Roberto Cavalli revamps youthful line at Milan fashion week

Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:03pm EST

* CEO says expects strong growth at Just Cavalli in 2013

* Milan 2013-14 autumn/winter shows end on Tuesday

* Molinari's Blugirl show celebrates British style

By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Italian glamorous designer Roberto Cavalli on Thursday reinvented prints and shapes to breathe new energy in his youthful line and seduce new generations of globe-trotters.

Designers at the Milan fashion week presented bold creations on the second day of the 2013-14 autumn/winter shows, in a reaction to economic and political uncertainty in Italy.

The Florentine designer, whose animal prints and skinny leather-fringed jeans have been worn by actress Jennifer Lopez and model Cindy Crawford, said he personally oversaw the collection he is relaunching with Diesel founder Renzo Rosso.

"I wanted to show to all my fans all over the world that Roberto Cavalli is back," the designer told Reuters television on the stage of his packed show at the Arch of Peace, a landmark monument in central Milan he is contributing to restore.

Wearing a dark blue jacket and a sweater in matching colour over a pair of jeans, Cavalli said he found inspiration from a woman he saw walking in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

"I speak to all the girls from 15 to 100 years old, a girl that loves the femininity as her personality," the designer said while keeping his inseparable German shepherd dog Lupo at leash.

Cavalli proposed large sweaters in jacquard animal prints and jackets with fur-lined hoods, with a mix of elegance and sporty styles to give models a contemporary look.

Young-focused lines, that the fashion industry used to call "second" lines to distinguish them from top lines, are playing a more important role in the fashion business as they cater to young consumers who spend less but demand something exclusive.

GLAMOUR TOUCH

Similarly to Prada's MiuMiu, Versace's Versus or Giorgio Armani's Emporio Armani, fashion houses are reinventing these brands by opening dedicated stores and hosting glitzy shows.

Georgia May Jagger, the blonde daughter of Rolling Stone rocker Mick Jagger, is testimonial for Just Cavalli.

"I love sometimes to be the director of this orchestra but today I directed but also played the instruments, which means I did nearly all the collection by myself," Cavalli said.

Just Cavalli's sales will return to growth in 2013 after being hit hard by financial troubles at previous licensed manufacturer IT Holding, the group's chief executive said.

"We know that Just Cavalli started very well this year," CEO Giuseppe Brozzetti told Reuters on the sidelines of the show, where models wore fitting pants with coats in matching prints.

The group will open a Just Cavalli flagship store in New York in May, followed by a launch event during the New York fashion week in September, Brozzeti said.

In 2012, the group reported a 4 percent increase in sales to 185 million euros.

Sales at directly-operated stores in the first months of this year were growing in line with last year, when they rose 23.4 percent, Brozzetti said.

Excluding the impact from new stores, sales last year rose 18 percent, helped by foreign markets, where Cavalli exports most of its production.

At another show on Thursday, designer Anna Molinari presented a British-inspired collection for her Blugirl line, which also targets young customers. (Additional reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Roger Atwood)

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