MILAN — After years of legal debate and media scrutiny, Roberto Cavalli has been fully cleared by Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation of a tax evasion indictment.
The country’s major court of last resort annulled the verdict issued by the Appeal Court in Florence last Jan. 21, which upheld a conviction of the designer on charges of fiscal evasion. In March 2006, the Florence court had found Cavalli guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him to 14 months in prison, although an Italian legal technicality exempted the designer from ever serving jail time.
“I’m very pleased,” Cavalli said in an interview. “As anyone who has lived in Italy long enough knows, it sadly happens often that people in the limelight are attacked for personal reasons and falsely accused, and things are only checked at a later date.”
The accusations date back to 2002, when tax authorities claimed Cavalli evaded fiscal responsibilities by trying to put about 5 billion lire, or $3.2 million at current exchange rates, of renovations to his luxurious Tuscan villa on his company’s books. In 2003, the designer rejected a plea bargain offer, saying he intended to prove his innocence.
Roberto Cavalli SpA dismissed the charges, saying the firm commissioned all of the work done on the house.
Cavalli started living in what is considered one of the biggest properties in Florence in the early Seventies. The company stated the designer’s 12th century estate — filled with antique wooden Madonna statues, marble reproductions of horses and precious animal-print rugs, and including a helipad and two swimming pools — also serves as his headquarters.
The designer has over the years held special events and product launches at the estate, including the unveiling of his eyewear line licensed to Marcolin and the presentation of his collaboration with H&M. A number of ad campaigns have also been photographed on the estate and in the villa’s park, which has a view over Florence.
“This has been a painful journey, but we were always convinced of being in the right,” said Cristiana Cavalli, daughter of the designer and president of the company. “We have shown that there were never fictitious activities or expenses.”
Cavalli is not the first designer to battle Italian tax authorities. Earlier this year, Italian authorities opened a criminal investigation into the Dolce & Gabbana fashion group following allegations of tax evasion. Gianfranco Ferré, Santo Versace, Mariuccia Mandelli of Krizia and their business associates were indicted in July 1995 on charges of corruption and bribing tax police in return for swift, trouble-free audits. While the designers were originally found guilty, a higher court overturned the verdicts and found that they were victims of extortion.
At that time, Giorgio Armani, Gerolamo Etro and Krizia chairman Aldo Pinto were also indicted on similar charges, but pleaded guilty in May 1996 before the trial began. They, too, said they were victims of extortion, but took plea bargains to end their cases as quickly as possible.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews