According to a well-informed source in London, Paul Surridge has resigned, or is close to taking that step, leaving his role as creative director of the Roberto Cavalli brand. An announcement is expected to come as early as this week.
Sources said the designer over the past few months has grown increasingly frustrated because of the lack of investment in the development and refurbishment of the store network as well as in marketing and communications. He is also said to feel the design team has not been supported, as resources have been scarce.
“The decision last summer to look for an external investor and, more recently, to not provide any more funding have made the original project impossible, and therefore triggered Paul’s decision to look elsewhere,” said one source.
Committed to chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris and his team, Surridge agreed to stay on to design and present the spring 2019 and fall 2019 collections. However, sources now say that Surridge has been approached for another project and wants to distance himself from the company in order to be in the position to evaluate freely the next step in his career.
The Roberto Cavalli company had no comment on the rumors.
Surridge joined the Florence-based brand in 2017 and his first collection bowed for spring 2018. He succeeded Peter Dundas, who exited the company in Oct. 2016.
Born in England, and a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins, Surridge was previously creative consultant at Acne Studios, with responsibility for coordination of the men’s wear collections. Before that, he was creative director of Z Zegna from 2011 to 2014.
Earlier, Surridge was design director men at Jil Sander, reporting to then creative director Raf Simons. This is where he met Ferraris. Surridge honed his skills at Calvin Klein and Burberry, working with Christopher Bailey from 2003 to 2007.
Ferraris has spearheaded the turnaround of Cavalli since his arrival in May 2016, reorganizing the company to keep a lid on costs. As reported, unions earlier this months expressed their concern for the future of the company and its employees in Tuscany.
As reported, designer Philipp Plein is rumored to be especially keen to take control of the brand, eyeing an overhaul, and looking to leave his own mark on the label. In addition to his own namesake brand, which marks 20 years in business in 2019, the designer controls Plein Sport and Billionaire.
Sources say the fund Blue Star Alliance, which has investments in Tahari, Bebe and Catherine Malandrino, is also interested in the brand.
Clessidra took control of Cavalli in 2015, but has been looking to exit the fashion business, according to sources. In May 2016, Italmobiliare SpA, the publicly listed investment group owned by the Pesenti family took control of Clessidra for roughly 20 million euros. Italmobiliare holds and manages a diversified portfolio of investments and equity interests worth more than 2 billion euros.