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.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral