Hats off: Milliner Stephen Jones salutes the late, great Anna Piaggi - Vogue Italia fashion editor and crowned queen of high Italian style


Anna and I got on really well. I mean, Anna loved hats! She became a friend first of all, but very swiftly became a client. Friendship and hats went along with each other.

When she had her exhibition, Fashion-ology, at the V&A in 2006, we were both interviewed about each other in separate rooms – it was like Mr & Mrs! They said to me, "How are you friends?" and I said, "You know, I love her dearly. But I have to say, if I didn't make hats I don't think we'd be such close friends". The funniest thing? She said exactly the same thing!

The hats came first, always. If I took hats to her apartment in Milan, she'd say hello first. Then she'd grab the box out of my hands and put the hat on. My friends don't have to be hat people, but boy does it help.

Anna was ruthlessly practical. Why did she like small hats? It meant that if she went to Paris for 10 days, she'd have 20 hats.

She wasn't precious about clothes. At the V&A exhibition, she wanted to have a whole series of doors at the back of the set to throw her clothes, her Poirets, all over the doors and over the floor. Or on an unmade bed. That very much wasn't the language of the V&A, but it was Anna's language. She almost pulled out 10 days before the show, because they wouldn't do that.

My favourite story about Anna comes from one of John Galliano's early shows for Dior [spring/summer 1999 ready-to-wear], a Constructivist collection. All the dresses were very fitted, very, very narrow. Anna went down to Dior to borrow something to wear. When she went inside, the press girls announced, "We're terribly sorry Mrs Piaggi, the clothes are very strictly cut this season. Nothing will fit you". Anna selected a red, white and black organza dress, ripped it off the hanger, tied it in an enormous bow around her neck and declared "See, it fits perfectly!".


During the exhibition of her hats that I curated in Milan last September, there was one hat that was stolen, the shoe hat that Bill Cunningham [one-time milliner and now legendary fashion photographer for the New York Times] made for her. When I told the photographer, Bardo Fabiani, that this had happened, he said, "Anna would be laughing! She'd be much happier that someone was wearing one of her hats than it sitting on a pole in a museum".

That's my thought, too. She'd love it. She wore them, she gave them life. Clothes aren't anything without being worn. That joy of wearing fashion she really loved.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas