Anarchists of Style: Anna Piaggi (1931-2012)

She was, “the visual aristocracy of Italy,” said Manolo Blahnik.  In the afterlife, Rosita Missoni conjectured, “no doubt she is giving [the angels] advice, perhaps on getting a colored streak in their hair.” At the September 21st memorial for Anna Piaggi, held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, fashion’s great names celebrated the life of one of their most eccentric and iconic. The woman they …

Anarchists of Style: Anna Piaggi (1931-2012)

One exceptionally vibrant chapter of fashion history came to an end on August 7, with the death of journalist and fashion iconoclast, Anna Piaggi. She was, according to photographer Bill Cunningham, “a poet with clothes.” Her particular sartorial syntax championed the inconceivable, the theatrical and extraordinary. Without her unrivaled spark, fashion seems one step closer to Kansas. Return here in two weeks for more on …

Anarchists of Style: The Pre-Raphaelites (Snapshot)

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which formed under the leadership of Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1848, took a notably rebellious stance on contemporary ideas of beauty. They considered la mode—women contorted by tight corsets and voluminous skirts—to be ugly, unnatural. Instead, the Pre-Raphaelites idealized the medieval age, a time when dress celebrated the body’s natural silhouette and was simple, unadorned and allowed the honest grace of the …

Anarchists of Style: Cleopatra

Cleopatra’s ancestors created the great library at Alexandria and built the lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the wonders of the ancient world. But nothing from this dynasty’s legacy matches the import—and the cultural wonder—inspired by Cleopatra herself, the beloved Egyptian queen who killed her husband–brother and bedded both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, two of the most powerful men in the world. In matters of …

Anarchists of Style: Theodora, Empress of Byzantium (500-548)

  As a young actress, one of Theodora’s notable rolls was in Leda and the Swan. Partially undressed, she lay on the stage as geese plucked at barley seed scattered on her groin. Theodora eventually found religion and left the stage—but not before bearing a daughter out of wedlock and earning the appellation “Theodora of the Brothel.” However, even as she atoned for her past …

Anarchists of Style: The Brown Twins (snapshot)

  The iconic sisters of San Francisco, Vivian and Marion Brown, have always dressed alike, with the exception of “one short period [when] we decided we didn’t like it.” They share a closet and styling duties. Although, Marion told SF Gate in 2009, “She’s been ill and I’ve been doing all the dressing for the last year and a half.”

Anarchists of Style: Iké Udé

  Artist, dandy and generous spirit Iké Udé spoke with Worn Through about the art of sartorial excellence, his inspiration to pursue it and the importance of costume as an index of culture. A resident of New York City, in addition to making our streets a more beautiful place to stroll, Udé shares our passion for icons of style, whom he celebrates in aRude magazine …

Anarchists of Style: Louise Nevelson (snapshot)

Like her iconic sculpture, Louise Nevelson constructed a sartorial style that was at once challenging and playful. Partial to false eyelashes and long gowns, her dramatic presence visually declared her commitment to challenge norms–which she achieved in both her work and her life.

Anarchists of Style: Marchesa Louisa Casati

The enormous agate-black eyes seemed to be eating her thin face. Again she was a vision, a mad vision, surrounded as usual by her black and white greyhounds and a host of charming and utterly useless ornaments. But curiously enough she did not look unnatural. – Catherine Barjansky The eyes of Marchesa Louisa Casati glittered from the effects of eyedrops laced with belladona, a toxic …

Anarchists of Style: Cher (A Snapshot)

For more than 40 years, audiences have wowed, gasped, and often shaken their heads over Cher’s almost unnaturally perfect physique, exposed in sheer, sparkling, barely-there Bob Mackie ensembles. Her’s is a look that cannot (should not!) be mainstreamed. She has fun with it. As a presenter at the 1986 Academy Awards, wearing a bit of bondage-inspired fun and a huge feathered Mohawk headdress, she teased …

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