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ANNA PIAGGI (1931-2012)

Anna Piaggi passed away last week at the age of 81. The fantastical and oft-feathered journalist has had a profound impact on the fashion industry through her words and style since she began her career more than half a century ago.

The news of her death broke online this via the Twitter page of her friend Stefano Gabbana : RIP Anna Piaggi…:((((( ciao grande Anna!!!

If you think that Lady Gaga was the first shocked the world of meat-sewn dress, you will probably be surprised by the fact that in 1978 in masked ball held by Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion industry representatives were retreating from one woman whose eccentric hat was “decorated” in seaweed, shrimp, crabs, and two dead pigeons. While many of Venice Themes Eve dressed themselves in ancient nobles and their courtesans of clothing, one Italian woman has decided that it would be much more interesting to represent the fisherman’s wife and choose something that is a symbol of St. Mark’s Square. In fact, I wonder if anyone was surprised – after all it was a woman, wearing some of the most implausible clothes ever imaginative. Anna  Piaggi loved shocking – she wore Yugoslavian mates’ shoes, covered herself in bolero owned by the duchess of Windsor or wore and pants bought in Manhattan’s army store. She was called “high fashion Cindi Lauper” in mid-eighties and today – one of the world’s top fashion journalists and fashion icons. Unfortunately, the great experimenter deserted the fashion world and left us missing her flighty blue curls and unique style. Karl Lagerfeld, good friend of Anna Piaggi, said that it’s impossible not to transform this woman on paper, as she looks like an invitation to a clip art to look for inspiration. Her story in a fashion began remarkably early, when the future journalist was only just five and her mother gave her a nice Dutch costume including clogs, apron, and lace hat with bright panel attachments. And then began the search for distinctness, which lasted the whole Anna’s life.

She began her almost four decades-long career in Italian “Vogue” in 1969. Anna was offered to help implement various projects in the magazine, so the young Italian constantly was flying around the world’s fashion capitals, meeting with the best photographers, writing reviews, and interviewing models such as Twiggy, Ali McGraw and Verushka. The young journalist has starter to use this red Olivetti Valentine typewriter and continued to type on it until her death.

When Piaggi started wearing the designer clothes, many editors and photographers noticed that on this woman’s body, they seemed to translate as being specifically tailor for her. She was not afraid to adapt at first sight incompatible fabrics and silhouettes which often seemed as the absurd fashion or sculpture and created spontaneously. Those had nothing to do with the prevailing winds of trends (even though she followed and wrote about them), because she did not want to chase the majority, but to  the stand out from it. Anna Piaggi’s clothing and style constantly amazed even her longtime friend of Karl Lagerfeld who dedicated her a special sketch album, Lagerfeld’s Sketchbook, in 1986. He was particularly fascinated by the woman’s habit to regularly travel at least with ten suitcases full of clothes, “She is like the actress, though playing not for the crowds but to herself. She’s not just the stage actress, but the script author as well.” Even asked about wearing such extraordinary outfits Anna replied very simply: “So I can give something to society. Unfortunately I’m no good at cooking food or have any special talents, but I feel that everyone has at least some way to contribute.”

She was not only a great international journalist and fashion editor but also, and foremost, an icon, a muse and an inspiration. The news of her death left me dismayed and at a loss for words; RIP The Legend.

How bold are you to be you?

To rebel the norms?

To be different and to celebrate it?

I’m not, that’s why Anna Piaggi is my inspiration. Are you(rs)?

Images: TFS, jakandjil.com, sartorialist.com, style.com