MILAN -- Fashion journalist Anna Piaggi, who provided inspiration for designer Karl Lagerfeld and was celebrated for her own eccentric style, died Tuesday. She was 81.

Vogue Italia said on its website that she died in Milan. No cause of death was given.

For years, Piaggi's vibrant dress sense – including funky hats and theatrical makeup – made her stand out on the front rows of Milan and Paris runway shows.

Piaggi started her career as a translator for Mondadori publishing company, and went on to write for, among others, Vogue Italia. She provided inspiration for Lagerfeld, who published a sketchbook of her creations and once wrote "Anna invents fashion."

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition in 2006 of her extensive wardrobe collection, including thousands of dresses and hundreds of pairs of shoes.

Master milliner Stephen Jones paid tribute to Piaggi, saying she had served as his "guiding light and an inspiration" and praising her for her "effervescence and inventiveness."

In a statement to The Associated Press, the British hat designer for royalty and superstars reminisced about how Piaggi would call him and "say `Ah, Stephen, I am doing a wonderful thing and I need a new hat.'"

Jones said he had visited Piaggi in her apartment just two weeks ago, and they were making plans to take in the men's shows in London in January.

Jones said Piaggi was not only his muse, she was also "a talisman for all those around the world who believe that fashion is a way of life and that freedom of expression should manifest itself in what we wear."

See photos of Piaggi and her amazing outfits below!
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  • July 2002

    Anna Piaggi attends a Paris Fashion Show (Getty photo)

  • September 2003

    Anna Piaggi at the Sophie Kokosalaki Spring 2003 fashion show during London Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • February 2004

    Anna Piaggi at London Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2004

    Anna Piaggi attends Celine's RTW 2005 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2005

    Anna Piaggi a party held by Michel Kein in Paris (Getty photo)

  • February 2005

    Anna Piaggi attends a tribute to Matthew Williamson during London Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • March 2005

    Anna Piaggi at 'The Girls' Fashion Week book launch party (Getty photo)

  • September 2005

    Anna Piaggi attends a Vogue Italia party (Getty photo)

  • October 2005

    Anna Piaggi attends the Viktor & Rolf fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2005

    Anna Piaggi and Vivienne Westwood during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2005

    Anna Piaggi at the Lagerfeld Gallery during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Christian Dior Haute Couture fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Valentino Haute Couture fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for her exhibition 'Fashion-ology' (Getty photo)

  • March 2006

    Anna Piaggi at Stella McCartney's RTW fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • May 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Sandretto King Rebaudengo Foundation Star Prize Party (Getty photo)

  • July 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Christian Dior Haute Couture show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • July 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Chanel Haute Couture show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Gaultier RTW fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Jean Charles de Castelbajac fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2006

    Anna Piaggi at the Nike celebration of the Michael Jordan brand in Milan (Getty photo)

  • January 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Christian Lacroix Haute Couture fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Giorgio Armani Haute Couture fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • February 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Christian Lacroix RTW fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • February 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Givenchy fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • March 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the YSL RTW fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • March 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Stella McCartney fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • May 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the 2007 Life Ball Party (Getty photo)

  • June 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the funeral of Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre (Getty photo)

  • July 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Christian Lacroix Haute Couture show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • July 2007

    Anna Piaggi at a Karl Lagerfeld party in Paris (Getty photo)

  • September 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Golden Age of Couture VIP Gala (Getty photo)

  • September 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Vivienne Westwood gala dinner during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • September 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Fendi fashion show during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2007

    Anna Piagge at the Westwood RTW fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2007

    Anna Piaggi at the Yohji Yamamoto fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • January 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Missoni Menswear fashion show during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • February 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Viktor & Rolf fahsion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • June 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Uomo Vogue party during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • June 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Tom Ford boutique opening during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • September 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the 'Russia 10 Years In Vogue' party during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • September 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Etro fashion show during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • September 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the FABFIVE Vantiy Fair Party during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • October 2008

    Anna Piaggi at the Sonya Rykiel fashion show during Paris Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • February 2009

    Anna Piaggi at "Hats: An Anthology of Stephen Jones" held at the V&A in London (Getty photo)

  • March 2009

    Anna Piaggi at the opening of the photo exhibition 'Extreme Beauty In Vogue' in Milan (Getty photo)

  • April 2009

    Anna Piaggi at the Stella McCartney and Established & Sons cocktail party in Milan (Getty photo)

  • June 2009

    Anna Piaggi during the Vivienne Westwood fashion show during Milan Fashion Week (Getty photo)

  • September 2009

    Anna Piaggi at the 'Background Story' opening exhibition in Milan (Getty photo)

  • September 2009

    Anna Piaggi at the Moschino Cheap and Chic women's fashion show in Milan (AP photo)