Roberto Cavalli in the Wake of Peter Dundas’ Departure

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Roberto Cavalli in the Wake of Peter Dundas’ Departure


When Peter Dundas’ departure from Roberto Cavalli was announced two weeks ago today, the company used the moment to announce they would be making further changes – changes that have already been making news.

“The fashion industry is facing uniquely challenging times, with changing consumer demands, significant contraction in various key markets and fundamental transformation in the industry’s dynamics,” Gian Giacomo Ferraris, the company’s CEO, said in a statement October 12. “In this environment, only iconic brands with a coherent business model and an efficient organisation can survive. After my initial examination of the company I believe the Cavalli brand has what it takes to succeed. But the reality is that the company’s costs must be in line with its revenues and that is the task we now have to embark upon.”

It was made known after this statement that, in an effort to bring the company back to profitability by 2018, the company would be closing their Milan offices and bringing their center back to Florence, which includes lay off about 30% of its workforce, approximately 200 people. This resulted in employees staging an eight-hour strike just two days later in Osmoranno, an area outside of Florence proper.

“The workers are distraught. They are told that there is a centralisation in Florence but in reality they fear a downsizing of strategic functions also at the Florence headquarters,” Bernardo Marasco, a representative of the workers’ union Filctem Cgil Florence, told Vogue UK regarding the drastic shake-up. “We are waiting for the start of the mobility procedure to know the number of potential layoffs. As for us, there is a battle to do and we will do it to defend jobs and the brand on the territory. Mobilisation is the response to the company’s plans.”

After only 19 months and three collections with the brand, Dundas’ departure came as a surprise to many, though not the most surprising departure of the past several years. “I am especially grateful to the ateliers and the teams that participated in this adventure,” the Norwegian designer said in a statement thanking the company, soon after the announcement was made.

Short terms of office, drastic shake-ups and shocking departures have marked the last 18 months in the fashion industry. Though not novel, the changes seem to be increasing as pressure rises to please customers across changing markets. Considering the fact that Roberto Cavalli’s profits dropped from 2014 to 2015, and are expected to show lower again this year, restructuring comes as no surprise. Ferraris plans to bring the company back to profitability by 2018, by means of a new creative director, closing less profitable and convenient stores, cutting jobs, and refocusing the brand in specific areas. “As Roberto Cavalli goes through a period of transformation,” Ferraris stated, “the design team will carry on and the appointment of a new creative director will be made in due course.”


Roberto Cavalli in the Wake of Peter Dundas’ Departure

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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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