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“Rest in Peace to Roberto Cavalli”: Mike Tyson Mourns the Demise of Legendary Italian Fashion Designer


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Born on November 15, 1940, in Florence, Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, a legend known for his bold and iconic animal print clothing line, has passed on to the world beyond age 83. Whether it’s sending models strutting down the runway or actresses dazzling on the red carpet, there’s no one better than Cavalli to dress them. He even worked with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson back in 2021! Something Tyson remembers well, as he hopped on social media earlier today to mourn Cavalli’s passing. 

In a statement on Instagram, Cavalli’s namesake fashion house announced his passing! However, they failed to mention the cause of Cavalli’s death. “It is with great sadness that today we say our final goodbyes to our founder, Roberto Cavalli… Roberto Cavalli’s legacy will live on via his creativity, his love of nature, and via his family, [whom] he cherished,” wrote the fashion house. 


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According to ANSA, an Italian news agency, the well-known designer peacefully passed away at his home in Florence after battling with a long illness. So, Mike Tyson wrote in an Instagram post hours earlier, “Rest in Peace to Roberto Cavalli. I was honored to be in your campaign, and you will be missed.”

In 2021, Fausto Puglisi, Roberto’s business partner, cast the former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for the first full menswear collection for Roberto Cavalli. Tyson even cameoed in the collection video, leading the campaign as the star. 

The Fashion Odyssey of Roberto Cavalli & Puglisi’s revival

Cavalli’s journey in fashion began all the way back in the 1970s, when he designed jackets, jeans, and minidresses made from patchwork denim. Back then, he would sell his masterful work in a boutique in St. Tropez, on the French Riviera, to actresses Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and more.

The next couple of decades remained uneventful for the Italian designer, despite his popularity in Europe. However, when Naomi Campbell wore a pair of Cavalli’s stretch jeans in a runway show in 1993, it quickly became a trend. The timing was great because Cavalli’s business was floundering. He even pondered closing his factory. 

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Nevertheless, in the mid-90s, his popularity exploded. He became one of the biggest names in the fashion industry. Suddenly, Cavalli had stores across the globe and admirers in high places. Celebrities like Lenny Kravitz and Cindy Crawford became regulars as he started selling everything from jewelry, perfume, and sunglasses to children’s clothes, housewares, and more. 

In 2021, Puglisi came into the picture, wanting to revive Cavalli’s work. In an interview with Fashion Network, the reporter questioned him about his decision to branch into menswear. Puglisi said, “I am trying to put Cavalli back on track. I want to celebrate the Cavalli DNA but also recognize we are living in a different world in terms of the perception of women and men.”

Having worked with Cavalli closely, Puglisi expressed his emotions after Cavalli’s passing on Instagram. “Dear Roberto, You may not be physically here with us anymore, but I feel your spirit will always be with us. It’s a great honor of my career to work under Your legacy and to create for the brand You founded with such a vision and style. Rest in peace, You will be missed. Your name will continue on, forever a beacon of inspiration,” wrote Puglisi.


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From Obsession to Collaboration: Mike Tyson & Puglisi’s Cavalli collection

As to how Tyson, who is also quite noticeable for his individual sense of style, came to work with Puglisi and Cavalli, there’s an interesting story behind it. During an interview with GQ, Puglisi said, “Mr. Tyson [has been] one of my obsessions since I was a kid… When I designed this collection for Cavalli, I thought so much about him because, in a world [that] is extremely fluid now, there is nothing more fluid and more pure than Mike Tyson himself.”

Tyson was thankful to hear this from Puglisi, so Cavalli added, “Mike Tyson is the only one in this moment that a 15-year-old guy knows, and an 80-year-old man knows. He’s incredibly democratic. There’s no one like him… He’s the only one who is, like, immortal. And that’s why I say, I want Mike Tyson. And it was a dream.”


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Moreover, when Tyson was asked about his experience working with Cavalli and Puglisi, he said, “I was really honored to do it. I’ve done it on some other occasions.” He further spoke about his thoughts on Cavalli. “I’m very happy to do Cavalli—I really respect Mr. Cavalli and his clothes. And I’m very happy to be chosen to wear the line,” Tyson told GQ.

Mr. Roberto Cavalli believed in fashion, which was never for the faint of heart. In his talk at Oxford, Cavalli said, “Fashion that is not crazy is not fashion,” perfectly painting a picture of what he stood for. After his passing, his defiant spirit of designing would live on through his fashion house and the people his work touched over the years. Do you have a few words for the legendary designer? 

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