Anna Piaggi | Fashion editor, 81

Posted: August 11, 2012

Anna Piaggi, 81, an oracular Italian fashion editor known for an endless array of eye-popping, wildly colorful outfits of the most peculiar combinations, from thermal mountain-rescue coats to a uniform vest from late-period McDonald's, died Tuesday at her Milan home.

Her death was confirmed by Italian Vogue, where she had created some of her most visually arresting work.

Owing to her vast knowledge of fashion history, as well as a personal wardrobe that included clothes spanning more than 200 years, Ms. Piaggi was often described as "the walking museum."

While working as an interpreter at a press agency in the 1950s, she met the photographer Alfa Castaldi, who was a major contributor to Italian Vogue and who introduced her to the profession of fashion magazines. They were married in 1962 and worked together until Castaldi's death in 1995.

She was an eccentric editor in the mode of Diana Vreeland. ("My pets are my hats," she would say.) During a career that spanned more than five decades, Ms. Piaggi became as much a symbol of the embrace of high-fashion exuberance as the young and wild designers that she championed. She was a muse to many, most famously to Karl Lagerfeld during a particularly glamorous period of his success in Paris, in the 1960s and 1970s.

A 2006 exhibition dedicated to her style, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, drew 4,000 visitors a week. The show opened with an accounting of her wardrobe: 265 pairs of shoes, 29 fans, 932 hats, 2,865 dresses, 24 aprons, and 31 feather boas.

- N.Y. Times News Service

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