Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Evening dress

Designer:
Roberto Cavalli (Italian, born 1940)
Date:
spring/summer 2001
Culture:
Italian
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Gift of Roberto Cavalli, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.776.1
Not on view

Roberto Cavalli first found recognition in the global fashion market with his Patchwork collection of 1971. The Patchwork garments were exhibited at the famed White Room, or La Sala Bianca, of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence in 1972. Italian couturiers and couture customers of the early 1970s were shocked by Cavalli's work, snubbing the calico construction and dismissing the weathered denims as working-man's fabric. However, few could argue with the designer's intuitive convergence of handcrafted ornamentation and haute couture tailoring. After photographs were published of Brigitte Bardot wearing a Cavalli printed jacket in Saint-Tropez, an appreciation for the designer's love of street artistry became infused into 1970s high fashion and Cavalli's clothing became a staple of the wardrobes of young, wealthy Europeans. His sandblasted jeans, photographically printed denims, laser-cut and embroidered leathers, and brightly dyed and pieced furs finally met critical acclaim in the late 1970s and early '80s.


Today, Roberto Cavalli exists as a name synonymous with fine leather processing and fabric deconstruction. The designer's signature use of calfskin (traditionally employed in glove design) has allowed him to manipulate animal skins in the same manner as he would a delicate silk. This design, from Cavalli's spring/summer 2001 collection, exhibits a sculptor's grace with its juxtaposition of deconstruction and elegant classicism, unarguably implying the wealth and status of its wearer.

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