Finally. This week brought both the birthday and wedding anniversary of my mother we have been planning and waiting for. Mina celebrated her 100th birthday.
Family is our first world and reality and I am sure that the more we cherish these relationships we have with family and friends the more it can bring strength and harmony into our lives. It is very simple – have a very good sense of humor
and a very bad memory and it all works perfectly.
Of my visits to Via San Martino and Alfa and Anna’s home, I always remember the Bugatti chairs. Alfa, Anna and Vern had collected the chairs of Carlo Bugatti.
A great architect, designer and maker of Art Nouveau furniture, Carlo left Milano and went off to design furniture for the Turkish Salon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the Bon Marché in Paris and finally moved to France. He was also the father of Ettore Bugatti, the car designer. Alfa and Vern used to make a game of putting all the chairs in a line and then decide which was the most beautiful – a star competition.
I learned much about fashion and culture from Anna, but also freedom.
A way of living with integrity and where real values were friends.
Anna could be a friend to anybody, but of course, by instinct, she loved talents. Attracted to the new, curious and free, she truly made her own rules and was rigorous in living by them. She became famous for her way of dressing, finding trends, talents, recycling and reinventing and this will never be done with the same passion, style or sense of wonder again. Sometimes hiding behind her clothes,
using humour to heal wounds, few really knew her deeply.
Here she is photographed by one of her most loved friends, David Bailey.
Walter was a close friend of Anna Piaggi.
That is how I met him, and we also became friends. Here, his star dress from 1968, photographed by Alfa Castaldi, Anna’s mentor and husband until his death in 1995. Walter was a master designer and a master of drawing. He was a Pisces,
the first thing he would tell you, and obsessed with the stars – on the right some of his constellation t-shirts.We had an exhibition of his drawings in 1991 that was curated by Paolo Rinaldi, Walter’s work and faithful life partner, a Cancer.
This is Anna wearing a star printed dress from the 1960’s with her husband
Alfa Castaldi, who also took the picture. That was around the time when I started working with Alfa as a young fashion editor and met Anna for the first time.Those years are unforgettable. Fashion was expanding beyond the couture houses onto the streets in casual and ready to wear, and Anna was having a stronger and stronger imprint on how it was photographed and how she saw herself. She was discovering and encouraging designers like Walter Albini, Manolo Blahnik, Ken Scott, Silvano Malta, Antonio Lopez. She created a family of election that continued to grow with her – Stephen Jones, Rifat Ozbek and many younger designers, students, and adding most recently a large family of bloggers and websites always watchful and appreciative of her comments and insights.There will never be anybody like her.
The night of San Lorenzo, the 10th of August, is the night of the shooting stars and also the anniversary of my parent’s wedding. It is an Italian tradition we celebrate in a special way every year. Since when you see a shooting star you make a wish while the meteors are raining down – as many as 100 an hour – is super magic for making all things possible with stars of hope. Tonight, Sunday, look to the north for the flying horse constellation Perseus and catch the tears of San Lorenzo.
I did not know you could purchase a star and give it as a gift to someone you love.
My mother whose birthday we have come to celebrate on the day of San Lorenzo, also her wedding anniversary, received a star called Mina 100, her name and years, from her best friend. The gift includes a star registry certificate and a map showing were to look for it. Mina is now over her head in the constellation of the archer, Sagittarius to be seen on a clear night. Amazing. To name a star.