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 Gets Trapped in the Closet with Valentina Cortese at Palazzo Morando

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I know, I am the last chance girl: every time I read about an expo that I am interested in and want to visit, I manage to get there on the last day of the expo!

This is what happened with the wonderful expo on the Italian diva actress Valentina Cortese at Palazzo Morando in Milan. The expo was an event to market the publishing of the book “Valentina Cortese: 100 portraits.” The world of fashion celebrated the actress with an expo of about 50 of her wonderful dresses, bags and accessories starting from the ’40s with pieces created for her by the most creative famous designers like Dior, Mila Schön, Valentino, Capucci and the very extravagant Maurizio Galante (I really enjoyed the creativity of his art).

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But in this case I can truly say, “much better late than never” because Valentina Cortese herself was “visiting” the expo with us and told us some anecdotes about the different dresses and when she wore them… this was absolutely priceless!

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For the occasion I went for a black and white outfit: Marks & Spencer silky white shirt, vintage velvet shorts and a lovely white coat from Oviesse!  I added my Zara quilted black bag and my new black Chelsea boots from the charity market (I will tell you more about this next week!) and I played with these funny tights  that I bought during my last trip to Warsaw (I will tell you more about this too very soon!).

Yes, you can call this outfit “How to make your best in a crisis!” Not bad the result though, don’t you think?

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The Ladybug and Her Comics Hero-icon: A Journey Through the Secrets of Valentina


Who’s that girl?  That would be me from a few years ago.  I rocked the hell out of this sexy bob! I thought I knew all there was to know about the inspiration behind it, but I found out the influence was far greater than the eye can see.

The beautiful expo dedicated to the work of famous graphic writer Guido Crepax wasn’t only about “Valentina,” but let’s be honest… she’s his most significant creation and represents his work more than any other female that he’s penciled. Belinda, Anita, Francesca and Bianca are nothing compared to the allure and character of Valentina. Her lovely French bob and her model shaped body mixed with her charming style and her elegant eroticism made her the biggest heroine ever drawn by Guido Crepax.




Inspired by his wife and the famous silent cinema actress Louise Brooks, who was also a photographer, Valentina quickly became an icon of fashion and of course, the dream of most of Italian men!

A beautiful expo in Milan celebrated this productive and amazing cartoonist from June through September 2013, and it was one of my favorite expos of this year.  A lot of pieces from his personal belongings, drawings, album covers, magazine illustrations, short movies and many other unique pieces showed for the first time thanks to his children- who also created some pieces for the occasion. Ten rooms of the Palazzo Reale were used to try to recreate his work and life ten years after his death.  And of course, there was a special focus on Valentina.




I’ve truly loved her since I was a young girl, but I was so amazed when I realized, during this expo, how much she was linked to the haute couture and design of the era.  In many drawings you can find her wearing Dior or YSL pieces that, in fact, are now vintage. To further my wonderment, I learned that she also “featured” famous design pieces of the era and that she was inspired by the fashion of the time. Couple that with her (which in all actuality was his) relationship and deep love for Milan and photography and you’ll understand why I was totally in awe!



For the occasion I wore a striped Topshop cropped top and a pleated navy H&M skirt.

I added one of my favorite vintage handbags, a wonderful nearly new navy bag bought in Reggio Emilia during my visit in town, and a pair of L.K. Bennett espadrilles.



At the end of the journey, I joined the chorus of women who over the past few decades ring out the mantra, “I wanna be like Valentina!!!”

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Mirror Mirror On the Wall… The Ladybug Reflects & Celebrates: Happy 1st Anniversary TLC!

Dear LuvBugs,

It’s been exactly one year since my first post on this blog… can you believe it?

When I started The Ladybug Chronicles: I was a bit scared and confused because I didn’t know where I was going with it.

12 months later it’s time for me to see where we’ve been: and the truth is… we’ve come very far!!! Literally and virtually!

I’m not going to list the titles, interviews or the material we’ve covered because it’s all right there… on the right side of your screen to go through as often as you want.  I only want to take a little pause and thank you from the depth of my heart for your constant support and encouragement and for being the – best – readers – EVER!

A special thanks to KNAGUI for being an amazing writer and for bringing us new and passionate stories every “next” Sunday!

Happy 1st Anniversary The Ladybug Chronicles and Happy Birthday to you LuvBugs!

Now c’mon and ease on down Memory Lane with me through this celebratory video:


The Ladybug @ Antiquaria (October 2011)

As I imagined, after visiting Antiquaria in Sorrento last month, I came back for the October Antiques Fair!

