News of her death first hit the internet when close friend and designer Stefano Gabbanna tweeted, “RIP Anna Piaggi… :((((( ciao grande Anna!!!” Since then, there has been an outpouring of support on Twitter for the woman whom Bill Cunningham described in his documentary Bill Cunningham New York as “a fine poet with clothes.”
“To see her at a fashion show was to witness a tiny, significant riot,” wrote Sarah Nicole Prickett (@snpsnpsnp) while industry bigwigs like stylists and W editors Lori Goldstein and Edward Enninful have also weighed in with their thoughts and condolences. “did i just wake up to find out anna piaggi died????” Goldstein tweeted. “that makes me more than sad… A TRUE 1 of kind w/ style & substance. not like todays faux.” “So SAD!! Legendary!!!” tweeted Enninful. “I will miss forever Anna Piaggi!!!” added Anna Dello Russo. Dita Von Teese was a fan, too, writing, “So sad to hear that Anna Piaggi, one of my last icons of beauty & fashion has passed. She was the height of glamorous eccentricity. X”
Piaggi became a fashion journalist in the ’60s as the editor of Ariadne (which was, according to La Repubblica, the first women’s magazine in Italy) and went on to contribute to Italian Vogue as well as other publications. She also penned a book, Fashion Algebra. But she will be remembered as much for her unique style as for her contributions to fashion journalism. She’s been sketched by Karl Lagerfeld, served as muse to countless designers, including milliner Stephen Jones, and was the subject of an exhibit, Fashion-ology, at the Victoria and Albert museum in 2006.
I had the great pleasure of seeing Piaggi at a few fashion shows. I remember the first time I saw her at a show at Istanbul fashion week two years ago, of all places. At 79, she still traveled to see new fashion. The noisy crowd under the tent went silent as Piaggi made her way to the front row and took her seat and then burst into applause. Even the young Turkish teens knew, here was a fashion legend.
The fashion world has lost an original. She will be immensely missed.