Roberto Cavalli brand strategy / positioning case study

Roberto Cavalli Brand Strategy Analysis
Roberto Cavalli

Apparelluxury appareljewelry & watchesFMCG Personal care & beauty – fragrancesRetail  fashion stores, e-retail

Owner of the brand:
Clessidra SGR S.p.A. (90%) and Roberto Cavalli (10%)

Key competitors:
Gucci, Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana

Brand essence

A nature-inspired Italian luxury brand for confident people who look for extravagance and glamour.

Brand values

Luxury, sensuality, nature, glamour.

Brand character

Italian, luxurious, bold, sensual, adventurous, extravagant.

Dominating archetype

Roberto Cavalli is an Italian high-fashion brand. The company was set up by Cavalli in the 1970s and sold to the private equity firm Clessidra in 2015 (the original founder only retained a 10% share). Renato Semerari, former CEO of Clessidra, insisted that his firm’s intention was to invest in the long-term value of Roberto Cavalli and renew the brand, rather than change its unique positioning:We wish to respect Cavalli’s brand image, while at the same time renewing it. It’s not a question of turning everything on its head, but of strengthening Cavalli’s already solid positioning in the luxury segment, and chiefly making up for lost ground, especially with those buyers who left the brand over the years. We must freshen up a brand which has somewhat aged[1]Despite these declarations, Clessidra sold the brand to the Dubai property developer Damac in 2019. The two companies had previously worked together, as Damac was licensing the Cavalli brand for its branded properties (e.g., “Just Cavalli” villas in Dubai[2]).


Roberto Cavalli’s brand strategy and style cannot be mistaken for any other. It’s not a proposition for people with subtle taste, who like discreet elegance and toned-down colours. The brand is bold, expressive and non-conformist. It stands for sensuality, joy, eccentricity, excess and glamour, and is targeted primarily at happy and confident women with big personalities[3], who like brave designs and bright colours. Leopard and zebra prints, snakeskin, feathers, flower and jungle motifs, leather, fur, exotic materials, and patchworks are some of the characteristic elements of the Roberto Cavalli style.


Cavalli, even though currently not the owner of the label bearing his name, is still the brand icon and the epitome of what the brand stands for. He calls himself the “Leopard King” and believes that women choosing Roberto Cavalli are buying into a dream, as “a dress can change your life”. When explaining the Roberto Cavalli style, he said: “Anyone is capable of doing minimalism. I won’t because it’s horrible[4].


Just Cavalli is a Roberto Cavalli sub-brand. It is based on the same brand strategy and represents a similar style to the main brand, but is targeted at a younger audience.


Roberto Cavalli is based on the mix of two brand archetypes. Similar to Gucci, it is a Lover brand, building associations with sensuality, confidence and sex appeal. It is also an Explorer brand, which derives inspiration from the exploration of nature. As Cavalli explained in an interview with Vogue: “It’s not really that I love to use animal print, I like everything that is of nature; anything natural that is around me. I started with flowers, in the beginning it was orchids; (…) I started to appreciate that even fish have a fantastic coloured ‘dress’, so does the snake, and the tiger. I start to understand that God is really the best designer, so I started to copy God.[5]

Most important campaigns

1. “#JCp1thon Sneaker, For A Generation Always On The Move” (2019)

2. “Roberto Cavalli Spring Summer 2017 Campaign” (2017)

3. “Just Cavalli Spring Summer 2017 Ad Campaign” (2017)

4. “Nicki Minaj For Roberto Cavalli Spring/Summer 2015” (2015)

5. “Just Cavalli Spring/Summer 2013 Advertising Campaign” (2013)


Official brand statement:

Launched in the early 1970s, the Roberto Cavalli Group is one of the most renowned and respected “Made in Italy” brands due to the creativity and stylistic innovation that has always distinguished its clothes, its shoes and its bags. The Roberto Cavalli Group is active on Italian and international markets with the first line “Roberto Cavalli”, with the casual and young line “Just Cavalli”, with the signature line “Cavalli Class” and a younger collection for teens “Roberto Cavalli Junior”. All of these collections, dedicated to both women and men, are complemented by a wide range of products manufactured by licensees, which include among others: silk and cashmere accessories, eyewear, watches, perfumes, underwear and swimwear.[6]

Interesting facts:

Roberto Cavalli has a number of licensing agreements in place: Roberto Cavalli Home, Roberto Cavalli Junior, a few Cavalli Caffès (in Florence, St. Tropez and a few Middle Eastern cities), Roberto Cavalli Chocolate, Roberto Cavalli Vodka and two Cavalli clubs  (in Milan and Dubai).[7]

Cavalli is also a helicopter pilot.[8]


1. Vogue Business on the acquisition of Roberto Cavalli by Damac
A. Biondi, “Dubai Property Developer Is Highest Bidder For Roberto Cavalli”, Vogue Business, Jul 2019,

2. Summary of the changes implemented by Clessidra
V. A. Kansara, T. Abraham, “Cavalli Prepares For Radical Turnaround As Peter Dundas Exits”, Business of Fashion, Oct 2016,

3. An interview with Roberto Cavalli
L. Milligan, “Roberto Cavalli Exclusive”, Vogue, Jul 2011,

  1. D. Muret, “Roberto Cavalli Starts A New Chapter”, Fashion Network, Sep 2015,,576050.html#.WQILwlPyvNM
  2. A. Biondi, “Dubai Property Developer Is Highest Bidder For Roberto Cavalli”, Vogue Business, Jul 2019,
  3. L. Milligan, “Roberto Cavalli Exclusive”, Vogue, Jul 2011,
  4. C. Walden, “Roberto Cavalli: ‘The English – Oh My God!’”, The Telegraph, May 2008,
  5. L. Milligan, “Roberto Cavalli Exclusive”, Vogue, Jul 2011,
  8. “Interview: Roberto Cavalli”, CNN, May 2008,

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