Roberto Cavalli thinks designers need to be rock stars.

The 72-year-old fashion maven pulled up at Vienna's Aids-benefit Life Ball last weekend in a gold Mini emblazoned with his logo, greeting 15,000 party-goers in style, because he believes making a grand entrance is an important part of the industry.

He told The Telegraph newspaper: ''It's part of my job to be a big actor. My role is to be a designer, yes, but also to be a rock star: that is how people expect to see me.''

The Italian designer is famed for his lavish parties, having just hosted a week-long fiesta on his yacht in Cannes - which was attended by the likes of Cara Delevingne, Kylie Minogue and Uma Thurman - and he divulged his secret for hosting the best bashes is inviting beautiful women.

Roberto explained: ''The party is part of my world. To make a great party is simple; all you need are beautiful women - charming, elegant and wild, this is very important for the pleasure of the eyes - plus nice guys, very good drinks and very good music.''

The star also explained he has made a conscious decision to take a hands-on approach with his formerly ailing Just Cavalli collection by return to his old aesthetic, which has saved sales.

He said: ''It had gone from 220 million euros a year down to 50 or 60 - I had always thought I was going to die rich so this could have been a disaster...

''The secret is easy; I just make the old Cavalli, from 10, 15 years ago. The young love it.''