Monday, 20 August 2012

A poet with clothes

From Vogue on 7th August:
Some fashion enthusiasts pride themselves on sporting the next new thing, others are content to salt a basic wardrobe with seasonal flourishes. And then there are those proud few who treat their very physiques as full-fledged works of art, covering themselves in colour and pattern, joyously brandishing the unlikeliest combinations, proclaiming confidently with every outfit that more is indeed more.

Anna Piaggi, who passed away this morning in Milan at the age of 81, was one of these startling presences. Birdlike and delicate, surprisingly small in person, she could be spotted taking tiny steps to her front-row fashion-show seat, her ivory complexion almost kabuki-esque, her maquillage multihued, her cerulean coiffure topped by an extreme hat, often created by her friend Stephen Jones. Her tastes were wildly catholic - she was an inspiration for Karl Lagerfeld since the 1960s but also confessed an enthusiasm for the aprons worn by McDonald’s employees.

So renowned was her eccentric style that Piaggi, an editor and contributor to numerous fashion publications including Italian Vogue, was the subject of a 2006 exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, “Anna Piaggi: Fashion-ology,” which showcased a selection from her vast private archives - everything from vintage Poiret to modern Fendi.

Bill Cunningham said of Piaggi, “I think she’s a poet with clothes, but a very fine poet,” but her artistry was hardly reserved for special occasions. Asked in 1998 if she dressed for work the same way she dressed for fashion shows, Piaggi replied, “Also for the supermarket. My life is quite normal. But I enjoy dressing all the time.”

"Hats are like a halo of happiness."

"It is a moment, an expression. My philosophy of fashion is humour, jokes and games. I make my own rules. I never pick up something and just throw it on my back like that. There's a little bit of study, and it's always better if I think about what I'm going to wear the night before the next day. And what is to be avoided at all costs is the twinset look, the total look."

"It is more economical to dress from the antique auction houses than Paris couturiers. I have dresses that should be in museums that only cost me $50."

"I never think of money, just style and power."

Anna Piaggi (22nd March 1931 – 7th August 2012)


  1. She was very unique for sure. Sad she's gone..

    1. Imagine bumping into her at the supermarket! Now I wonder what will happen to all her clothes..? Jx

  2. It appears I've been living under a rock lately.

    I had no idea she was gone 'til you posted this.

    1. I didn't find out till a fortnight after she died - it certainly didn't hit the "mainstream" media over here, and unfortunately I let my subscriptions to Vogue and Harpers & Queen lapse... Jx

  3. Replies
    1. One we should emulate in her honour? Jx


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