MILAN — Italian stylist and photographer Manuela Pavesi died Friday in her hometown of Mantova after a long illness. She was 65. Pavesi contributed to shaping Vogue Italia, was a passionate collector of fashion and antique jewelry and was a long-standing friend and collaborator of Miuccia Prada. She also was an inspiration to young designers, helping, for example, to launch the career of Jonathan Anderson.
Pavesi worked with photographers such as Albert Watson and Helmut Newton, collaborating with the latter on the 1986 images for the Pirelli Calendar that were eventually published in 2014 to mark its 50th anniversary. “She was very avant-garde, even with this Pirelli project. She anticipated fashion,” said Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani. “She forged a new aesthetic and lived her life abiding to it. Like me, she was in love with Yves Saint Laurent, because he was the first to mix separate pieces. She would do that, too, mixing even contrasting looks. She didn’t follow fashion. She would go down her own road. As long as her aesthetic vision was satisfied, and not offended, she could do anything, from styling to photography. There wasn’t one particular thing she preferred to do.”
Sozzani praised Pavesi’s eye in capturing people in her photography. “She was very discreet, and never wanted to stand out,” Sozzani said.
Giorgio Guidotti, Max Mara’s global head of public relations, advertising and communications, said Pavesi was somewhat of “an outsider in the fashion industry. She did not care to become part of the establishment, as long as she could work on her projects.”
A close friend for 30 years, Guidotti said Pavesi had a “great sense of humor. She was my mentor, and I learned so much from her in terms of style.”
He recalled how they went together to a flea market in Paris and Pavesi bought a 1920s girl’s confirmation dress, reworking it as a “wonderful blouse” that she paired with a Comme des Garçons skirt. “She was original, not eccentric.”
Tiziana Cardini, fashion director at La Rinascente, said Pavesi was “fabulous.”
“She has always been an inspiration for me. Her style was inimitable and one-of-a-kind, with an artistic touch,” she said. “Her passion for, and knowledge of, fashion was exceptional. She was an icon in the history of Italian journalism. I truly admired her.”
Pavesi is survived by her husband, Sandro Furnari, and their children, Alice and Gianguido. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in Mantova, a two-hour drive east of Milan.