Today is a sad day in fashion as we mourn the loss of Anna Piaggi, 81, the celebrated Italian fashion journalist and glamorously eccentric sartorial icon best recognized for her visionary double-page spreads of image and text in Vogue Italia. Piaggi emerged on the style scene in the 1960s as editor of Ariadne, Italy’s inaugural women’s magazine, and went on to work with a number of high-profile publications, including a position as contributing editor at the Italian incarnation of Vogue.
She played longtime muse to friend and design luminary Karl Lagerfeld, who sketched ten years’ worth of Piaggi’s ensembles in his eponymous mid-eighties fashion journal, and her extraordinary collection of 2,865 dresses and 265 pairs of shoes became the subject of a London museum exhibition dubbed “Anna Piaggi Fashion-ology” in 2006. Manolo Blahnik called her “the world’s last great authority on frocks;” Bill Cunningham saw her as “a fine poet with clothes.” For her part, Piaggi envisioned her dress sense as a form of mathematics, resulting from a process of “reduction and deduction.” (Her 1998 tome was entitled, appropriately, “Anna Piaggi’s Fashion Algebra.”)
Piaggi’s sensibilities were, in a word, eclectic — a mélange of colors, textures, shapes, and concepts, all of which she had down to a science (and, naturally, topped off with a hat). I couldn’t possibly say it any better than Paper editor Mickey Boardman already has: the world will be a whole lot less fabulous without her.