Roberto Cavalli was born in Florence, Italy, in 1944. He attended the Florence Art Academy. He is a Scorpio. He is the grandson of Guiseppe Rossi, the great Florentine impressionist painter.
Cavalli started his career in 1965 when he was 21 years old, painting T-shirts with a girl he knew from art school. Then he set up a factory to do the printing, with a few young men, then by accident in the early 1970’s he began to paint on skin which was the first time anyone had done it. The girls who summered at Capri and St. Tropez adored it. Italian Vogue took notice of the young Cavalli.
In 1977 Roberto was invited to judge a Miss Universe contest, and met one of the contestants Eva who became his wife and mother of their 3 children. She started by helping with the knitwear garments and now helps with all the projects at the Cavalli factory.
For 20 years Cavalli has been making sexy garments which have been very successful in Italy and other European countries. His Spring 2002 collection, shown in Milan, covered a long catwalk with stripes and roses, mixed up with his usual wild animal prints, slashed, decomposed and embroidered endlessly.
In 1999 the opening of a store on Madison Avenue, in New York, whipped up great momentum. All the New York girls started wearing Cavalli jeans. Hot girls in hot places identified with the high glam sensibility of Cavalli’s clothes. His clothes were worn by the stars of TV’s hot serial “Sex and the City”. Elton John was in the store for hours picking out clothes.
Over 750 labels presented menswear collections in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy, for Fall 2002. Cavalli was the show’s favourite saluting his 20 year career. Cavalli himself opened a brand new boutique in the city’s historic centre.
Roberto Cavalli is now one of the favourite designers of show business celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige and Lenny Kravitz because of his whole strong approach, his colour, sexuality and boldness.
In Fall 2002, Roberto brought out his first fragrance. He was initially planning to call it Serpente, and in fact the bottle has the pattern of a snake’s skin, but then he called it “Roberto Cavalli Parfum”. It is as sensual as his clothing, blending sandalwood, citrus, rose and musk notes with the same verve as he mixes animal prints and florals on the catwalk.
In October 2002, in New York, the Fashion Group International voted Cavalli as the Designer of the Year, at a glittering function attended by all the New York fashion celebrities. He accepted the award gratefully saying “This means America accepts me”.