MILAN — Sources say Roberto Cavalli owner Hussain Sajwani is reorganizing the company’s managerial structure.
General manager Ennio Fontana is said to have left the brand with the new year, and that Sajwani has named three vice presidents with extensive experience in the fashion industry, signaling his commitment to the company.
Well-placed market sources told WWD that Arnaud Bazin has been appointed vice president, merchandising; Luigi Cantone was named vice president, commercial, and Michela Ratti, vice president, marketing. No successor to Fontana has been appointed.
A representative for Roberto Cavalli had no comment.
This is a return for Cantone at Cavalli, as he was previously a commercial director at the brand under the former owner, Clessidra, reporting to then-CEO Gian Giacomo Ferraris. He also worked at Versace.
Ratti is also a respected executive who developed her career at Procter & Gamble, Swarovski and Ferragamo, among others.
Fontana joined Cavalli in the fall of 2020 from Philipp Plein, where he was a longtime collaborator of the namesake German designer.
Sajwani is the founder and chairman of the Dubai-based Damac Properties, and he owns Cavalli through his private investment company Vision Investments, which bought the company from Clessidra SGR in 2019.
The brand is designed by Fausto Puglisi, who is gearing up to present his women’s collection for Cavalli on Feb. 22 during Milan Fashion Week. Puglisi, who joined the house in the fall of 2020, has been increasing the visibility of the brand also through the slew of celebrities wearing Cavalli, from Jennifer Lopez and Dua Lipa to Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani.
In October, Fontana told WWD that Cavalli was seeing growing sales, expected to total around 84 million euros in 2022, up from 57 million euros in 2021 and 45 million euros in 2020.
The company is opening four new Roberto Cavalli boutiques in Europe and Asia and, in the U.S., a store at Wynn Las Vegas will bow in the first quarter. A unit in Houston is also in the pipeline. These follow the opening of a store in Miami in February last year at the Bal Harbour Shops.
The brand’s previous eyewear licensing deal with Marcolin expired in 2020.
A Cavalli Café will open soon at the brand’s Via Montenapoleone flagship in Milan, followed by one in Saint-Tropez. Six more are in the works.
As reported, the company in September formed a strategic partnership with Genny owner Swinger International for the production and wholesale distribution of the Just Cavalli sister line, which was managed under license until 2011 by Staff International, the OTB Group’s production arm.
More support is coming from Sajwani, whose property development company Damac is planning a 70-story residential building located on the Dubai Marina, overlooking the Palm Jumeirah, called Cavalli Tower and to be furnished with items from the Roberto Cavalli home division. Another tower is planned in Dubai as well as one in Miami.