Roberto Cavalli dead: Legendary Italian fashion designer dies aged 83 after long illness

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has passed away following a long illness. He died at his home in Florence at the age of 83, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Roberto was famed for his exotic prints and creating luxury clothing, perfume and leather accessories, having created his own self-titled luxury fashion house, which launched back in 1975. He was thought to be worth around £400 million thanks to his fashion empire, which saw famous faces including Maya Jama, Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne, Irina Shayk and Zendaya all sport his looks.

His brand was known for its bold animal print designs and the sand-blasted look for jeans. Paul Surridge became creative director for the brand in May 2017.

Roberto Cavalli
Roberto Cavalli has passed away aged 83 -Credit:Getty

Roberto leaves behind his partner Sandra Nilsson, who he had been in a relationship with since 2014 as well as six children. His youngest child was born in 2023, when he and Sandra welcomed a baby son.

The couple named their new addition Giorgio, in tribute to Roberto's late father who was shot by Nazis during the Second World War. Following his son's birth, he told magazine Novella 2000: "Sandra is doing fine. The baby, who was born a week ago right here in Florence, is beautiful and it was really emotional to see him right after he was born.

"His name is Giorgio, like his grandfather, my father... whom the Nazis shot in the Cavriglia massacre when I was four years old."

Roberto Cavalli was a long time collaborator with supermodel Heidi Klum and regularly dressed her for the red carpet
Roberto Cavalli was a long time collaborator with supermodel Heidi Klum and regularly dressed her for the red carpet -Credit:Getty

Roberto is also father to Tommaso and Cristina from his first marriage to Silvanella Giannoni. The former couple tied the knot in 1964 before going on to divorce ten years later.

The fashion designer then married Miss Europe model Eva Maria Duringer in 1980. The pair welcomed children Robert, Rachele and Daniele together during their marriage, which ended in 2010.

Roberto comes from a family of creatives, with his grandfather, Giuseppe Rossi, having been an artist and a member of the Macchiaioli Movement. His work is exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery in Tuscany.

Roberto Cavalli sadly passed away at the age of 83
Roberto leaves behind six children -Credit:Getty

Roberto's own journey began when he enrolled at the local Art Institute in Florence, where he focused on textile print. During his time as a student, he created flower prints on knot which caught the attention of major Italian hosiery factories.

His fashion career then kicked off in the 1970s, when he invented and patented a printing procedure on leather, and started creating patchworks of different materials. Roberto debuted these creations in Paris, with the likes of Hermès and Pierre Cardin immediately commissioning him.