She left behind countless “doppie pagine” (double page spreads, known as “DP”s) in Vogue Italia–and a treasure trove of clothing. Her clothing collection was supposed to go on display at Milan’s Fabbrica Del Vapore culture center, but according to The Wall Street Journal, the plan fell apart, and Piaggi’s clothes are now hanging in a storage space awaiting their fate.
Part of the difficulty in organizing an exhibit of her clothing is sorting through the sheer size of her wardrobe. Piaggi reportedly lived in a “dark and cluttered” Milan apartment, and at the time of her death she had 40 rolling racks of clothes that took up every room–apparently she was always begging her landlord to rent her extra rooms to fit her ever-expanding collection. Some of the pieces in that collection? Vintage Poiret from 1912 and…McDonald’s staff uniforms. Really.
For a 2006 Victoria and Albert exhibition of her treasures, Piaggi provided the following list of her wardrobe’s contents: 265 pairs of shoes, 932 hats, 2,865 dresses, one exercise bike and 31 feather boas. “I am rather certain Anna made all of that up,” Judith Clark, professor of fashion and museology at London’s University of the Arts, told the WSJ. “She didn’t have a clue as to what was in her closet.”
Even if Piaggi “didn’t have a clue” as to what was in her massive wardrobe, she wore the clothes–and that means they’re not in the best shape. “They were in one of the worst states of conservation I’ve ever seen, but at the same time, [her collection] was full of historic gems,” Clark said.
“She was not a fashion curator,” Karl Lagerfeld told the WSJ. “She lived with her clothes, old and new, and never paid attention to them in a special way. They were part of her daily life.”
But Piaggi’s fantastic wardrobe will get its due eventually. Her brother Alberto, who inherited the collection, said he hopes to stage a series of exhibitions and even possibly a fashion show in Milan. “I don’t think Anna would’ve liked to have been in a big museum,” he said.
We just hope we get the chance to see it one day.