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Designer Roberto Cavalli dies aged 83

‘It is with great sadness that today we say our final goodbyes to our founder,’ company says in statement

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Friday 12 April 2024 22:22 BST
Related: Roberto Cavalli has become a dad for the sixth time aged 82

Fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has died aged 83.

The news of Cavalli’s death was first announced by Italian news agency ANSA, who reported that Cavalli had succumbed to an illness and died on 12 April in his home in Florence, Italy. The renowned designer’s death was later announced by the Instagram account of his namesake brand, with the company extending their condolences to the Cavalli family as well as honouring his legacy.

Among a carousel of quotes from the late designer, the brand issued a statement announcing his death. “A life lived with Love,” the fashion label wrote. “It is with great sadness that today we say our final goodbyes to our founder Roberto Cavalli. From humble beginnings in Florence.”

“Roberto succeeded in becoming a globally recognised name loved and respected all,” the statement continued. “Naturally talented and creative, Roberto believed that everyone can discover and nurture the artist within themselves. Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his creativity, his love of nature and via his family who he cherished.”

The statement was concluded with a quote from Cavalli, saying: “Surround yourself with love, because love will be the beacon of your life.”

According to Sergio Azzolari, CEO of the Roberto Cavalli company, the founder’s legacy will remain a “constant source of inspiration” for years to come. The brand’s creative director Fausto Puglisi added that the designer was a “beacon of inspiration” for others.

“Dear Roberto, you may not be physically here with us anymore but I know I will feel your spirit with me always,” Puglisi said. “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 burst onto the fashion scene in St Tropez, when he found devoted fans in actors like Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. He garnered popularity for his penchant for prints, which was seen in his first namesake collection in the 1970’s. However, Cavalli’s popularity hadn’t crossed over internationally yet, according to The New York Times.

It was only when he came out with his own spin on denim in the ‘90s that Cavalli became a worldwide sensation. He was the first to put Lycra fabric in jeans, which enabled the fabric to fit like a glove. Supermodels like Naomi Campbell strutted down his runway shows throughout the decade, donning his trailblazing take on denim.

The designer would use his flair for fabrics and patterns across a wide variety of styles for men and women, wowing fashion fans everywhere with his glamourous designs.

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 Sandra Nilsson, who he has been with since 2014.

Before Nilsson, Cavalli married Silvanella Giannoni in 1964, and together they welcomed two children. They later divorced in 1974 and by 1980 he married a former Miss Universe contestant, Eva Duringer. He and Duringer went on to welcome three children. They later became business partners, working together until they sold the business. The couple divorced in 2010.

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