Peter Dundas greets the audience at the end of the Roberto Cavalli show at Milan Fashion Week in September 2016
Peter Dundas greets the audience at the end of the Roberto Cavalli show at Milan Fashion Week in September 2016 © AFP

Peter Dundas, creative director of Roberto Cavalli, has left the brand after only 19 months, it was announced today. The Norwegian designer, who joined the Florence-based brand from Pucci in March 2015, showed his last collection for spring/summer 2017 in Milan last month. No successor has been named.

“I want to thank Roberto Cavalli and the group for this valuable experience and I wish them the best in their future endeavours,” said Dundas. “I am especially grateful to the ateliers and the teams who participated in this adventure.”

Speaking around the time of his appointment, Dundas described his arrival at Cavalli as a “homecoming”; he worked alongside Cavalli’s founder and his wife Eva at the label from 2002-2005. The 75-year-old founder was a huge influence on Dundas’ aesthetic, and so in sync were their sensibilities that Dundas was generally thought to be a good fit for the brand. “I cannot wait to get started,” he said at the time. Likewise, Mr Cavalli was similarly enthusiastic. “The choice of Peter Dundas was made with the desire to evolve a style that combines glamour, tradition and innovation.”

While Dundas’ first collection had received mixed reviews, when he took the brand in a radically different, more aggressively “youthful” direction, the past two seasons had seen him returning to the more flowing silhouettes and bohemian spirit on which the brand was originally built.

The issues are not merely creative, however. Dundas joined the brand at a time of transition. The Italian investment firm Clessidra bought a 90 per cent stake in the brand in April 2015. Mr Cavalli retains a 10 per cent share. And the new owners appointed a new chief executive, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, in July, after former chief executive Renato Semerari departed over strategic differences.

“We thank Peter Dundas for his contribution to the brand and we wish him well for his future,” said Ferrarris in the statement issued this morning. “As Roberto Cavalli goes through a period of transformation, the design team will carry on and the appointment of a new creative director will be made in due course.”

Dundas had been responsible for the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, and accessories, as well as the label’s licences. He was also involved in the marketing and communications strategies. Revenues were down at the Italian house last year: the brand reported a 14.2 per cent decline to €179.7m annually.

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