Italian designer Roberto Cavalli dies at 83

The fashion designer passed away at his home in Florence, Italy, after a long illness.

AFP

Italian couturier Roberto Cavalli, known for his animal prints and striking style that made him a favorite of the international jet set for decades, died on Friday at the age of 83, local media reported.

According to the Italian news agency Ansa, the fashion designer died at his home in Florence, Italy, after a long illness.

Cavalli became known in the 1970s, when stars such as Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot wore his skin-revealing garments, which decades later were worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez.

He was known for his use of printed leather and jeans and always opted for surprise in his designs.

Born on Nov. 15, 1940 in Florence, Italy's main leather hub, he began painting T-shirts to earn money while studying art.

In the 1970s, he opened a store in Saint Tropez, France, a meeting point for the international jet set, and presented his collection in Paris.

In the 1980s, Cavalli's exotic and recognizable designs clashed with the minimalist look popular at the time, but the designer returned with a vengeance a decade later with distressed jeans that proved to be a hit.

Later, his fashion empire extended to décor, wine, shoes, jewelry and even a line of vodka, whose bottles were sheathed in snakeskin.