First Image
Flamboyance
The British sometimes clip their kids around the ear when they catch them showing off. The Italians, on the other hand, dress up their children in order that they might receive maximum adoration from all. It’s the reason Italy is Europe’s prime source of extroverts. Take Anna Piaggi of Italian Vogue, who is respected and loved for her unique and flamboyant way of putting clothes together.
Piaggi is so dedicated to the spirit of fashion that she finds current designer trends sterile. She believes that clothes are part of a cultural continuum, and that referencing back is the only way to give meaning to the present. She has amassed a large collection of clothes and accessories from all periods, going back as far as the 18th century. These she mixes and matches into an eclectic brew. She is a walking visual fashion encyclopaedia. So wholehearted is Piaggi’s belief in what she is doing, she doesn’t see her appearance as fancy dress. When I once asked her what she wore to go to the supermarket, she looked puzzled. She wears exactly what she wears at fashion shows. For her, there is no other way to dress. To some eyes, Piaggi might seem a batty old woman. Even if she is, thank goodness for her conviction. In these days of homogenised conglomerates wanting us all to wear the same labels in the same way, she stands out like a colourful flag.
(First published January 2006)

Picture source; Anna Piaggi at Life Ball in Vienna, 2007. Photo by Glenn Belverio