I woke up this morning with Mr. B informing me that Marella Agnelli passed away today at her home in Turin, Italy. She was 91. Marella came from an aristocratic family; her mother was a whiskey heiress from Peoria, Illinois who married into Italian nobility. Marella married Gianni Agnelli, late Fiat president, in 1953 and they stayed together until his death in 2003. They had two children, although her son died tragically of suicide in 2000. She had a sophisticated look and was referred to by Truman Capote as one of his “swans”, the nickname he gave to some of his inner circle, wealthy and stylish women friends that also included Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Lee Radziwill, C. Z. Guest, and Gloria Guinness. The nickname was appropriate since she was known for her elongated and slender neck. Marella was also a former Condé Nast photographer and editor. She designed textiles and published books, including “The Last Swan”, an autobiography published in 2014 that was co-authored with her niece, Marella Caracciolo Chia. Marella and her husband were avid art collectors and she served as the honorary president of the Pinacoteca Giovanni and Marella Agnelli in Turin, which Mr. B and I visited during our trip to Italy this past fall.
For more about the stylish life of the Agnelli’s, check out my prior post here. You can also read a 2014 article written by her niece in T Magazine that provides a comprehensive overview of Marella’s life.