I wrote this original post back in 2010, and as I’ve just heard the sad news that Anna Piaggi passed away today, I thought it only right to repost it here. Piaggi was a true original and an inspiration to editors, stylists and designers. Her influence and the gusto with which she wrote about fashion will be truly missed.
I recently started writing for a fantastic website called Running in Heels and my first article for them was published today. RIH is a pan-European website for women ‘with brains as well as style’, set up in March 2009. Politics and culture have an equal footing with fashion and beauty and the site is a refreshing alternative to many of its celeb-following, relationship driven competitors. The lovely editor Alice just happened to have a profile of Anna Piaggi that needed writing so I jumped at the chance to wax lyrical about one of Italy’s greatest exports.
If you haven’t heard of Piaggi then obviously you should check out my profile of her for RIH here but, in brief, she is a whirlwind of colour and enthusiasm that has inspired the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Manolo Blahnik to name but a few, can still rock a front row despite being comfortably into her 80s and has provided visual inspiration to her native Italian Vogue for the last thirty years.
When I first had the epiphany that I wanted to be a journalist, Piaggi was one of the first topics I covered. Her Fashion-ology exhibition at the V&A back in 2006 showed me just what a fashion writer could look like, though I’m sure I’ve never seen another fashion creative come close to her in terms of style, flare or passion.
The article I wrote was a review of this exhibition, which appeared on a folded piece of A4 around my campus which was our creative alternative to the student newspaper. I still have a copy of it somewhere, where my little review sits in between a crossword and a page of creative writing.
At the time I had only just rediscovered my passion for writing and was attempting to turn it into a degree. I approached local magazines and publications for work experience and ended up becoming the fashion columnist for a magazine that I am still writing for, four years later.
I still have the exhibition catalogue for Piaggi’s exhibition carefully tucked away on a bookshelf as a reminder of my first piece, and my first piece of inspiration as a fashion journalist. Whenever I see a picture of her front row antics I think back to the time I walked up the stairs into her exhibition, loosing my student self in her lavish costumes, treasured furniture and enigmatic magazine spreads.
Piaggi is a true fashion icon and will provide you with inspiration no matter what your vocation so do some research, read her books and just enjoy the visual feasts that she has provided over the last forty years…