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Daniele Cavalli: “you won’t go back”

June 20, 2012

Daniele, is it necessary to think differently in order to create something great?

I don’t feel a lot of curiosity from people and if you’re not curious, you don’t go deeply into things and you can’t have your own ideas. And if you don’t have your own idea of things, you don’t have your own personality. To me thinking differently is also a metaphor for having your own idea.

And not looking at what other people do.

I don’t change my idea for the market. I look at the market and I listen to the market, but my idea is my own.

That is how your father has always been as well.

The only important thing is that you are connecting your idea with your mind and you don’t do something different from your soul and your personality. That’s the only thing.  You should follow your instinct. Your instinct is a mix of everything that is inside you: your feelings, your education, your culture, your spirit.

When did you start getting interested in fashion, in creating your own things?

I’m not really interested in fashion. (Laughs)

Isn’t your last name Cavalli?

First of all, I grew up in Florence. If I would have grown up in Milan maybe I would be much more inside that. My family is a really particular family. My father is not a really fashion person either.

But he is one of the most famous fashion designers in the world…

He’s a great communicator. I learn a lot by the way he communicates. But at the same time, our family came out of painting. My grandmother was a painter and my father started to do that too. He started as a printer of fabric. Later he started taking the fabric we created and making clothes. At a certain point he started to print on leather. And when he started to print on leather he also started finding out how to treat the leather.

It was a natural development.

Yes, after my father started printing on leather, he started finding techniques to create wonderful things on leather. So out of that came these artisanal things that are really present in the brand. So the approach to do fashion was always really about technique and an artisanal way to find new things – in the technique, in the way you treat the material.

You are currently the designer of the Roberto Cavalli menswear collection. On a very personal level, is it easier for you to relate to menswear since you can make things that you would personally wear?

Women’s is a totally different world. It’s a totally different game. That’s real fashion. Menswear is much more about style and style is much more about personality.

Do you plan to take over the women’s collection one day as well?

No. I don’t think I will do it any time soon. My mother is doing a great job; it’s better left to her.

Women look the best naked anyways.

(Laughs) If you think about a woman, you prefer to undress her rather than dress her.

What about yourself, do you care about what you wear?

What you’re wearing is an expression of your feeling in that precise time of your life. So I care in that way – in choice of color, of fabric – but I don’t care in a way that people have to look at me. You go through phases, like music from a certain period that you want to listen to. You want to find different silhouettes; you want to wear something more built on your body; you want to get more comfortable. When I started to do my work I really learned the sartorial approach.

What did you discover?

I realized that a jacket is comparable, metaphorically, to the armature of a warrior from past centuries. If you wear a jacket, a sartorial jacket with a great fit, you change your approach.

You move differently.

I also go further: there are more than one hundred steps required to construct a good jacket. There are more than one hundred people at the factory that makes jackets, so there is a lot of work behind a well-made jacket. The quality is really important. We’ve lost this with all of the massive brands today.

But there will always be people who care about that kind of stuff. Once you’ve worn a jacket that actually fits you don’t want to go back.

True, when you know good quality you won’t go back. But it’s also good to know what bad quality is in order to understand what is good.

You said earlier that you are not that into fashion. Do you think you’ll stay in this industry for a while? Is that what you want to do?

Yes. But I also have other dreams.

What is your dream?

Music… definitely. But the reason why I love to do my work is that fashion, perhaps with the exception of cinema, is the only form that allows you to put all different kinds of art inside of it. So it’s a really great thing to mix art. It permits you to pass from music, to give your expression of music, of photography, of cinema, theater, literature, design, anthropology. To me it’s really stimulating to see fashion this way. It permits me to express different kinds of art. It’s not only about clothes.

Do you try to express that with your fashion shows and the way you document them as well?

Yes, the video as well as the music is very important to me. For example I took a director, coming from cinema, and I asked him what he knows about fashion. “Nothing.” Have you ever been to a show? “No, never.” Perfect! You’re the guy to make my video. It’s not just about the outfits, with the same concept for every outfit. So we shot all the details in the fabric and the embroidery, so you have this mix of the normal outfit of the show and then you have all the details and the things that valorize your work. The idea was to have a video that’s more interesting.

You don’t like the classical fashion show videos?

I was really surprised how the videos of shows were so boring. The video should be like cinema, but every time after two outfits I’m praying for it to be over. Especially if somebody is showing it to you and wants to know what you think! Today, in the digital age, you don’t just make a show for the thousand people that are there. You make it for the whole world.

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Short Profile

Name: Daniele Cavalli
DOB:
14 May 1986
Place of Birth: Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Occupation: Fashion Designer

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One Response to this Interview

  1. Daniele is a visioner, just like his father. But different in some ways.

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