From Kim to Cardi, J.Lo to Beyoncé, everyone is buying the label’s maximalist designs
Nineties and Noughties vintage is gold dust at the moment. Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers spend hours scrolling through Depop, eBay and Vinted, and among the monogrammed Louis Vuitton, slinky Galliano and kitsch Miss Sixty, there lies the zingy animal prints and sand-blasted denim of Roberto Cavalli.
More has always been more at Roberto Cavalli. The maximalist style codes of Mr Cavalli, now 81, have been reinterpreted by a handful of designers over the years, including Peter Dundas, Paul Surridge and, most recently, Fausto Puglisi, who was appointed creative consultant in 2020.
Puglisi joined the brand in a pandemic fashion landscape, one defined by phygital shows and waist-up dressing. Despite this, his outré work won over the likes of Doja Cat, Cardi B, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Lisa, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion and Miley Cyrus.
“I was born a designer,” he tells British Vogue, citing the following as what makes him tick: “Flamboyance, confidence, the typical Italian sense of decoration, print [and] metal hardware as expression of art.” Roberto Cavalli, then, was the perfect fit. “Cavalli is a form of self-expression, fashion extravaganza [and] opulent eccentricity. It is Italian, fast as a Ferrari, loud and bold.”
The designer’s revival of beloved vintage styles, such as the fierce tiger print from autumn/winter 2000 which he reworked for spring/summer 2022, has attracted a new-gen celebrity fanbase. In turn, interest in original Roberto Cavalli pieces has sky-rocketed.
Christelle McCracken, founder My Runway Archive —a store that specialises in ’90s and ’00s fashion—cites Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian as catalysts for the hype. “Once you have two of the biggest trend-setters in the world rocking a particular vintage trend, it doesn’t take long before other stars follow suit,” she explains. “We go through periods of minimalism, but right now people are attracted to larger-than-life, over-the-top designs and I guess that is why we have also seen a surge of interest in Cavalli and his maximalist designs.”
“Roberto Cavalli really understood how to dress a woman, to make them feel sexy but classy at the same time with his body-enhancing, glamorous designs,” adds Christelle. “Cavalli celebrates women’s sensuality and rebellion by using fabrics that enhance the female form to make you feel powerful and ultra glamorous,” echoes Ameli Lindgren, founder of vintage store Nordic Poetry. “[Cavalli’s] flamboyant prints make it fun to wear his clothes, which is what fashion should be all about.” Puglisi has continued his legacy, ensuring that every collection champions female empowerment.
Scene-stealing dresses are a Cavalli signature, but the sand-blasted jeans he pioneered in the mid-’90s are another cult favourite. Cavalli denim is a bestseller at vintage store Nordic Poetry, as the low-rise cuts and expressive prints are catnip for Gen-Z consumers.
Keep your eyes peeled for early Noughties pieces, specifically the explosive spring/summer 2003 collection, beloved by the Kardashian-Jenners, Dua Lipa et al. “Pieces that have celebrity connection are a big win,” asserts Cherie Balch, founder of Shrimpton Couture.
“Use sites like Vogue Runway, Livingly and FirstView to research previous collections,” advises Christelle. “Once you are familiar with the runway looks, you’ll be able to spot when a good piece comes up. It’s important to have this knowledge as the decent pieces tend to go quick when they come up on sites like Depop, Ebay or Vestiaire Collective.”
Roberto Cavalli leather is a true collector’s item, according to Cherie. During his fledgling years, the designer developed a technique that transferred his unique prints onto lightweight leather, which he used to create dresses and ready-to-wear. “If you are a real Cavalli enthusiast, hunting down some of those rare and early examples will bring you great joy.”
This story originally appeared in Vogue.co.uk