The Florentine designer talks to MODE’s Adrian Clark about how South Beach inspired his latest collection
June 2014: Roberto Cavalli brought the curtain down on Milan Fashion Week with a catwalk show that paid tribute to Miami’s South Beach. The reason it hit all the right notes is that Cavalli is passionate about the city. In fact, the two are inseparable. It’s a second home to the designer, as he explains to MODE in an exclusive interview.
What led you to Miami as inspiration for the collection?
I have always found it a positive place and one of great energy. The architecture is inspiring and the vibrant colours and clash of cultures are what led me to make my summer collection a homage to the city.
What are your earliest memories of visiting Miami?
The music, the food and the Latino culture. I first encountered the city in the late-Seventies when I had just started designing, and was intoxicated by this vibrant place.
How has Miami changed?
Alongside the art deco buildings there is an evolution with new properties opening. People come to Miami for the lifestyle and the chance to leave your inhibitions at home, which is why I love it.
Is Miami enjoying a renaissance?
With Miami Art Basel, the city has taken a stance at the forefront of creativity and people are once again travelling there to experience the art and also the culture.
Miami has had many ‘moments’ in history – which of them do you find the most interesting?
As much as I have fond memories of the place, I prefer to look forward rather than back. Right at this moment is my favourite time to experience Miami.
What is your favourite time of day in Miami?
It is truly memorising watching the sunset. The colours are sensual and breath-taking.
Who would be your four guests and what would you drink for your ultimate night out in Miami?
My friends Jennifer Lopez, Elle Macpherson, Gloria Estefan and Lenny Kravitz. We would drink Roberto Cavalli red wine.
Where do you stay when you visit Miami?
I rent a villa in the bay with my children and my grandchildren
How would you describe the stereotypical signature ‘Miami style’ for men?
Very ‘jet set’, as people like to stand out and make a statement.
How does it compare to other major US cities?
The pace of everything is slower because people appreciate the finer things in life and soak in the atmosphere, instead of running around in the rat race.
Miami is famed for its party scene and nightlife – have you seen that change over the years?
Miami is a party city. The nightlife scene has always played a major part, from the Thirties to the late-Seventies to Ian Schrager’s dominance of the scene. It is constantly evolving.
Are there colours and patterns that remind you of Miami?
It is the colour of the ocean, and bright orange rays of the sunset. Also the ice-cream palette of turquoises, pinks and greens, reminiscent of Thirties buildings.
Where should someone visit on a first trip to Miami?
Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge , Miami Beach Botanical Garden , Miami Beach Edition , Ocean Drive  and the Wynwood Art District .
What are your favourite pieces in your spring men’s collection?
I am the king of prints, and the animal prints are particularly strong. After all, God is the best designer of all time.
Can you tell me some of the work that went into the collection?
I have the most wonderful atelier in Florence, filled with incredible craftsmen. Everything is very light in this collection, so there is less leather and skin.
Floral print shirt £470, matching trousers £620, shoes £255 and sunglasses (from a selection) all by ROBERTO CAVALLI, Roberto Cavalli Boutique, 20-22 Sloane Street, London SW1; 020-7823 1879
Snake print blouson jacket £790, white leather trousers £650 and shoes £255 all by ROBERTO CAVALLI, Roberto Cavalli Boutique; 020-7823 1879
Tropical-print silk trousers £620 by ROBERTO CAVALLI, Roberto Cavalli Boutique; 020-7823 1879
Animal-print shirt £365 and trousers £470 both by ROBERTO CAVALLI, Roberto Cavalli Boutique; 020-7823 1879
Blue blazer £980, trousers £470, mesh vest £215, shoes £255 and sunglasses (from a selection) all by ROBERTO CAVALLI, Roberto Cavalli Boutique; 020-7823 1879
Photography: James Marcus Haney, RED, Bob Krieger (portrait)
Model: Craig Strickland