Roberto Cavalli Celebrates 40 Years: First Time in South America

For an impressive 40 years, the legendary Roberto Cavalli has been a fixture in the high-fashion world. His fresh modern designs, stunningly gorgeous gowns and unprecedented fashion milestones have earned the Italian designer global recognition and status. While I was surprised to discover that the 70 year old had never traveled to South America before this week, it was not surprising that he chose to debut his collection to the Latin world at this year’s Cali Exposhow.

Currently in its 10th year, the Cali Exposhow is a five day fashion/beauty/health extravaganza that includes a grand exhibition with product demonstrations, hair and makeup classes, free samples and various pop-up shops along with guest speakers, forums and performances. However the highlights of the event are the runway shows from top designers. It is one of the most important fashion events in all of South America.

On Wednesday, I was one of the elite few who attended the highly anticipated Cavalli runway show. The first half of the show was a preview of his upcoming collection, which was an interesting combination of animal prints and fur accents with flowing chiffon fabrics. The second half of the show was a tribute to the past 15 years of Roberto Cavalli fashion featuring gowns that were worn by both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira during award shows and about 10 other breathtaking gowns with intricate details like backless silhouettes and shimmering rhinestones. In between each part was a brief video montage that projected over the runway which featured some of Cavalli’s greatest moments, many with him next to celebrities wearing his designs, and other major milestones in his career.

The famed designer revealed in this week’s press conference that he has fallen in love with Colombia, and has set aside 10 days out of his busy schedule devoted to traveling and exploring the country. He also mentioned that he is inspired by Latina style with their flair for color and their womanly figures. In keeping with his love of Latin women and style, he even chose native Brazilian Gisele Bundchen as his spokesmodel for his 40th anniversary ad campaign.

Latin American fashion is a bourgeoning industry, and for Cavalli to finally present his collection at the Cali Exposhow simply demonstrates just how influential and important the region has become. The arrival of Cavalli has also had a positive political and social impact on the country, proving the constant evolution and global influence of South America. Even Gov. Francisco Lourido of Colombia’s Valle del Cauca (the state that Cali belongs to) was front row and center at Cavalli’s show.

At the very end of his presentation, Cavalli himself walked down the runway taking the microphone to make a quick speech — very unusual for a designer at a show. He thanked Colombia and his guests for welcoming him and again expressed his sincere love of the country and what a pleasure it has been for him for his first trip to South America. Looks like Cavalli and I now have something in common!