Fashion writer and longtime contributor to Vogue Italia Anna Piaggi has died. She was 81. Piaggi was known for her elaborate dress, fondness for tiny hats, sky blue hair, and theatrical makeup. Piaggi's wardrobe was showcased in a 2006 exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She was a muse to milliner Stephen Jones, a friend of Karl Lagerfeld, and she claimed never to have publicly worn the same outfit twice:
"I have always liked to mix my look. Every dress tells a story. I am very careful about how I look. I never appear anywhere without make-up on. In fact, I never even go out of my bedroom without make-up. I never wear the same thing twice in public. I love hats and I love little canes and binoculars. It looks like everything is just put together in a haphazard way — but no, it is very carefully thought out. Karl Lagerfeld once held a ball and the theme was Venetian and everyone was dressing as Doges but I decided to go as a fishwife. I balanced a wicker basket on my head filled with seaweed and crabs and I hung two pigeons I'd bought from the butcher round my neck but at midnight they started to bleed so I had to leave like Cinderella!"
Franca Sozzani Tweeted, "23 years of working together, thousands of D.P. carried out together. I will always remember you, Anna." ("D.P." or doppie pagine is Italian for double-page spread, the feature for which Piaggi was best known.) [@FrancaSozzani]
Dita Von Teese Tweeted, "So sad to hear that Anna Piaggi, one of my last icons of beauty & fashion has passed. She was the height of glamorous eccentricity." [@DitaVonTeese]
- It's dark times for ladymags. Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar both had essentially flat year-on-year newsstand sales during the first six months of this year, but W (-2.2%), Vogue (-16.5%), Lucky (-15.5%), Allure (-19%), Elle (-20%), Glamour (-6.8%), and InStyle (-4.5%) all posted big declines. [WWD]
- Cathy Horyn recalls observing fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert compiling her International Best-Dressed List (which Vanity Fair has taken over since Lambert's death) and asks, on the occasion of this year's list, why the publisher and Ebony Fashion Fair founder Eunice Johnson never made the list:
That afternoon in Ms. Lambert's faded living room the discussion was quite polite, if pointed. (I sensed that some socialites would never meet the entry standards, which were vague to me, and that their names were dropped into the ring basically so they could be swatted away.) I'm tempted to say that the committee members accepted their duties in the same lighthearted spirit of the list.
After all, they were not handing out Nobel Prizes. But in fact most of the debate was dead serious. [...]
Ms. Johnson was far ahead of her time in recognizing that fashion should be beautiful but not elitist. I was surprised, then, to discover that she never made the Best Dressed List. Not in any year. Even if she had more substantial accolades during her lifetime, surely her activities and personal taste merited this small attention.
- In today's news of where and how the majority of our clothing is made, Thailand is concerned that its apparel manufacturing industry is being threatened by neighbors like Myanmar and Cambodia, which have lower labor costs. The daily minimum wage in Bangkok and six Thai provinces was raised to $9.41 in May, over the objections of companies. [WWD]
Model Ali Stephens got married this weekend. Her maid of honor was fellow model Toni Garrn. [Fashion Copious]
- Betsey Johnson the clothing company is bankrupt and gone — but the brand will, as planned, live on through licensing. A line of Betsey Johnson branded "solid and printed sexy, flowing dresses" will be shown at New York fashion week and sold via department stores for $99-$249. [WWD]
- Free People, the Urban Outfitters-owned brand, is coming to the U.K. In the fall it will launch a dedicated e-commerce site there (its U.S. site already ships to the U.K.) and sell via department stores. [WWD]
- Meanwhile, French brand the Kooples is coming to the U.S. via Bloomingdale's. [WWD]