When Anna Piaggi passed away in August 2012, it closed a door on a certain period in fashion. Like Alexander McQueen, Diana Vreeland and many more before her, she acted as a landmark in time; a milestone for a particular period of eccentricity within fashion, wearing and collecting designer pieces with the same exuberance and aplomb with which she reported on them.
"Piaggi acted as a landmark in time; a milestone for a particular period of eccentricity within fashion"
Piaggi was known for her extraordinary wardrobe, with signature headwear completing each look. Her collection of hats is currently on show in Milan in an exhibition entitled Hat-ology, curated by her close friend Stephen Jones. Upon meeting Jones in 1982, Piaggi cut off all of her hair in order to give him a blank canvas to work with. The hats now tell an autobiographical tale of Piaggi, from her marriage to photographer Alfa Castaldi to becoming a muse for Karl Lagerfeld and her contributions to multiple fashion platforms.
The hats are displayed within a recreation of Piaggi’s Milan apartment. Within the plume of a hat feather or the sequin on a Union Jack top hat, there is a punch of exotic Piaggi spirit; a unique narrative vision, driven by intelligence and feisty wit.
Hat-ology is on at the Palazzo Morando, Milan, until 30 November.
Text by Mhairi Graham