Roberto Cavalli creative director Paul Surridge on Monday confirmed he is exiting his role via his personal Instagram account. Rumours surfaced last week when WWD stated Surridge would imminently resign due to the frustration of a lack of investment for product and store development.

Surridge, who was appointed to the role in 2017, showed his first collection for Spring Summer 2018. Reporting to CEO Gian Giacomo Ferraris, Surridge previously worked for Ferraris at Jil Sander, when he worked as men’s design director under Raf Simons.

Surridge in his Instagram post said he gave “much consideration to this decision and reached the conclusion that the mission I signed on has changed and enters a new direction with a new perspective.” He continued that he wished to “focus on other projects that I put aside in order to achieve our common goals with Roberto Cavalli Group.”

The reality of inheriting a house in trouble

Surridge was never going to have an easy ride at Cavalli, having inherited a house with a reputation problem and a product and advertising position that was out of touch with the millennial zeitgeist.

The predicament remains when a new creative lead is appointed he or she cannot revolutionise a house by solely changing the silhouette and language of a collection. Injecting a new level of desirability into a brand goes beyond product and runway shows.

To truly rebuild a struggling business - Cavalli had racked up considerable losses under its previous creative director Peter Dundas - the full spectrum of revamping must be applied, from rethinking its product offer, to client experience in-store and online, its communication strategy and ultimate what the vision of the brand stands for. This not only requires full management support, it requires significant investment from all angles, something that Surridge may have been promised, but never fully received.

 

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