Iconic Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli passes away

Rome, Italy - Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, whose penchant for python and flamboyant animal prints made him the darling of the international jet set for decades, died Friday at 83, news media said.

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli died on Friday at the age of 83.
Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli died on Friday at the age of 83.  © SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the designer died at home in Florence, the city where he was born, after a long illness.

First seen in the 1970s on stars such as Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot, his skin-baring, eye-popping styles were still favored years on by later generations of celebrities, from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez.

Cavalli had a taste for Ferraris, fat cigars, and tailored shirts unbuttoned to expose his tanned chest.

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He married a Miss Universe runner-up, owned a purple helicopter and a Tuscan vineyard, and was on a first-name basis with Hollywood A-listers.

Born November 15, 1940, in Florence, Italy's premier leatherworking center, Cavalli was known for his use of printed leather and stretchy, sand-blasted jeans.

The designer was tapped in 2005 to update the Playboy Bunnies' scanty uniform – true to form, he introduced one version in leopard print.

Cover photo: SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP

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