For Roberto Cavalli, whose one-off collection for Hennes & Mauritz launches Nov. 8 at 200 stores, it's never too soon to party.
In July, Cavalli gathered 150 friends and a bevy of models at his hilltop home in Florence and used his garden, its gilded birdcages and Otto, his cockatiel, as the backdrop for his H&M campaign, shot by Terry Richardson. In one shot, Cavalli is surrounded by models in leopard-print silk dresses, corseted and ruffled halter tops and sequined beaded gowns. Long and short evening looks and a lot of sensuality form the core of the collection of 25 women's pieces, lingerie, matching accessories and 20 men's pieces.
Cavalli also becomes the punch line in a TV commercial, where, late in the night, he emerges on his staircase, eliciting cries from the crowd below: "Mr. Cavalli! Mr. Cavalli! You missed the party!" To which he responds: "How can I miss the party? I am the party."
His collaboration with H&M only solidifies his jet-set reputation and the festive spirit of his designs. "My name is very often associated with parties and entertaining, but it's not true. I am not such a party person," Cavalli demurred during an interview at his 56th Street offices in New York. He said he's not the type to be out every night of the week, though, at 67, he's hardly let up. "It's better to entertain. I enjoy seeing people have fun."
However, working with several models on the shoot, such as Erin Wasson, Jessica Stam, Theodora Richards, Nicolas Malleville, Sean Lennon, Jane Schmitt, Lydia Hearst, Astrid Muñoz, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Anouck Lepère, Ludovico and members of his family, proved interesting. He also said that, as far as he remembers, he's never appeared in his ads before, which might have added to the challenge.
The Cavalli-H&M campaign will make its debut early next month and will feature 21 images in newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising and TV. Cavalli is the first Italian designer to collaborate with H&M, which previously had collections with Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Viktor & Rolf.
With Cavalli's business, including his top-priced ready-to-wear, the Just Cavalli and Class Cavalli diffusion lines and a wide range of other products "for 15- to 100-year-olds" approaching $1 billion in revenues, there's mounting speculation about an initial public offering or a private equity partnership.
"No, no, no," the designer said, responding to the rumors. "For sure not now. Maybe in a couple of years. They have all come to me. I prefer to wait. If I were to take a partner, it would only be to make a better team — not for some extra money."