Judge rules against Cavalli's £1.8m of home improvements

The Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has been sentenced to 14 months in jail for tax evasion, after claiming the £1.8m cost of refurbishing his home as business expenses.

Cavalli, whose customers include Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Beyoncè Knowles, has denied any wrong-doing, claiming that the mansion is essential to his business.

His lawyer, Alessandro Traversi told the court in Florence that as Cavalli has always described his sprawling villa as the headquarters of his international label, he was justified in claiming the refurbishment as a business expense.

"It was fully borne out that the expenses in question were inherent to the work of the business, inasmuch as the designer's abode was an integral part of his company activity, besides being the prestigious showroom of the company, the place where events are held, photographic shoots conducted, etcetera," Mr Traversi said.

Cavalli did not attend yesterday's sentence hearing. He was on "essential business in the United States", his lawyer claimed.

Yesterday's sentence was immediately suspended because Cavalli, 65, is a first offender, but he intends to appeal against the verdict. "This verdict deserves to be reviewed," he said

Cavalli spent the money in a massive rebuilding project over four years between 1996 and 2000, adding two swimming pools, a gym and a helicopter hangar to the mansion on the hills outside Florence. "The house is not where I live. It is my studio, my showroom, my image, my fashion atelier" for clients like Madonna, Sting, Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Lopez, Cavalli has been quoted as saying.

Cavalli, born in Florence in 1940, won early acclaim for pioneering a way of printing on leather and became popular early in his career for his patchwork designs. His printing techniques have kept him in the limelight, but for the common or garden rock star it is the startling vulgarity of everything he touches, from his vast motor launch to his jewel-encrusted jeans and garish, skimpy and revealing frocks, that makes him irresistible.

For Florentines, however, ever conscious of their austerely magnificent cultural heritage, he has always been something of an embarrassment.

He described his most recent menswear collection as a "homage to the ancient oriental art of seduction and the grandeur of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart".

Last year, Cavalli announced an exclusive deal with Victoria Beckham, who often models at his fashion shows. "Women will call me saying they have seen Victoria wearing one of my dresses, and can they have one too," he said when unveiling the deal.

His designs sparked controversy in 2004, when an Indian customer at the Harrods department store in London noticed that a Cavalli underwear range bore images of a Hindu goddess.

Protesters from a Hindu rights group complained that the garments were an insult to their religion, and Harrods was forced to withdraw the range from sale.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York