21-Jun, 20:49

04:29, February 23 214 0

2018-02-23 04:29:03
Anna dello Russo, Street-Style Star, Decides to Move On

The original street-style star — the woman who first understood the career potential of dressing for the sidewalk — has had enough.

This weekend Anna dello Russo, the Italian fashion editor who turned self-veneration into social media gold and 1.4 million Instagram followers, is beginning to say goodbye to all that. At 55, she’s jettisoning the spoils of her internet age: selling some of her clothes and taking the first steps toward killing off her digital alter ego, A.d.R.

On Saturday, Christie’s is to auction 30 of what the editor described as her most iconic outfits — by the likes of Gianni Versace, Tom Ford for Gucci, Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga — during an invitation-only event at a palazzo on the Corso di Porta Romana in Milan. Proceeds are to benefit the Swarovski Foundation Scholarship program, which collaborates with design schools to support emerging talents.

(Nadja Swarovski is holding a dinner as part of the event, which also will celebrate the publication of “AdR Book: Beyond Fashion,” by Phaidon.

At the same time, about 150 items from Ms. dello Russo’s clothing and accessories will be sold online through Net-a-Porter. Ever-conscious of the millennial orientation, she decided that the sale will be inclusive (exclusive is so last year), with bidding to start at an accessible 50 euros ($62). Proceeds will go to the British Fashion Council Education Foundation.

Could this be the beginning of the end of street-style flamboyance?

“It’s the best revolution this industry has ever had,” Ms. dello Russo said. “We’re still in the transition phase, but the next generation should appreciate visibility is not the only route to success.”

Born in Bari, Italy, in 1962, Ms. dello Russo spent 18 years at Condé Nast Italia, as fashion editor at Vogue Italia and editing L’Uomo Vogue. In 2009 she started a blog and a new position as creative editor at large with Vogue Japan, and A.d.R. was born.

“I realized I could work in a different way,” Ms. dello Russo said. “I no longer had to remain in the office.”

She described it as “emerging from a cocoon,” although she actually would emerge from her town car — in a different outfit — at every event she attended. The internet became enthralled. But to Ms. dello Russo, fashion shows were simply business meetings with paparazzi.

“She’s like a pop star,” said Luigi Murenu, one half of the photographic duo Luigi & Iango. “You only see their stage appearance. You forget beneath it all is so much drive, talent and professionalism.”

(In all her years at Condé Nast Italia, Ms. dello Russo never took a sick day. “I was a hard-liner, a fanatic,” she said. “It was pure devotion.”)

Many fashion insiders sniffed at Ms. dello Russo as a mere exhibitionist. Yet her exuberance and experimentation proved to be catnip for millennials bored with cookie-cutter commercial fashion.

“She’s not a natural extrovert,” said Ariela Goggi, Vogue Italia’s former vice director. “This kind of success isn’t happenstance. She’s crazy about fashion, but she’s not crazy.”

Still, Ms. dello Russo admits she spent “crazy amounts of money” on designer clothing over the years and, at one point, filled the apartment next door with her clothes. ”Everyone says I’m mad, but if you’re a librarian, what do you spend your money on?” she asked. “Books. My clothes were my books, my alphabet.”

She already has given away and donated some of her clothes, as a way of working through her grief over the loss of her mentors: Manuela Pavesi, the stylist, photographer and Miuccia Prada collaborator, who died in 2015; and Franca Sozzani, the longtime editor of Italian Vogue, who died in December 2016.

“When I lost them both,” Ms. dello Russo said, “I realized it was the end of an era.”

So after a lifetime of editing clothes, and a decade on her social networks, she decided it was time to edit herself. And, she said, she has found love with Angelo Gioia, a businessman who had been a childhood friend.

Now she harbors ambitions to become a kind of fashion Socrates, envisaging an itinerant future lecturing on the philosophy of fashion. (She sees the $200 AdR book, which will include a sticker album of her most celebrated looks and a journal, posters, a scrapbook of collaborations and photographs, a flipbook and pop-up illustrations, as “a baton to pass on to the next generation;” a kind of pop culture history of the time when street style became a phenomenon.

Will she miss her clothes?

Nah. She has the memories.