer’s love of street artistry was poured into 1970s high fashion, and Cavalli’s apparel became a staple of the closets of young, wealthy Europeans. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, his sand-blasted jeans, laser-cut and embroidered leathers, photographically printed denim, and brilliantly painted and patched furs finally gained critical praise.

Today, the name Roberto Cavalli is associated with fine leather processing. Because of the designer’s signature usage of calfskin (traditionally used in glove design), he can manipulate animal skins like silk. One piece from Cavalli’s spring/summer 2003 collection plays with a tattooist’s line and black leather biker culture while exhibiting sculptor’s grace with an elegant drape and perfect laser-cut edges, unmistakably conveying the wearer’s position and riches.

Roberto Cavalli Perfumes and Fragrances

Roberto Cavalli, an Italian fashion designer, began his career in the early 1970s and is recognized for his striking apparel designs and animal prints. Coty, Inc. now owns its fragrance line, originally licensed with ICR-ITF. Roberto Cavalli for Women, his debut fragrance, was released in 2002.

Here are the perfumes and fragrances (you might want to check out this guide to men’s fragrances) launched by the fashion house:

2003 – Roberto Cavalli Man 

2004 – Oro 

2005 – Serpentine 

2006 – Black for Men 

2006 – Just Cavalli Pink, Just Cavalli Blue 

2010 – Anniversary, Just Cavalli I Love Her, Just Cavalli I Love Him 

2012 – Roberto Cavalli For Her (by Coty) 

2013 – Just Cavalli, Just Cavalli for Him, Nero Assoluto, Roberto Cavalli Acqua, Roberto Cavalli Oud Edition, Tiger Oud 

2014 – Exotica, Just Gold, Oud al Qsat 

2015 – Essenza, Paradiso, Paradiso Azzurro 

2016 – Roberto Cavalli Uomo Gold Collection: Baroque Musk, Divine Oud, Golden Amber, Royal Iris, Supreme Sandal, Sumptuous Rose 

2017 – Paradiso Assoluto 



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The Cavalli group lines are represented by:

Roberto Cavalli

The antique evening gown collection. Daywear apparel and accessories, such as shoes, leather goods, handbags, and jewelry, were introduced in the new age.

Just Cavalli

Since 2011, the Just Cavallin line has been developed and distributed by licensing Renzo Rosso’s OTB, launched in 1998.

Class Cavalli

Swinger International has been distributing the men’s and women’s outwear collections since 2015.

Roberto Cavalli Junior

It is created in-house for girls and boys aged 0–16 years.

Roberto Cavalli Home

The interiors collections, officially unveiled in 2012 at the Salone del Mobile di Milano trade expo, are designed in partnership with Made in Italy partners. Caleffi SpA for home textile, JC Passion Srl for furniture, Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti SpA for tiles, Industrie Emiliana Parati SpA for wallpapers, Arnolfo di Cambio – La Murrina for lamps and accessories made with Murano glasses, and Compagnia del Cristallo Srl for l’Art de La Table are among them.


In 1996, the first Roberto Cavalli mono-brand boutique debuted in Venice, succeeded in 2000 by the Milan-based boutique via della Spiga, and new outlets in Florence and Rome. The group presently operates 29 franchisee stores and 49 direct stores in fashion streets and significant capital cities worldwide, including Milan, Paris, London, New York, Moscow, Miami, Dubai, San Paolo, and Hong Kong, among others.