Roberto Cavalli tells Nicola Copping why he has designs on the high street
The fashion designer Roberto Cavalli is famed for his glamorous and
dramatic evening wear and animal prints, worn by celebrities such as
Victoria Beckham, Sharon Stone and Liz Hurley. Born in Florence in 1940, he
leads a jet-set lifestyle and is a mainstay at Cannes, where he moors his
41-metre yacht during the film festival.
My style of fashion is not exactly vulgar; it’s very serious, but in a more
colourful way. I wouldn’t want to say which of my clothes were the most
beautiful: all my clothes are like children to me.
I am a classic designer, even if I might not seem so. There are certain people
from the past that I would have liked to dress. There is a fantasy and charm
about Marilyn Monroe; I would love to have known her, though I don’t know
how she would have looked in my clothes. I like the glamour of Rita
Hayworth. She was an actress whom I loved a lot, as was Audrey Hepburn. It’s
something that is lacking in the cinema of today, stars like these three. I
still feel their loss.
I like the music world because I find singers need more freedom in their
clothes than actresses do. They try to harmonise their music with my
clothes. It makes me go crazy when I see Beyoncé or Mary J. Blige wearing
one of my dresses while singing, and watching it move to the sound of the
music. Most of the time singers are more fun than actors. I don’t know why.
What makes a woman sexy? She has to be sexy with her eyes and with her charm,
as well as with the glamour that every woman must possess within herself.
The clothes help, but that’s all. What I love about women is their
personality. I’m not crazy about beauty because we see so many beautiful
women around the world. In my experience, only a few women have the right
personality. One woman who has beauty, is strong and was with me for a few
days on my boat was Sharon Stone. She’s fantastic, I love her.
I met my wife on July 15, 1977, at the Miss Universe contest. I was a judge
and she was Miss Austria; soon after, she became Miss Universe. We met
during a photo shoot after the contest and one day later we started a love
story that has continued until today.
Pete Doherty is a really unusual man — the making of him I’m not crazy about,
but I feel he has a very strong personality, which is why I used him in my
advertising campaign. I am a little taken with him. Also for the young he is
an icon; he is an emblem of freedom. I don’t like his lifestyle, but it is
People asked me why I used Kate Moss immediately after her drug scandal. I
find her a great professional, and I have always liked her personality. I
have never thought: “Does this person use drugs or not?” I am anti-drugs,
but what can you do? As designers we have to trust the models’ personality
and professionalism. I don’t want to know about their private lives.
The young stop me all over the world in the street and say, “Oh, Roberto,
you’re my idol”. I said OK to H & M so that youngsters could
have the chance to wear Cavalli, not just the beautiful stars on the red
carpet. The style is very Cavalli — a little bit from the past but, more
importantly, a vision of the future. I hope to see lots of girls queueing up
to discover what I have created for them.