Roberto Cavalli is watching the football on his phone, which is an unusual way to start an interview admittedly, but the self-styled King of Opulence isn’t perturbed.
Laughter fills the room as the smooth aroma of perfectly brewed coffee slowly envelopes us. “I like to give people a taste of la dolce vita,” says Roberto Cavalli, who’ll be 74 on November 15. And in less than 10 minutes the legendary designer was indeed true to his word.
Dressed head-to-toe in an all-black suit from his own collection (naturally) Cavalli is in Dubai to launch his latest Middle Eastern venture, the Cavalli Caffe at The Beach, JBR, which opens to the public on November 27.
If you’re shocked that the man, also referred to as the King Of Print, was wearing a simple single-hued ensemble to our date then don’t be – he just didn’t want to clash with his extravagant new café. Here leopard, giraffe and zebra print cover everything from the walls to the chairs to the elegant delicatessen packaging and crockery. If ever there was a concept such as zoo-chic then this is it – a stunning collaboration between style and nature.
But then we wouldn’t expect anything less from this fabulous Italian who, in typically animated and charismatic style, revealed to us his life lessons…
You have to teach. Do not dictate.
My role in life is to design. Restaurateur and designer are two different lives, but I like to create good things. Coffee is a thing to make my life more fun. I designed everything in my café and I really enjoyed it.
The worst thing a woman can do is be vulgar. Wearing a beautiful outfit and not wearing the perfect accessory is vulgar. However, you can be fashionable and vulgar at the same time. It might not even be what you are wearing. You can be vulgar through words or with your eyes.
I think it is important that every woman knows how to interpret my fashion. Every woman should have in her wardrobe at least one Cavalli jacket and bag, of course.
Italian fashion has and always will be timeless. The ‘Made in Italy’ concept will always be iconic around the world. Italy represents style, elegance, history, tradition, craftsmanship, but at the same time Italian designers are so innovative creative and fashion forward.
Challenges are a natural part of life especially in the arena of fashion design. But no matter what I’ve faced, my confidence, my drive and my desire to succeed have always helped me prevail. I never gave up and never allowed myself to change my direction. I had a dream and I believed in myself.
Growth comes from mistakes and in my life I have been able, many times, to rise again after a complex and troublesome time. Difficult moments are a natural part of life, both personally and professionally, and in my opinion they are as equally important as the best moments.
Be yourself and do not be afraid to demonstrate your feelings.
Coffee is part of the Italian culture. We like to invite friends over chat, and drink coffee and eat chocolate… and watch football (his team Fiorentina were playing on his phone as he sipped an espresso and answered this question – apt).
We have the best chocolate in my café, which is why I wanted to bring it to Dubai. I have fashion stores here, I have a famous nightclub so my next step was to bring a café.
Coffee is very Italian, if you want to drink the best coffee you need to go to Italy.
The best coffee is in Florence not Naples. My café there is set in a beautiful part of the city. People from all over Italy come to drink at my small café. They are fond of the café chocolate, I believe that’s what it’s called. Inside we also make very good cakes. Do you know why we do this? Because Cavalli wishes a sweet life, la dolce vita, for everyone.
Love Cavalli, is the best piece advice I can give anyone.
Images: Ajith Navendra