By  on September 22, 2010

“Today, if you call someone a Beautiful Person, it is almost an insult.” Those are hardly words one would expect Marella Agnelli, wife of Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli and ultimate BP herself, to utter. But she did, and with much verve, to WWD for a profile dated Nov. 30, 1976, tied to her new fabric collection for Swiss house Abraham-Zumsteg. In the clique of then-famous BPs, WWD wrote, “Agnelli’s [style] is less pristine and remote than Babe Paley’s; less self-conscious and lacquered than that of the splendidly professional Jacqueline de Ribes, and less cool and self-absorbed than Gloria Guinness. Agnelli is a strangely uncontrived, though utterly elegant member of the pack.” The paper also noted her surprising interest in “the photographer’s paraphernalia,” in the way she inspected the equipment and offered up her own suggestions. (“Please don’t use that [lens] — use an 85.”) Apparently, it was a passion that stemmed from her early days working with shutterbugs Cecil Beaton and Erwin Blumenfeld at Condé Nast.

This story first appeared in the September 22, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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