From athlete to teacher, from international judge up to crowning his dream of becoming a designer: the artistic parable of a talent in the dance world – Interview with Sandro Cavallini, owner of the eponymous atelier
Cavallini, you have had an extraordinary success as a dancer, culminating in the World Cup final in South Africa in 1998. You then embarked on an equally successful career in other “costumes”. But how was Cavallini Style born?
“I’ve had so much from life and I’m lucky, I share most of my merits with my wonderful parents who have always encouraged me. The idea of being a fashion designer has always been a secret dream: from the beginning in the world of dance I always personally supervised my look and choice of clothes. I would comb dancers, and I took care of their make-up and lighting. So I started making costumes, just for fun, but this game was so successful that decided to open the Cavallini Style studio, supporting it with my work as a teacher.”
It is said that no matter how good a painter is, he cannot have the practical ability to organise an exhibition …
“In the field of dance it is exactly the opposite. I have not studied fashion from books, that’s true. But I know how to evaluate a dancer’s strengths and weaknesses at a glance, and to design personalised costumes that are tested in training for possible adjustments, and to seek perfection of movements. There are designers who have never personally worn a dance costume and do not know what it means. Maybe their designs, as ambitious as they might be, are inapplicable on the dance floor …”
What should be the characteristics of a costume?
“Of course it must be nice so that enhances the personality of a dancer, but it also must be functional and strategic …. Let me explain, in designing a
costume we should not forget its goal: on the dance floor it will be exposed to constant stress and must therefore be practical. Not to mention that, at a competitive level, the costume is the first thing that a judge notes when assessing a couple. This explains its intrinsic value that goes far beyond any aesthetic aspect.”
How well do beauty and functionality go together in Cavallini Style designer clothes?
“Focusing on quality and always seeking the best. I choose materials from a specialist firm in London. I work especially with bi-stretch fabrics, which guarantee extendable qualities in both width and length, and are the most suitable to make corpets. Then, you vary according to needs: for example, bright colours are more suited for children, with tassels or floral decorations. Or for a dancer with an aggressive style, such a costume will enhance her grit.”
You work only with made to measure costumes personalising their details: what are the realisation times of a costume?
“Organisation of work is critical, with this regard I took the ironclad discipline that I put into dance. After an interview with a client, during which we compare ideas on fabrics, colours and styling notions, the work is accomplished within a few days, up to a maximum of a few weeks, thanks to an efficient group of seamstresses. As for aesthetics, there is something for all tastes: for example if you want to keep costs down, just shave something off light sources, such as rhinestones and you will still have a noteworthy costume.”
I guess being a familiar face in the national art scene, you will have a fairly large clientele range…
“Yes, especially since Cavallini Style deals with major dance types:
standard dances, Latin American, Caribbean and even evening wear. I have varied clientele: not only professionals, but also newcomers and amateurs. We currently do not produce workout clothes, but maybe in the future …”.
And how do you see the future of Cavallini Style?
“Honestly I never given much thought to the future. Cavallini Style is the translation of my values, my passion for dancing. And like when I danced I was not there to worry about becoming famous, now I only think about offering the best to my customers. Every project I’ve started I’ve always completed, and Cavallini Style represents the best of what I believe in.”
FIND OUT MORE:
Visit Cavallini Style website