Piaggi was born in Milan in 1931. She worked as a translator for an Italian publishing company Mondadori, then wrote for fashion magazines such as the Italian edition of Vogue and, in the 1980s, the avant-garde magazine Vanity. She was known especially for double page spreads in the Italian Vogue, where her artistic flair was given free expression in a montage of images and text, with layout by Luca Stoppini.
Since 1969, she used a bright red manual Olivetti Valentine typewriter for her work. Piaggi had a large clothes collection, including 2,865 dresses and 265 pairs of shoes, according to a 2006 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She dressed in an exuberant, unique and eclectic way, never appearing in the same outfit more than once in public. Such was her influence and knowledge in the fashion world, Manolo Blahnik dubbed her "The world's last great authority on frocks".
Her associates in the fashion world included the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (from the 1970s), who has often sketched her, and Manolo Blahnik, who is the designer of many of her shoes. She was the muse of British milliner Stephen Jones. She was also an admirer of British clothes designer Vivienne Westwood and her hats, made by Prudence Millinery. She lived in New York and visited London and Italy periodically since the 1950s. Piaggi appeared in the documentary Bill Cunningham New York on the New York Times fashion and social photographer Bill Cunningham.
- Piaggi, Anna and Karl Lagerfeld. Karl Lagerfeld: A Fashion Journal. Thames and Hudson, 1986. ISBN 0-500-01395-0.
- Lagerfeld, Karl. Lagerfeld's Sketchbook: Karl Lagerfeld's Illustrated Fashion Journal of Anna Piaggi. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988. ISBN 1-55584-019-1.
- Piaggi, A. Africa di Missoni per Italia 90, Anna Piaggi and Gianni Brera. Edizioni Electa, 1990. ISBN 88-435-3410-6.
- Piaggi, A. Anna Piaggi's Fashion Algebra, Anna Piaggi. Thames and Hudson, 1998. ISBN 0-500-01876-6.
- Piaggi, A. Doppie pagine di Anna Piaggi in Vogue. Leonardo Arte, 1998. ISBN 88-7813-883-5.
- Piaggi, A., Wintour, Anna, Michael Roberts, André Leon Talley, and Manolo Blahnik. Manolo Blahnik Drawings. Thames and Hudson, 2003. ISBN 0-500-28413-X.
- Clark, Judith (editor). Anna Piaggi Fashion-ology. Victoria and Albert Museum, 2006. ISBN 0-9552335-0-X/ISBN 978-0-9552335-0-0.
- Whitwort, Melissa (1 February 2012). "'Bill Cunningham New York', gets UK cinema release". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Cunningham, Bill (27 March 1994). "ON THE STREET; Apart From the Crowd". New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
- Bergin, Olivia (7 August 2012). "Fashion world mourns death of fashion writer Anna Piaggi". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Anna Piaggi.|
- Anna Piaggi at the Internet Movie Database
- Style.com photographs
- Images (Archived 25 October 2009), including Lagerfeld sketches and David Bailey photographs.
-  Gallery of Anna Piaggi wearing Glovedup Gloves
- "Anna Piaggi: Fashion-ology exhibition". Fashion, Jewellery & Accessories. Victoria and Albert Museum. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2007.