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Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli dies at 83

The fashion icon's company made the announcement on social media, calling Cavalli a "recognized name loved and respected by all."
Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli dies at 83
Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 12, 2024

Designer Roberto Cavalli, "loved and respected by all" and celebrated for his choices of excess and glamor in the world of fashion, has died. He was 83. 

His company wrote on social media final goodbyes were said with "great sadness" after the founder's death. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cavalli was thought to have been in poor health for a significant period of time. 

Cavalli was known for a signature style that utilized animal prints and "molto Italiano" aesthetics to portray a look of opulence for his clients. 

Starting out with "humble beginnings" in Florence, his brand writes, he "succeeded in becoming a globally recognized name."

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Cavalli began his career designing jackets in the 1970s, the New York Times reported. His famously haute hippie frocks are displayed in museums now, but were a part of his product line for elegant event and street wear in the vein of St. Tropez's French Riviera elegance, worn by the likes of entertainers including Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot.

He was called "naturally talented and creative," and was known to believe "that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves."

The Business of Fashion called Cavalli's brand flamboyant and intricate, as he later went on to design gowns with an "unapologetic glamour" and with "fluidity." Stars new and old would don his designs. 

In 2007 he appeared with American pop singer Jessica Simpson and kissed her on the red carpet at that year's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala in New York.

Born in the historic Italian city of Florence in the Tuscany region, Cavalli enrolled at a local art institute to learn textile printing. He would later go on to invent and patent a leather-printing procedure in the early 1970s and began creating patchworks. 

He was able to take those innovations to Paris where he caught the attention of brands like Pierre Cardin and Hermès. It was in Paris where Cavalli, at 30, presented his first collection using his name at the Salon for Prêt-á-Porter, according to the Business of Fashion.

His career in the years to come would face obstacles, including a near closing of one of his factories. In the 1990s he was credited with a reinvention of high-end denim, adding Lycra to jeans to make them fit tighter and move with more stretch. After the mid-1990s he was seen as one of the most recognizable names in fashion, the New York Times reported.

Cavalli is survived by his longtime partner Sandra Bergman Nilsonn and his six children, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

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