The Italian designer from Florence, Tuscany renowned for his bold animal prints and sand blasted jeans has created a label with an incredible identity. Cavalli’s designs exude a wild, glamorous sensuality and he has dressed some of the world’s most beautiful women from Kate Moss to Rita Ora who stars in his AW 14-15 campaign this year. He documented his fascinating life story in the autobiography, ‘Just Me’ which he launched last year unveiling stories from his childhood, his father’s murder, his first loves and building his fashion empire. The master of exotic prints and seductive womenswear talks to ÏU this season about nature, the beauty of a woman, the power of his dream and his new restaurant which has just opened in Ibiza this season.
Have you always been fascinated by the jungle and exotic prints?
Yes, since the beginning: the nature surrounding us is of overwhelming beauty for everyone, so I have been simply trying to copy that, to bring that kind of beauty in my fashion – think for example the skins and furs of some animals, with all the colours and patterns they wear! Honestly, I find God to be the greatest designer.
Which places in the world amidst nature inspire you the most?
I am very lucky: I had the chance to visit a lot of fascinating places in my life, full of nature and wildlife, which served to me as powerful inspiration... The Kruger Park for instance is among my most cherished memories: there my eyes had their first contact with real wildlife; those colours and sensations are still in my mind when I am in search of new ideas. Also Papua New Guinea has been very inspiring to me. It is a country where tourism exploitation has not arrived, yet it is able to surprise you for a variety of flora and fauna that has few equals in the world. I ventured out into unspoiled nature, provided with a great dose of sense of adventure and a lot of excitement.
Tell me about some of the animals that you have at your home?
I have dogs, cats, parrots, iguanas, and a big aquarium with a lot of colorful fish. Lupo, my German Shepherd, is always with me, he is like my shadow! I talk a lot about him also in my www. robertoCavalliblog.com. The dedication of my autobiography, ‘Just Me’, included all the animals who accompanied me, which have been a lot, because they all kept me company and were able to make me smile. Animals have great intelligence, they understand, and although at the beginning there might be a natural fear in them, with patience you build almost always a true friendship with them. I love their instinct, which I often compare to the naivety of a young person with no experience.
Do you have an excessive personality and if so what elements define your excessive nature?
My nature is not really so excessive… I’ll tell you a secret: I am a shy person. What made me famous among fashion designers is my style, the animal prints above all, and the desire to make women feel beautiful and sexy. But ‘excessiveness’ is not a concept that I embrace.
You’ve been quite rebellious throughout your career how has this aided your success?
Rebellion is a feeling that drives you against something; more than rebellious, I can say that I have been brave and I always had a strong spirit of freedom. I tend to be extremely passionate on what I do, even in difficult moments. I wanted to fulfill my dreams and I never stopped believing in them.
What has been the most daring moment in your career to date?
There have been a lot, actually! Once, I was looking for a new way to make the classic five-pocket jeans look more ‘special’, sexier... At that time I was working a lot with very soft leather, with which of course I could make skintight pants, but I wanted to use denim, not leather. To create a pair of jeans that could wrap legs and enhance the shapes of a woman’s body, I needed it to be elastic. So I decided to add a Lycra thread in the cotton fabric of the jeans, and the resulting fabric was printed with a python motive. Unfortunately the dye had stiffened the fabric, reducing its stretch properties. The solution I found was... using sandpaper! I cautiously began to work on those pair of jeans with it... and the fabric started to soften under my hands, I was so excited! The jeans were beautiful, comfortable, tight as I wanted and extremely sexy. It was a daring experiment but it resulted in such a big success!
Can you describe your style in three words?
Glamorous, sensual and feminine. My aim is to show the best of each woman in every occasion. I design for a woman who is self confident, fiercely passionate, with a strong sense of freedom, who is sexy and wants to look beautiful. I want women to feel empowered, sensual and glamorous in my clothes. You know, to seduce women you need to be unique and understand their passions; if you are a fashion designer like me, what you need is to be able to translate this into beautiful dresses!
Who are some of your fashion or style icons?
It’s a long list: every woman, every celebrity I dress is a sort of muse and a source of inspiration for me. Throughout my career I’ve understood that no matter how different they might appear, all of them have in common strength and sensuality. I have to say, dressing beautiful celebrities has never been just a business for me: the satisfaction and the pleasure of seeing my style interpreted in magnificent and different ways and styles always played a great role, too. That said, many of my celebrity clients, such as Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone and Halle Berry, have also become close friends of my wife and me. More recently, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Beyoncé and Shakira, both of whom have inspired me greatly, like modern muses.
Rita Ora is the face of Cavalli for this fall/winter tell me about her relationship with the brand and the concept behind the shoot?
Rita’s look in the new Roberto Cavalli A/W 14-15 advertising campaign evokes the divine Marilyn. Rita has a great charisma, a modern femininity, a magnetic and intriguing gaze combining with a glamorous and sophisticated attitude. She embodies the emotion of seduction… She started her career very young, proving that to be successful you need to have dedication and passion for what you do, and this is something we have in common: we share energy, desire, passion and enthusiasm.
When you started your label did you envision that Cavalli would have such a powerful identity?
Yes - I started my career with a vision and I am never tired of it: I cannot stop dreaming! ‘Dream’ is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of fashion, it is the essence of what you call the ‘powerful identity’ of the brand, at the base of every new project or new collection of mine, and of course of the never ending quest for new techniques to make my clothes unique. You can find my lifestyle vision also in the new Cavalli Ibiza Restaurant & Lounge, because my recipe is to dream, to experiment, to be free and love what you do.
Tell me about some of the lavish Cavalli décor throughout the Cavalli restaurant?
The décor is a sum of all my creativity. It is pretty essential, except some baroque pieces here and there and of course a lot of my ‘tribal chic’ style: printed silks, animal patterns on tablecloths and cushions... There’s always a mix of passions in my style: objects and furniture are cozy. They spread with colours warmth and joy of life.
Which items on the menu are the signature Cavalli dishes?
I can tell you which one I prefer! A delicious ‘branzino al sale’ (Rock salt encrusted Sea Bass) that I often have also when I am at home. It is the best to me, as it is of course my Cavalli ‘Tenuta Degli Dei’ red wine. I also suggest everyone to enjoy a cocktail prepared with my Roberto Cavalli Vodka, to fully enjoy the unique experience of being in my new Cavalli Ibiza Restaurant & Lounge!
Can you reveal plans for the parties you might host in ibiza this summer?
Of course not! But I can tell you that there will be the most beautiful women, the most beautiful music, and the most amazing food and drinks! Breathing freedom, passion and love is the best recipe for a perfect event and I promise I will do my best to make this happen!
THE CAVALLI RESTAURANT
The restaurant’s opulent jungle setting is furnished entirely with Cavalli homeware - his omnipresent signature print adorns leopard and zebra chairs, luxurious floral cushions and extravagant drapes. Step into this creation and enter Cavalli’s world. The sophisticated Italian menu has a Tuscan influence. Specialities include Plato Royal - a seafood platter, caviars and spaghetti vongole
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