If Roberto Cavalli's medium was music rather than fashion, he would be a rockstar. His first collections took the industry by storm in the 1970s and though Cavalli himself is now into his early seventies, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, he’s kicking his global presence into even high gear. With his own eponymous women’s and men’s collections, a range of diffusion lines enveloping Just Cavalli and CLASS Roberto Cavalli, fragrances and a newly debuted home collection, the designer has carved himself and his empire an ultra glamorous niche in the fashion stratosphere. We caught up with the Italian designer to find out the latest from his studio and what inspired him this season.
You’ve just launched the signature Florence Bag. Why do you think your home town is such a prestigious centre for leather ware?
In Tuscany, art is everywhere – it’s in the air. This is really the most precious source of inspiration one can have. It’s also a known fact that the real strength of us Florentines is in our undeniable creativity, and in the sublime craftsmanship that distinguishes our products, (which are) synonymous with excellence.
As a Tuscan man, these aspects are very close to my heart so my unconditional love for my hometown is what inspired me to create the Florence bag. It is born from my constant desire to experiment, to create something new. This is why I decided to make the bag in many colour variations, mixing together fine leathers - including crocodile skin - to give the bag a unique character. I also really enjoy playing with colours and combinations that might seem awful, but in the end turn out to be great!
I am so fond of Florence that creating a bag that stands for the high standard of Florentine leather goods along with all the art and tradition tied to this place was really the least I could do for it.
How does the Florence Bag define the ‘Cavalli Women’?
For me, the most glamorous accessory is a woman’s personality and this bag was created with a confident and positive woman in mind, one that will not let anyone control her, a woman free from constrictions.
What is your regular work day like?
When I’m at the office, I like to cut out some alone time, during which I can be creative, concentrate on working at my computer and listen to music, which really helps me in all creative aspects. I also work closely with my style office where I love to see how my ideas become reality. Most of my prints are born from computer elaborations of pictures that I take during my travels. I love to see how my photographs come alive on fabrics.
Who are some of your favourite musicians to listen to while you work?
I am very lucky because many (of my favourite) artists are also great friends of mine, like Duran Duran, Beyoncé and Lenny Kravitz.
What were some of your inspirations while designing the latest women’s collection?
For the latest collection I thought about terrestrial paradise populated by fantastic animals, the Eden of femininity, dresses that make the Cavalli woman sensual and mysterious. Hand-painted cloths feature prints that look like animal furs. The ‘trompe l'œil’ effect is enhanced by an illusionary mix of tigers and jaguars printed on pythons, furs printed with a python print and young horses transformed into crocodiles… I am very satisfied (with the result).
I want my clients to feel satisfied when they buy a creation of mine, because they don’t just purchase an accessory or a dress, they buy a dream.
THE DNA OF A FLORENCE BAG
Nowadays, one of the defining global symbols of a fashion maison is its handbags. Cavalli’s Florence Bag has written a new chapter in the art of Tuscan craftsmanship thanks to its handmade, artisan quality and meticulous details. The Florence Bag is entirely handmade by artisans according to the fine tradition of Florentine leatherwork. It is available in a range of materials from classic soft calfskin leather to robust and resistant calfskin with ‘Merinos’ (wool) print to precious skins such as python, ayers snakeskin and Elaphe. Experienced and skilled craftsmen put their mark on the Florence Bag during its production. It takes 12 hours to make just one piece. Nothing is left to chance and everything is checked for the smallest detail.
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