Roberto Cavalli, Designer Who Celebrated Excess, Dies at 83

Roberto Cavalli, Designer Who Celebrated Excess, Dies at 83
Roberto Cavalli, Designer Who Celebrated Excess, Dies at 83
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Roberto Cavalli, the Italian-born fashion designer who celebrated glamour and excess, sending models down the runway and actresses onto red carpets wearing leopard-print dresses, bejeweled distressed jeans, satin corsets and other unapologetically flashy clothes, has died. He was 83.

His company announced the death on Instagram but provided no details.

Mr. Cavalli’s signature style — “molto sexy, molto animal print and molto, molto Italiano,” as the British newspaper The Independent once described it — remained essentially unchanged throughout his long career. But he skillfully reinvented his clothes for different eras, enjoying several renaissances and building a global lifestyle brand in the process.

In the 1970s, Mr. Cavalli designed jackets, jeans and minidresses made from patchwork denim, selling his upscale hippie frocks in a boutique in St. Tropez, on the French Riviera, to actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.

For the next two decades, he remained largely unknown outside Europe. Then, in the 1990s, he reinvented luxury denim, first with the sandblasted look and then, in a stroke of invention, by putting Lycra in jeans to make them fit more snugly and look sexier. When the model Naomi Campbell wore a pair during a runway show in 1993, stretch jeans became a huge trend.

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