The iconoclastic impressionist designer Roberto Cavalli was born in Florence, Italy in 1940. Cavalli came from an artistic family. Painters and tailors both influenced his artistic direction, and he soon found himself studying at the Florence Academy of Art. There, Cavalli broke with tradition and started printing on unorthodox fabrics, including leather. This practice angered his teachers but delighted the masses.
Following graduation, Cavalli created patchwork-stitched denim pieces that caught on with underground Italian scenesters. He really hit his stride after France's "it girl," the actress Brigitte Bardot, was photographed strutting around in a Cavalli piece while she was on vacation. Institutions like Italian Vogue became entranced by Cavalli's designs. It took the more permissive and eclectic '90s to leverage Cavalli's exotic tastes. Once again, big name female stars, like Madonna and Kate Moss, helped to popularize Cavalli.