Nineties and Noughties-era vintage is gold dust at present. Fervid millennial and Gen-Z shoppers have been known to spend hours scrolling through Depop, eBay and Vinted on the hunt for nostalgic goods. Amidst monogrammed Dior and Louis Vuitton, slinky Galliano and kitsch Miss Sixty, there lies zingy animal prints and sand-blasted denim courtesy of Roberto Cavalli.
More has always been more at Cavalli. And with “hot girl summer” trending on our social feeds, there’s no better time for Cavalli’s vintage pieces to shine. The overt style codes laid out by Mr Cavalli – who is now 80-years-old – have been reinterpreted by succeeding designers over the years, including Peter Dundas, Paul Surridge and most recently Fausto Puglisi, who was appointed creative consultant last autumn.
Puglisi assumed the helm in a pandemic fashion landscape, one defined by phygital shows and red-carpet gowns only seen from the waist up on Instagram. Despite this, he strove to facilitate custom looks for the likes of Doja Cat, Jennifer Lopez, Lisa, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion and Miley Cyrus. “I love strong independent women, with big personalities, sometimes controversial, beyond the stereotypes of classical beauty. Today the world must be fluid, inclusive, open,” he tells British Vogue. “My dialogue speaks about women empowerment, independence and freedom. It’s what Cavalli is nowadays.”
The post-lockdown climate has proven fertile territory for Cavalli’s Noughties designs. After a year of restrictions and cosiness, the fashion world is yearning for maximalist, party-ready gear. Meanwhile, displaying plenty of skin has become the norm for the Kardashian-Jenners, fresh-faced supermodels and Instagram It-girls.
Kim Kardashian is the unofficial poster girl of the neo-Noughties Cavalli hype. Her closet is teaming with archive buys: corsets, bustiers, figure-skimming gowns and pieces from the brand’s 2000s diffusion line Just Cavalli all feature. Kim’s sisters, too, have bagged coveted Cavalli pieces – Kendall Jenner wore a lacy black autumn/winter 2016 gown at Cannes in 2016.
Kim follows in the footsteps of Kate Moss – the face of the brand in the mid-2000s – along with Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham, J Lo, Christina Aguilera and Ciara, Cavalli’s staunch early-aughts clientele whom Roberto dressed during his red carpet heyday.
Charlize Theron, Joan Smalls, Poppy Delevingne, Hailey Bieber, Jennifer Aniston, Iris Law and Paloma Elsesser are among the brand’s new-age fans. Law donned a shimmering green cut-out Cavalli gown from its autumn/winter 2004 collection to Bulgari’s glittering Magnifica Gala dinner at Spencer House in June – a suitable look to mark the return of glitz and glamour. Meanwhile Elsesser paid tribute to Aaliyah in April: together with her stylist Eric McNeal, she tracked down the animal-print Cavalli AW00 dress that the late R&B singer originally wore to the AMAs in 2000.
Beyoncé has long been a Cavalli muse. As well as supplying looks for both the red carpet and the stage, the brand was responsible for the iconic sunshine-yellow dress that she wears in “Hold Up”, which has since been coined the “lemonade dress”. Powerful Bey is seen smashing car windows with a baseball bat, clad in a ruffled, off-the-shoulder style from Peter Dundas’s autumn/winter 2016 collection.
Tempted to cop a vintage Roberto Cavalli piece for yourself? Look no further than Vestiaire Collective – the site is awash with a variety of showstopper styles, made for 2021’s swinging summer.
From British Vogue