Fashion Week has a reputation as a time for glamour, a time for fun but for all the flash-bulbs and parties there was a fog of sorrow at the Italian leg that seemed to dim things somewhat.
This was the first Milan Fashion Week since the passing of Anna Piaggi, the flamboyant and brilliant Vogue Italia editor who had been a significant presence at the shows long before the writers, bloggers, models and celebrities in attendance this time around were even born.
But the woman famed for her garish yet curiously fabulous outfits and intimate relationships with all the best designers still managed to capture her fair share of the attention at the event, with a memorial service held on Friday at Milan’s Palazzo Reale, the 200 guests in attendance counting Franca Sozanni, Carla Fendi, Manolo Blahnik, and Rosita Missoni.
Among the speakers was milliner Stephen Jones, who recalled a time when Piaggi called him up requesting some waterproof hats and when he enquired why, she responded ‘Well, I can’t be naked in the sauna.’
Anna Piaggi and Stephen Jones
It was these pieces of bright whimsy that led the New York Times to lament the Piaggi was ‘perhaps the last example of a fashion eccentric’. And whilst it’s true the Piaggi, in all her multi-coloured fur and airport-scaring amount of jewellery glory, will never be replaced, it was fitting that on the very same day the fashion industry said goodbye to Piaggi, a sort of successor in terms of sentiment, approach to style and way with words emerged.
For at her ready-to-wear show on Friday, a triumph of lace-trimmed booty shorts, nude knee-high sandals, and cut-out kaftans slashed to the waist with a live performance from the ever-electric Beth Ditto, Donatella Versace
without irony described her collection as ‘subtle’ to Women’s Wear Daily. ‘Subtle. Can you underline this’ she explained to the industry bible.
Versace S/S 13
If that is what she considers subtle, God knows what we can expect from the Italian diva in the future. Anna Piaggi couldn’t have put it better herself.