On Tuesday, fashion writer, muse, style maven, and perpetual wearer of eccentric hats, Anna Piaggi, passed away at her home in Milan. She was 81.
Piaggi first made a name for herself in the fashion world as a critic in the 1960s, writing for the Italian magazine Arianna and later contributing double-page spreads for Vogue Italia. Through both her writing and her outrageous outfits, Piaggi gradually acquired a large following of friends and admirers that included fashion notables like Karl Lagerfeld, Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, and Stella McCartney.
In 2006, The Albert Museum in London honored the prolific fashion collector by staging an exhibit of her whimsical collection, titled "Fashion-ology." The signature Piaggi items on display included a staggering 2,865 dresses, 932 hats, and 265 pairs of shoes. Each of the mannequins on display was cheekily adorned with Piaggi's distinctive shock of blue hair.
Last year, Piaggi made a brief appearance in the fashion documentary "Bill Cunningham New York." Cunningham, a decades-long documentarian of Piaggi's bold outfits, praised her as a, "fine poet in clothes."
Italian designer Stefano Gabbana was the first to break the news of Piaggi's death, lamenting over Twitter, "RIP Anna Piaggi... :((((( ciao grande Anna!!!"
As news of Piaggi's death spread, other powerful fashion players like Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia, Anna Della Russo, Nina Garcia, and Amanda Lepore tweeted words acknowledging the style icon's legacy.
Burlesque performer and fashion designer Dita Von Teese tweeted, "So sad to hear that Anna Piaggi, one of my last icons of beauty & fashion has passed. She was the height of glamorous eccentricity."
The cause of Piaggi's death has not yet been reported.