“On behalf of Roberto Cavalli and our shareholders, we thank Peter Dundas for his contribution to the brand, and we wish him well for his future,” said Gian Giacomo Ferraris, chief executive officer. “As Roberto Cavalli goes through a period of transformation, the design team will carry on and the appointment of a new creative director will be made in due course.”
“I want to thank Roberto Cavalli and the group for this valuable experience, and I wish them the best in their future endeavors,” said Dundas. “I am especially grateful to the ateliers and the teams who participated in this adventure.”
Dundas was appointed creative director of the Florence-based company in March 2015. The Norwegian designer had been the artistic director of Emilio Pucci, also based in Florence, since 2008. It was a homecoming for Dundas, who had worked with founder Roberto Cavalli and his wife Eva as head designer from 2002-05.
Dundas’ first collection for Cavalli bowed in Milan in September 2015 for spring 2016 but received mixed reviews as the designer wanted to break with the past by injecting elements of youth, street savvy and touches of the Eighties. In his next collections, Dundas went back to his comfort zone, presenting rich and opulent designs with bohemian airs.
Dundas’ first major solo appointment came in 2005 when he was named artistic director at Emanuel Ungaro. After Ungaro, the designer consulted for Dolce & Gabbana before being appointed creative director of French furrier Revillon in January 2008. Dundas’ sensibility — he’s known for his Seventies, rock-sexy designs and knack with prints — was perceived to be in sync with Cavalli’s own feminine and head-turning looks, animal prints and body-hugging silhouettes that have long been red-carpet mainstays.
Dundas is no stranger to the party circuit, and is frequently spotted on the arms of it-girls and models including Natasha Poly, Poppy Delevingne and Bianca Brandolini D’Adda, echoing Cavalli’s own flamboyant lifestyle and star-studded events on his yacht at the Cannes Film Festival.
The designer was responsible for the creative direction of the women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections, as well as all licenses. He was also directly involved in the marketing and communication strategies of the brand.
The Cavalli brand has been going through a phase of changes. Italian private equity fund Clessidra bought 90 percent of the company at the end of April 2015, shortly after Dundas’ arrival. The founding designer retained a 10 percent stake, but has eased out of the fashion industry and never attended a show for the brand.
At the end of July, Roberto Cavalli SpA appointed Ferraris as its new chief executive officer, succeeding Renato Semerari, who left over strategic differences. Ferraris was previously Versace’s ceo. Francesco Trapani, former president of the company, had tapped Semerari at the time of the acquisition of Cavalli.
Trapani, a former chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watches and jewelry division and Bulgari executive, joined Clessidra in 2014. There, he spearheaded the acquisition of Roberto Cavalli. His departure was expected following Italmobiliare’s acquisition of Clessidra in May. Trapani was also Clessidra’s chairman and he left that role in the second half of September.
Last year was one of transition for the Cavalli group. In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, net profit totaled 32.7 million euros, or $36.3 million. This compares with a loss of 9.7 million euros, or $13 million, in 2014. The sale of the building housing the brand’s flagship in Paris’ Rue Saint-Honoré helped lift the company’s profits, as well as its net financial position. The company is renting the space where the store continues to stand.
In 2015, revenues were down 14.2 percent to 179.7 million euros, or $199.4 million, compared with 2014. The company attributed the drop mainly to a decrease in orders predating Clessidra’s acquisition and to the challenges in luxury markets, especially Russia, where the Cavalli brand has been historically strong, as well as a contraction in sales derived from licenses. Dollar figures were converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the periods in question.
In addition to the signature brand, the group includes the young casual Just Cavalli, the bridge line Cavalli Class, the Roberto Cavalli junior line and a home collection and a hospitality sector through its network of Cavalli Clubs and Cavalli Cafés, in cities from Miami to Dubai.
Cavalli’s network of stores last year totaled 182.