Male, fierce, bold. Leather, prints, zips, whips. White, black, stark. Ripped, torn, dark. Mad, bad, too cool for school. Roberto Cavalli’s menswear design philosophy, although understated, has always been strongly male and animal-esque, especially when you consider just how may herds of cattle have sacrificed their hides, for his designs, on their passage to bovine glory.
Born in Tuscany, Cavalli begun his career in textile print. While still a student, he made a series of flower prints on knit that caught the attention of major Italian hosiery factories.
In the early 1970s, he invented and patented a revolutionary printing procedure on leather, and he started creating patchworks on different materials and debuted these techniques in Paris, immediately getting commissions from the likes of Hermes and Pierre Cardin.
At age 30, he presented his first namesake collection at the Salon for Prêt-à-Porter in Paris bringing his signature styleto the catwalks of the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and later on those of Milano Collezioni – jeans made of printed denim, intarsia leathers, brocade and wild prints. He then opened his first boutique in 1972 in Saint-Tropez and in 2002, by then enjoying worldwide presence, Cavalli opened his first café-store in Florence, revamping it with his signature animal prints.
Besides the main line, which is sold in over fifty countries worldwide, Roberto Cavalli designs RC Menswear as well as the youth aimed line Just Cavalli, launched in 1998 and comprising today men’s wear, women’s wear and accessories, eyewear, watches, perfumes, underwear and beachwear. He also designs for his Angels & Devils Children Collection.
His 2010 Spring Summer Collection for Men smoulders – it’s lean, mean, yet endearing macho a la Hugh Jackman – moody, ripped and angry, yet you can’t quite look away from the dark emotion that’s infused and imprinted all over the signature leather pieces. Look out for Cavalli’s mix of stark white shirts against leather bottoms, distressed T-Shirts and fitting jackets – very appealing.
It may be a leap of faith for the blokey bloke to work these styles to a T, but draw inspiration from them: mix dark black jeans with white printed Ts, throw in a fitted leather jacket and motorcycle boots and you’ll be positively Cavalli-esque. I also dare you to get a pair of leather trousers … SMOKIN!!!