Though Roberto Cavalli's aesthetic is closely associated with flamboyant animal printed textiles crafted into overtly sexy garments, the designer's career actually began with T-shirts. In the late 1960s, Cavalli designed and silk-screened a batch of T-shirts. The T-shirts sold well, and Cavalli started a small workshop to meet demand. The designer soon expanded his offerings, developing techniques for printing designs on lightweight leather and suede. Cavalli used the printed leather and suede like a textile, using it to create garments of solid or patchwork leather and/or denim. Cavalli's use of leather, suede and denim was perfectly tuned to the decorative 'rich-hippie' aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and his garments were worn by numerous style icons, including Bridget Bardot and Sophia Loren. By 1972, Cavalli's reputation had grown, and his garments retailed at small boutiques in Europe and New York.