MILAN — Anna Piaggi had her eccentric style, blue hair and bold makeup, Franca Sozzani her angelic long blonde hair and Giusi Ferré was unmistakable with his layers of silk capes, spiky red hair and statement jewelry. Like her peers, Ferré, who died on the night of April 14 at the age of 75 after a long illness, helped tell the story of Italian and international fashion for decades, and became a benchmark in the industry. .
Ferré developed his career by writing for magazines such as Epoca and L’Europeo. She served as co-director of Amica and later wrote her own column, “Buccia di Banana [banana peel]for the weekly Io Donna, published by Corriere della Sera, commenting on the style errors of celebrities. The columns later became a book by Rizzoli.
She wrote the book “Giorgio Armani. Il Sesso Radicale” in 2015 and on Friday the designer said: “Dear Giusi, you have been a friend, discreet and loyal. I will miss your depth of sensitivity, through which you were able to tell my thoughts and my work. And I will miss your irony, critical thinking and tinkling laughter.
She was also friends with Gianfranco Ferré, to whom she was not related, repeating it again and again. It was an easy mistake, given their physical resemblance, said Rita Airaghi, cousin of the late designer and longtime collaborator who created Fondazione Gianfranco Ferré.
Born in Milan on December 16, 1946, the writer and the cartoonist were only two years apart and “they understood each other, shared problems related to their imposing physique and teased each other about it. Gianfranco would even suggest dietary advice – she had a strong sense of humor,” Airaghi recalls. “She was very special, I am deeply saddened, it is another piece of my life that is disappearing and Gianfranco and I have shared so many moments with her on our journey since the mid-70s. She had an ability to understand the fashion that was quite unique. She was enlightened, her words were sharp, clear and precise, she was extremely cultured and educated and quoted and referenced any author with surprising ease. Her passion became an example for the next generation of journalists, who see her as a mentor and a teacher.
Giorgio Re, a communications specialist and member of Gianfranco Ferré’s former press office, recalled one of her quirks, as she refused to use a computer and continued to work with a typewriter. He also recalled how the creator, who died in 2007, and the journalist were bound by “a strong affection and shared a lively intellectual exchange, both of the same frankness towards each other. Her culture was vast and she always added sociological and cultural reflections to her comments on fashion. She was very rigorous in her work, but she had a strong sense of irony and a beautiful spontaneous laugh.
“We are all very upset and moved, the magazine was born with Giusi,” said Danda Santini, editor-in-chief of Io Donna. “His column has always been the favorite of our readers. She was an exceptional collaborator, always on time…and with very precise writing skills,” she said. “She could easily play ping-pong between fashion, culture and lifestyle [subjects]. She was bright and cultured, but at the same time she could be very light-hearted, humorous and self-deprecating, which isn’t always typical in our industry. Although she was professionally sharp, she was adorable, always smiling and laughing.
In 2007, during the first of four seasons of the television show “Italia’s Next Top Model”, the local edition of the cult American franchise hosted by Tyra Banks, Ferré and Santini were both judges and the latter reminded how the veteran journalist was “objective in her judgments, yet still tormented when it came to taking down an aspiring young model with big dreams and ambitions; it was a testament to her strong empathy.
“I met Giusi at the beginning of my career at Versace. She was already established and I was only 19 and I saw her as a reference,” said Emanuela Schmeidler, founder of the Milanese communication agency ES_PR. “She was a great writer, and she listened and reinterpreted like few others. She always had a vision, whatever her pen expressed. This vision continues today among young writers who share this passion for writing. When there was a need for quality of thought, Giusi was always in the lead. I had a lot of respect for her, for the way she dealt with the difficulties of life, and she was a true friend. A play written by Giusi has always been a privilege.
— With contributions from Martino Carrera