During her many decades of making the fashion world a much more interesting place, Piaggi - who passed away at the age of 81 in her home in Milano - led a life as colorful as her beloved clashing-but-kinda-not print combinations, "exuberant" (to put it mildly) maquillage & of course, her signature hats.
...inspired shoe designs by her pal Manolo Blahnik, who deemed her "The world's last great authority on frocks".
...was frequently sketched by her amigo & co-author, Kaiser Karl.
...was muse to British milliner Stephen Jones.
...owned almost 3,000 frocks and 265 pairs of shoes according to a 2006 exhibition, Fashion-ology, at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
... created flamboyant, creative double-page spreads for Italian Vogue.
... used a bright red Olivetti Valentine typewriter, manual of course, to pen her many fashion articles.
As a "walking fashion museum" who was so above the trends, she had clothing over 200 years old in her extravagant wardrobe, she was considered by many in the industry to be one of the most intelligent editors and to some, "the" expert on fashion. "Piaggi has had a significant influence on the fashion world and was the clear trendsetter of the eye-catching fashion model that we see plenty of today," says Sam Sisakhti of online indie-marketplace UsTrendy. "Piaggi demonstrated to the world that emotion and influence are vital components of a successful fashion design. We are seeing a trend in this industry where more celebrities are taking to her type of fashion including Lady Gaga and even Madonna."
And her influence will no doubt be felt for a good long time to come, especially where the more risk-taking, creative designers are concerned. "Piaggi’s life serves as inspiration for designers we work with," continues Sisakhti, "and empowers independent designers to come forward with their work, regardless of design."
- Lesley Scott
(IMAGES: collage at top - top left/Union Jack hat via allure; in the "newspaper" print - ganzomag.com; bottom left in "military" outfit - The Sartorialist; rainbow-fur collar coat - ganzomag.com; fuschia fur & pink hat - Fashionologie.com; Manolo Blahnik striped shoes above right - Style Bubble; some of Piaggi's vast wardrobe at a 2006 exhibition at the V&A - Washington Post; with milliner Stephen Jones at the V&A exhibition - Washington Post)