May 29, 2009
The Spice of Life, at any age - Anna Piaggi vs Betsey Johnson
Anna Piaggi is an Italian fashion writer and style icon. I was first introduced to her through Fashion Television and The Sartorialist. With her blue kiss curls and kohled eyes, walking sticks and crazy hats this 73-year-old is striking and unmistakable. Her friend, shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, calls her "modern beyond belief." He also dubbed her 'the world's last great authority on frocks'.
Piaggi writes for fashion magazines such as the Italian edition of Vogue. Since 1969 she has used a bright red manual Olivetti typewriter for her work. She shows up at many fashion shows and events dressed in an exuberant and eclectic way. Piaggi never appears in public in the same outfit more than once. Her huge clothes collection includes 2,865 dresses and 265 pairs of shoes.
Although flamboyant and unique I have never seen Anna Piaggi crack a smile. She seems to take herself too seriously. She reminds me of a teacher at Junior-Pup’s elementary school, who on “hat day” wore a gigantic foam fish on her head but didn’t smile all day.
Because of Piaggi’s sullenness, I feel she’s mocking us; reminiscent of street punks with the spiky mohawks who dare us to look and then say, ‘Wot you lookin’ at then?”
Sixty-six year old Betsey Johnson is a fashion designer known for her feminine yet exuberant designs. I've known of her since college days when many of her designs were considered over the top. She’s loves the colour pink and is noted for doing a cartwheel at the end of her fashion shows. Johnson looks happy and fit and has the bod of a lucky 20 year old.
Winning Mademoiselle’s Guest Editor contest started Johnson's fashion career. Soon she became part of both the youthquake fashion movement and Andy Warhol's underground scene. She was married for 3 years to Velvet Underground's John Cale. In 1969, she opened a boutique in New York called Betsey Bunki Nini. Edie Sedgwick was her house model.
As one journalist recently quoted, “If Betsey Johnson didn’t exist; we would have to invent her, simply to remind ourselves that fashion can be fun. She’s the original wild child and set to paint the town pink!”
I’m always taken aback by Johnson’s joie de vivre and energy. She makes me smile.
Which one of these women would you like to share a beer with or a cup of coffee? Which one would you like to have as your mother-in-law (or sister-in-law)? Discuss!
Have a nice weekend everybody!