Fashion Obscura is Highsnobiety's series voyaging through the annals of under-appreciated fashion history.
Cannes is coming to a close, signaling the advent of my annual duty: to remind people of the time porn star, politician, and Jeff Koons' soon-to-be-wife Ilona Staller — AKA Cicciolina — attended the swanky film festival nearly naked.
Staller rose to international fame for her doomed relationship with Koons, who depicted the duo having sex in his controversial series "Made in Heaven." But the Hungarian-Italian was destined to make history, with or without the high-profile relationship.
To briefly recap Staller's unconventional career path: in the early '70s, she met pornographer Riccardo Schicchi and, with his help, landed roles in several pornographic films, including the famous Carne Bollente.
While building her pornography career under the stage name Cicciolina, Staller became involved with the nuclear disarmament and animal rights movements in Italy, eventually leading her to join the country's Green Party. In 1979, the party presented her as a parliamentary candidate.
In 1985, though, she turned her attention to the libertarian Radical Party, focused on human rights, disarmament, and abortion. When the Radicals asked her to run for Parliament in the Lazio district, she accepted and in 1987, she was elected to office.
Regarded by some as a feminist icon, Staller wielded her sexuality as a political tool — and used it to poke fun at the institutional, boy's club mentality of politics. Instead of addressing male members of Parliament as "Your Honor," she called them cicciolini, a masculinization of her stage name that loosely translates to "cute little tubby boys."
In 1988, she attended Cannes on behalf of the Italian government, an opportunity she milked to the fullest extend. Clinching herself a spot in red carpet hall of fame, the politician wore a gauzy dress with ample cut-outs that bared her breasts, stomach, and legs. She completed the look with a flower crown, fishnet thigh-highs, and a Popples stuffed animal, a children's toy that would soon become her signature.
The daring ensemble is still ridiculed to this day, but I like to think that Cicciolina was — and still is — way ahead of her time. La vita è radicale, baby!