Cavalli’s H&M Party: 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.

This story first appeared in the September 19, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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.”

— David Moin

DOUBLE DUTY: After Bauer Publications gave Richard Spencer double duty as editor of chief of both weeklies In Touch and Life & Style, Spencer decided to send in for reinforcements. Spencer on Tuesday made his two In Touch executive editors, Dan Wakeford and Michelle Lee, editors of both In Touch and Life & Style. Wakeford and Lee will work alongside Life & Style deputy editor Mark Coleman and editor Samantha Meiler. The remaining staffs of Life & Style and In Touch will remain separate.

Those are only the beginning of the changes Spencer will make to Life & Style, beginning with next week’s issue. “I want to reposition it in a different way where we change the fashion and style to a bolder presentation and try to enhance the credibility of the news,” said Spencer. He will introduce new sections and departments that emphasize trends for the week, shopping information and tidbits behind celebrity looks. “I’m fascinated by the stories behind the fashion,” said Spencer. “Diana Vreeland once said ‘It’s not the clothes they wear, it’s what they did in the clothes they wear.'” So Life & Style will incorporate a point of view that “isn’t exactly looking at the clothes, but also what motivates them to wear the clothes.” Or, in the case of frequent cover subject Britney Spears, not.

The changes at Life & Style come as former editor Mark Pasetsky, who took over last November, departs after a tenure marred by a contentious relationship with staffers and several high-level departures, including executive editor Joe Bargmann, who left a few weeks ago. Though circulation through June averaged 753,092, a 7 percent increase, sources close to the magazine said several issues in August, usually its strongest month for newsstand sales, sold below average — some in the 600,000 range. Spencer, as well as Bauer executives, envision Life & Style’s circulation to reach a million or more, just like its bigger sibling In Touch. That said, Bauer will increase the price on both In Touch and Life & Style by $1 by October, to $2.99, which could slow newsstand growth as consumers weigh forking over more money for the magazine. “All the more reason to improve the product,” said Spencer. — Stephanie D. Smith

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