Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Hudson lead tributes to fashion designer Roberto Cavalli after death aged 83

The Italian designer’s death was announced by his company on Friday

Ellie Muir
Monday 15 April 2024 17:28 BST
Victoria Beckham leads tributes to Roberto Cavalli

Victoria Beckham led tributes to the “icon” fashion designer Roberto Cavalli after his death, aged 83.

Cavalli, whose death was announced by his company on Friday, became renowned in the early 1970s for his colourful animal prints and flamboyant aesthetic.

Former Spice Girl and fashion designer Beckham shared a tribute on her Instagram stories, posting a photo of herself holding hands with Cavalli while he had his hand raised and made the peace sign.

She wrote: “So sorry to hear the sad news of Roberto’s passing. He’ll forever be an icon.”

Fashion designer Giorgio Armani labelled Cavalli a “true artist” in a post shared by the Armani account on X/Twitter.

Armani said: “I cannot imagine a vision of fashion more distant from mine than that of Roberto Cavalli, yet I have always had enormous respect for him: Roberto was a true artist, wild and wonderful in his use of prints, capable of transforming fantasy into seductive clothes.

“I have learnt with great sadness of his passing: his Tuscan verve will be greatly missed.”

Brazilian model Adriana Lima said alongside a picture of her and Cavalli on Twitter/X: “Unapologetic in style & spirit. We lost a legend today. Rest in Peace, @Roberto_Cavalli”.

Cavalli pictured with Victoria Beckham in 2005
Cavalli pictured with Victoria Beckham in 2005 (AFP via Getty Images)

American singer and actor Jennifer Hudson wrote on the platform: “Roberto Cavalli was always one of my favorite designers. A true artist in every sense of the word!

“He made the world a more beautiful place and will be dearly missed. May he rest in peace!”

Celebrities including Maya Jama attended the Roberto Cavalli Fall 2024 Ready to Wear shoot in February.

Last month, Dune and Challengers star Zendaya wore Cavalli at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards.

She sported a grey fringed Roberto Cavalli gown from the spring/summer 2011 collection, with a deep-V neckline and an open back.

Roberto Cavalli photoraphed in 2014
Roberto Cavalli photoraphed in 2014 (Getty Images)

Her Cavalli outfit at the event tapped into the resurgence of the boho trend – recently seen during Paris Fashion Week.

Beyonce’s 2016 visual album Lemonade was a cultural milestone, and one of her most iconic outfits was a yellow dress by Roberto Cavalli in the music video for her song “Hold Up”, which features the singer wielding a baseball bat and smashing car windows.

Beyoncé wearing Cavalli in the music video of ‘Hold Up’
Beyoncé wearing Cavalli in the music video of ‘Hold Up’ (Parkwood Entertainment)

On the big screen, Eva Green – the first Bond girl of the Daniel Craig era – wore a purple Cavalli dress with a jewelled neckline.

Cavalli launched his eponymous label in 1970 and cemented his name when he patented a new way of printing on leather. He showcased his revolutionary technique for the first time in his debut collection in Paris, which featured a pink leather evening gown.

He later turned his attention towards denim and worked with Lycra to invent stretch jeans.

The form-fitting jeans were an instant commercial success, leading him to launch a dedicated line, Cavalli Jeans, which were often made in his recognisable and colourful animal print. Those jeans now fetch generous sums in the vintage reselling market.

Cavalli pictured in 2014
Cavalli pictured in 2014 (Getty Images)

In October 2020, the Sicilian designer Fausto Puglisi was appointed creative director. In a statement from the brand announcing Cavalli’s death, Puglisi wrote: “Dear Roberto, you may not be physically here with us any more, but I know I will feel your spirit with me always.

“It is the greatest honour of my career to work under your legacy and to create for the brand you founded with such vision and style. Rest in peace you will be missed, and you are loved by so many that your name will continue on, a beacon of inspiration for others, and especially for me.”

Cavalli – born in Florence on 15 November 1940 – is survived by six children. He welcomed his sixth child, Giorgio, in March 2023 with his partner the Swedish model and actor Sandra Nilsson.

With additional reporting from PA.

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