Paying Tribute: Marella Agnelli

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. 

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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. 

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1966 Black and White Ball

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GIOVANNI AGNELLI WITH HIS WIFE MARELLA WALKING IN THEIR GARDEN, TURIN, ITALY - 1984

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AGNELLI STYLE

Gianni-Agnelli-sailing on Reviving CharmAt the 2017 Venice Film Festival, HBO released the documentary “Agnelli”. It’s a fascinating account of the late Gianni Agnelli’s life through the 1960’s, 70s, and 80’s as he ruled the Italian economy and high society. He was part industrialist serving as the patriarch of Fiat and part style maker. Every man wanted to be Gianni and his sense of style was one that may men tried to replicate. When it came to fashion, one of his most notable trademarks was wearing a watch over the cuff of his sleeve. Even today not many men could pull off this look but Gianni Agnelli did it with ease and grace. He had an art for making the difficult look simple; Italian nonchalance, if you will.gianni agnelli fashion style_Reviving Charm

gianni agnelli quote_Reviving CharmThe documentary “Agnelli” is currently being shown on HBO through January 21. If you are looking for something to do indoors this weekend then I strongly suggest that you check it out. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve already watched it 3 times and I’m sure I’ll watch it again at some point this weekend.

I couldn’t draft this post about mentioning his wife, Marella Agnelli. Afterall, as they say…behind every strong man is a stronger woman. Although Marella came from an aristocratic family (her mother was a whiskey heiress from Peoria, Illinois who married into Italian nobility), her life of grandeur really didn’t begin until she married Gianni Agnelli in 1953.gianni marella-agnelli-wedding_Reviving Charm

Today, Marella is well into her 90’s and back in Fall 2014, she coauthored a book, The Last Swan, with her niece and namesake Marella Caracciola published by Rizolli. It’s one of my favorite books in my collection. the last swan agnelli book cover_Reviving Charm

It’s a glimpse into the life of privilege that serves as part memoir and part picture book showcasing many of the beautiful homes and gardens Marella created and shared with her late husband Gianni. It’s a look into a life of unimaginable wealth that only very few people on this planet will ever experience. Indeed, la dolce vita. agnelli home _Reviving CharmAgnelli home 2_Reviving Charmagnelli-villar-perosa-italy-01-chinese-gallery_Reviving Charmagnelli dining room_Reviving Charmagnelli home 4_Reviving Charmagnelli home_Reviving Charmagnelli home 5_Reviving Charmagnelli home 3_Reviving CharmAgenlli home_Reviving Charm