The Ladybug meets the Queen of Vintage: Anna Piaggi by Karl Lagerfeld in Milan

When I heard about the opening of Anna-Chronique: 70s and 80s. Anna Piaggi by Karl Lagerfeld at the Fondazione Sozzani in Milan I immediately felt the call!

Anna Piaggi is one of my main icons for many reasons, one of them being the fact that she was the first one to my knowledge to mix designer modern pieces with vintage many decades ago. I also loved her strong personality and the way she showed it through her clothes.

Last year, the Fondazione Sozzani with the Associazione Culturale Anna Piaggi launched this exhibit dedicated to Anna Piaggi but in particular to her relationship with Karl Lagerfeld in a double exhibit: a selection of drawings signed by Karl Lagerfeld portraying his muse Anna Piaggi, realized between 1973 and 1984. Not only 130 portraits but also pictures, manuscripts, jewelry and of course hats from her personal collection…a real dream for vintage lovers!

The second exhibit is a fashion diary of the 90s: 50 Karl Lagerfeld drawings realized between 1990 and 1997 where the style and fashion sense of the iconic Anna Piaggi are represented at their best through the eyes of king Karl!

To visit this double exhibit that I adored I wore a tribute to Anna Piaggi tee, handpainted by Madame Ilary (it was the perfect occasion to wear it!), a vintage electric blue blazer found on Vinted by Freja Vintage, a pair of Rouje jeans. I added a lovely ethnic vintage bag from Bivio, small Fulani earrings from Dielle Nubya and a pair of old beige Supergas.

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The Ladybug Emerses Herself in Anna Piaggi’s Hat-ology

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A few weeks ago I visited one of the most fashion irresistible expos of the year, on the last day as usual!

One year after her death, and at the end of the Milan Fashion week, Palazzo Morando opened the doors to the most insane, eclectic hat collections that I’ve ever seen: Anna Piaggi’s hat collection. In four petite displays that recreated her house, this accessory is fully represented and is quite possibly the staple that contributes to her status as an icon. It’s dubious how varied the form and style are throughout this exhibition. And it is almost inconceivable how many she had and how creative, crazy and foolish most of them are! Every piece has its own story, including the shoe-hat that Bill Cunningham donated to her… which is rumored now to have been stolen during the expo.

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She once said, “My hat is personal. It is what contains the soul, the feeling, the sensation that moves this little world around.”

They are only about 60 (…of the 900 she owned!) most of them created by the best designers such as Chanel, Prada and Dior just for her. This journey inside Anna Piaggi’s faux apartment, in the center of the Fashionable Milan, stimulates all of your senses… for example: the sound of her old Olivetti typewriter (Valentina) or the vignette Anne and Marcel, the pictures of her taken by her husband Alfa Castaldi, her piles of magazines, her vintage pieces… everything is perfectly put in place to teach us know more about this wonderful woman. Ivo Bisignano, one of the creators of the expo, also created all the awesome graphic pieces like the decorations and the amazing faux-covers.

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Maybe it was just too small to contain such an  extraordinary woman, or maybe a hat cannot say all there is to say her… but viewing this through the words of Shirley McLaine,  “Life is like a new hat. You don’t know if it suits you if you keep trying it on in front of your own mirror,”  I’d say this experience through her life was great and the work done was admirable… definitely one of my favorite expos of the year!

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The Ladybug’s Unexpected Journey Through Alfa Castaldi’s Art: His Life in Pictures at the Galleria Sozzani

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The glamorous combo of aperitivo + art expo has become a habit for my friend Nita and I here in Milan. We try at least twice a month to meet for an art event followed by a girlish aperitivo in town. One of our favorite venues is definitely the Galleria Franca Sozzani in corso Como here in Milan where these two things match perfectly (plus some good shopping at 10 Corso Como).

We’ve were here over a month ago for the celebratory art expo of the Gallery and we returned a few weeks ago to visit the photography exhibition on Alfa Castaldi that was held until the end of March.

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I was particularly touched by this collection as it followed this amazing Milanese photographer’s artistic life through his wonderful pictures. He is best known for his fashion work on Vogue, but his artistic career is much more than fashion photography: his eye not only encapsulated Milan during the ’50s, but also a view of Italy’s popular and rural areas. This showing highlights Castaldi’s fashion and international spotlights on Paris, Algeria, London and all the places that represents a step in his life and work. This, all through experimentation, reportage, portraits, all the facets of an all-around artist.

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The expo starts with a section entirely dedicated to Anna Piaggi, the fashion icon and journalist who was also his beloved wife. They shared the love for constant research, aesthetics, fashion renovation and invention. They also worked together for Vogue and created some of the most iconic reportage of the Italian magazine.

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But Alfa Castaldi is also a photo-journalist: his pictures taken in rural Italy for Vogue Homme were a real surprise for me. I didn’t imagine I’d find these kind of pictures in this exhibition. But I also realized that calling him a fashion photographer means putting a huge limitation to his art. Even his most glamorous pictures are often taken behind the scenes in designers’ show rooms or catwalks where fashion is still a discovery and not a “show.”

Some of his most famous pictures were exposed there, like “Nudo di Marina à la Klimt” (I’ve talked about this picture that I adore during my visit at the expo “Addio Anni 70” in September here in Milan) or “Pillole.”

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You can see many of his pictures on the site www.alfacastaldi.com, a real online photographic archive created by his son with a database of thousands of pictures from this wonderful artist.

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