Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli dies

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Roberto Cavalli attends his show at Milan Fashion Week in 20014Image source, Getty Images

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, known for his animal prints on leather and textiles, has died aged 83.

The fashion house that bears his name announced the death on Instagram but provided no details.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that he died at home in Florence after a long illness.

He set up his company in the 1970s. His designs have been worn by stars like Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez.

Roberto Cavalli’s creative director, Fausto Puglisi, said the designer would continue to be seen as “a beacon of inspiration for others.”

In a post on the fashion house’s Instagram page, Mr Puglisi said working with Cavalli was “the greatest honour of my career”.

Roberto Cavalli greets the audience at the end of his show for the Menswear Spring-Summer 2015 in Milan

Image source, Getty Images

Cavalli was born on 15 November 1940 in Florence, known for its leatherwork.

After launching his namesake fashion brand in 1970, he later invented and patented an innovative leather printing process.

Cavalli opened his first small shop, Limbo, in the French city of Saint-Tropez in 1972.

As well as animal prints, he was also known for his hippie dresses, sand-blasted jeans, and patchwork designs on denim.

In 2005 he was tapped to update the Playboy Bunnies’ scanty uniform, and even introduced one version in leopard print.

Roberto Cavalli with the Spice Girls at his menswear show in Milan in 2008

Image source, Getty Images

When asked what inspired him to use animal prints in his designs, Cavalli told Vogue in a 2011 interview: “I like everything that is of nature.”

He went on to tell the magazine: “I started to appreciate that even fish have a fantastic coloured ‘dress’, so does the snake, and the tiger. I start[ed] to understand that God is really the best designer, so I started to copy God.”

The founder of Armani, Giorgio Armani, was among those to pay tribute to the late designer, saying his “Tuscan verve” would be missed.

In statement posted on Armani’s social media accounts, he said: “Roberto was a true artist, wild and wonderful in his use of prints, capable of transforming fantasy into seductive clothes.”

Beyonce and Roberto Cavalli at the Metropolitan Museum in 2004

Image source, Getty Images

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