Roberto Cavalli’s Fausto Puglisi on designing ‘20-something’ outfits for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour: ‘She deserves the best’

Taylor Swift may be famous for evolving her personal style to suit each of her musical eras, but Roberto Cavalli’s been a constant in her sartorial storytelling since the start.

So it’s no surprise that when it came time to create the costumes for her blockbuster Eras Tour, Swift turned to the brand’s creative director, Fausto Puglisi, to put a fresh spin on some of her most iconic looks — like the gold fringed Cavalli minidress from her 2011 “Speak Now” tour, which inspired the similarly swingy style she wears for the “Fearless” section of the show.

“When Joseph [Cassell Falconer, Swift’s stylist] and Taylor started talking about the fringe [look], we went back to the archives. It was a very 2000s moment, but I proposed something a little lighter,” Puglisi tells Page Six Style, adding that there’s far more to this metallic mini than meets the eye.

Fausto Puglisi reimagined some of Taylor Swift’s most iconic looks for the Eras Tour — like the gold fringed Roberto Cavalli minidress from her 2011 “Speak Now” tour. Getty Images
The “lighter” Eras Tour version features row upon row of beaded fringe arranged in a playful zigzag pattern. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
Puglisi’s sketch of Swift’s “Fearless” look. Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

“Every single fringe is made of very, very small beads connected to each other. It’s a work of couture and a work of craftsmanship. Taylor deserves the best!”

In order to “understand the best place to fix every single fringe,” the Sicilian designer worked off a mannequin with Swift’s exact measurements, arranging the strands in a playful zigzag pattern for maximum movement.

“It’s extremely fresh, extremely cool, extremely young and modern, but at the same time, a work of art that’s so intricate and so precise,” he says of the final look, which incorporates three different shades of gold for extra dimension. “It’s a lot of work, but she deserves this and more.”

While the “Fearless” dress (and its several variations) has been a constant since the tour’s April 2023 kickoff, Puglisi’s also peppered in new looks to keep fans on their toes; most recently, by replacing the fringed, geometric-patterned tops and skirts Swift wore for the “1989” portion of her North American shows with a series of colorful, crystal-embellished ombré sets for the tour’s European leg.

Puglisi initially designed a slew of fringed, geometric-patterned tops and skirts for the “1989” portion of Swift’s North American shows. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
For the tour’s European leg, he introduced a series of colorful, crystal-embellished ombré sets. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
Puglisi’s sketch of one of Swift’s new “1989” looks. Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

“I said, ‘Let’s go back to her roots.’ It’s about youth,” Puglisi says of the flirty, flared skater skirts and strappy bustiers. “The inspiration was Taylor herself.”

And while the designer whipped up the same top-and-skirt combo in “20-something” colors — “and there’s more coming,” he teases — it was Swift’s idea to mix and match them “like she mixes [musical] notes.”

“I designed [them] thinking about mixing orange with orange, turquoise with turquoise, purple with purple,” he explains. “But when we met in Paris, Joseph said, ‘She likes to mix [them] together!’ I start screaming from happiness, because I’m obsessed with color-blocking; it’s so ‘Miami Vice’ and it’s so colorful and it’s so fresh. There is this sense of freedom in mixing these colors.”

As for whether the big cat emblem adorning each of the tops is an Easter egg, as some fans have theorized? They’re not entirely off; while it’s a brand signifier, it also nods to Swift’s well-documented fondness for felines.

“Wildcats are part of the DNA of Cavalli, so I said, ‘Why don’t we put the brooch here?’ And she loved it,” Puglisi says. “She loves cats, I love cats!”

It was Swift’s idea to mix and match them “like she mixes [musical] notes,” per Puglisi. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
Puglisi also designed several high-low gradient gowns for Swift to wear during the “surprise song” portion of the concert. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
Puglisi’s sketch of one of Swift’s new “surprise song” looks. Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

The designer looked to a different animal for inspiration when dreaming up the perfect look for the “Reputation” portion of Swift’s show: the snake.

“When Joseph explained to me [that she’s] the queen of snakes, I thought that was a fantastic idea. And at the end of the day, it became so iconic,” Puglisi says of his asymmetrical catsuit adorned with sparkly intertwined serpents.

Fans have noticed that while Swift alternates between a few different looks for the other “eras” of her show, we’ve only seen one “Reputation” costume — and that, coincidentally, the superstar has yet to reveal the release date for her re-recorded version of that album. With an announcement looming, could new catsuits be in the works?

“You will never know,” Puglisi says with a laugh. “She loves to surprise people!”

“When Joseph explained to me [that she’s] the queen of snakes, I thought that was a fantastic idea,” Puglisi says of the inspiration behind his serpent-covered catsuit for the “Reputation” segment of the show. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
The asymmetrical design is adorned with sparkly intertwined serpents. Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
Puglisi’s sketch of Swift’s “Reputation” look. Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

Some Swifties have even joked about her “Reputation” look “shedding” like an actual snake — and Puglisi acknowledges that when outfits designed with delicate embellishments are being worn for hours-long performances night after night, wear and tear is par for the course.

“We have dictates, of course; the zipper must be one way, we have to be careful with crystal [placement]. There are so many secrets,” he says, adding that Swift’s stylist is “fantastic” at ensuring any snags or missing sequins are fixed in between shows.

“Joseph is the real genius behind the scenes. People like Joseph, they have the vision, and they know how to handle these dramas.”

And while he calls the experience of designing her Eras Tour outfits a “dream,” Puglisi points to the “Midnights”-coded navy crop top and maxi skirt the musician wore the the 2023 Grammys as his personal favorite Swift-related project.

“It really looks like a midnight sky,” he says. “So chic, but very strong. And that’s what she is!”

And while he calls the experience of designing her Eras Tour outfits a “dream,” Puglisi points to the “Midnights”-coded navy crop top and maxi skirt the musician wore the the 2023 Grammys as his personal favorite Swift-related project. Getty Images
“It really looks like a midnight sky,” he says. “So chic, but very strong. And that’s what she is!” Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Puglisi’s sketch of Swift’s 2023 Grammys look. Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli

While Swift’s been a “Cavalli girl” for well over a decade — even sitting front row at one of the brand’s Milan runway shows in 2010 — her relationship with Puglisi dates back to before he joined the company in 2020.

“Before I started designing Roberto Cavalli, I had my own line, and she supported my collection since the beginning,” he notes of the star, who wore a look from his namesake label in her 2017 music video for “Look What You Made Me Do.”

“So many [fashion] houses want to dress Taylor because she’s the No. 1. I dress Taylor because I love Taylor.”