You’ve probably never heard of Anna Maria Piaggi.
I hadn’t until news hit that she died this week. She was born in 1931 and she was an Italian fashion writer and style icon.
Piaggi was born in Milan. She worked as a translator for an Italian publishing company, then wrote for fashion magazines such as the Italian edition of Vogue.
Since 1969, she used a bright red manual Valentine typewriter for her work.
Piaggi had a large clothes collection, including 2,865 dresses and 265 pairs of shoes.She dressed in an exuberant, unique and eclectic way, never appearing in the same outfit more than once in public. Such was her influence and knowledge in the fashion world, Manolo Blahnik dubbed her “The world’s last great authority on frocks”.
Piaggi claimed never to have worn the same outfit in public twice, but that was because she revisited her wardrobe, adding to and rearranging items to make up fresh stories and keeping Polaroids of what had already been tried. When she travelled, she arrived with several trunks just for a weekend, in order to have sufficient choice. She became a spectacle, an entertainment, both a commentary on, and a rebuke to, what was on the catwalk – whatever it was, she had one already, and had been wearing it for years. Predicting what came next, through knowing what had come before, was her talent.
Her associates in the fashion world included the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who has often sketched her, and Manolo Blahnik, who is the designer of many of her shoes. She was the muse of British milliners and clothing designers. Historicism plus eclecticism, electrified with eccentricity defined her, much like all British fashion.
Piaggi improvised impromptu outfits, collages of garments, to tell new stories, as well as letting her clothes narrate their own pasts. “They are all things that have many lives,” she said. To read more about her life and career click here. What fascinates me is the photos I found of her. Take a look for yourself and remember that when you think you might be overdoing it a tad, or being a bit risky in your fashion, this woman Miss Anna was a fashion ICON. Be brave, be risky, have fun!
GO with love