Here’s my vintage finds of the day (love the glasses brooches and the Ferragamo shoe-brooch!)

…and my outfit for the event! Lol

Silk shirt: Topshop, Jeans: Met, Cardi: Asos, Handbag: Kooba, Frames: Dior vintage, Shoes: Topshop, Necklace: Chanel vintage

The Ladybug lands on Memory Lane at the Forlì Vintage Fair

Vintage is all about memories, whether you’re recycling your own style with a renewed class or invoking the memories of others through your finds or creating your own memories by redesigning and defining your ideal style… Vintage IS memorable!

When I was 18 I left Sicily to go to college: I loved foreign languages and decided that I wanted to be a translator (don’t ask me what happened to that dream!). At the time one of the best colleges for Interpreters and Translators was the SSLMIT in Forlì – a lovely town between Bologna and the Riviera Romagnola where I spent the most amazing and happiest years of my life! Forlì was, and still is, a quiet and calm town where people prefer their bikes over their cars. It’s full of students from everywhere in Italy and abroad. Being situated near big cities like Bologna and great clubbing centers as Rimini and Riccione made it the perfect place to have fun, meet new friends and enjoy my first experience out of my hometown! This is why I hold great and happy memories of this place. It’s also why I was so excited to go there for the Forlì Vintage Fair which is probably the most important vintage event in Italy (they count about 15 thousand visitors every year, in two semiannual events). It also boasts as one of the oldest (the first edition was in 2008) ongoing Italian vintage fairs.

I took the train from Naples and met my friend in Bologna.  We then headed to Forlì by car.  With a full weekend ahead of us, we scheduled to only attend the event on Friday afternoon (the 23rd of September, opening day). I won’t explain here the emotions of that day (a great surprise in Bologna and all the feelings of my “homecoming!”), but I’ll try to share with you that afternoon of fun!

Basically the Fair was divided in 3 big areas: the proper vintage area, the biggest one, with many stands of vintage clothes and accessories from the ’40s to the ’80s; the design-remake area, a very interesting bunch of stalls where new designers exposed their retro inspired creations, using old recycled materials and creating new forms of art from the past; and the collectibles area, where it was possible to find any kind of antique object, from toys to perfumes to small furniture.

In the main vintage area I could find some of my favorite sellers and discover some more or even meet those with whom I’ve been in virtual contact, but had never met for real! A special mention goes to Tara Vintage, honestly the best designer vintage seller around with great clothing and accessories pieces from Chanel (I fell in love with a very expensive black pleated dress from Chanel! Sigh!), Hermès or Vuitton; to Opherty & Ciocci (I finally met my virtual friend Marco!) with the most amazing ’70s handbags (yes, I bought one!) and some great Gucci vintage pieces; and of course A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Palace, who is the ‘author’ of the beautiful vintage Issey Miyake itinerant museum. Then there’s Lamù Vintage (a new friend!), personally one of my favorite stalls for sunglasses (yes, I got a pair too….a fantastic Dior!) with Oggetti Smarriti, and to Boutique Nadine, on my top list of vintage and retro shops if you ever go to Florence (don’t miss it, as they added a new store recently!).

Also many events were planned during the Fair like burlesque classes, American bar and retro music artists playing live… I was tempted to attend a burlesque class, but I really didn’t have time because a long car trip to Milan was waiting for us that same night!

To be fair I also have to put my attention on two negative facts: first of all, the complete lack of air conditioning. It was freaking hot inside (and outside!) and we even left earlier because of that: it was impossible to try fur coats or wool hats and I guess this problem affected not only the visitors but also the sellers. Secondly, a negative mention to Di Renzo Vintage, a stall with cool vintage hats but very unfriendly owners. I was asked not to take pictures (erm….why?? They couldn’t say…crazy!) and when I said I was a blogger- they said I should have told that… Really?!?! So….we left there two hats we wanted to buy and put a cross on them! (Of course, no pictures of their stuff either! Lol) *note to owners: If they see it, they will come. Word of mouth is the best publicity.

Here are some of my pictures of the event. The Ladybug’s vintage finds of the day – Forlì Vintage Fair coming soon!

The Issey Miyake vintage collection from A.N.G.E.L.O.

A lovely burlesque performer

Some shots from the great Tara Vintage collection

Cute vintage inspired head-pieces


A.N.G.E.L.O., of course!

Cute white glasses from Oggetti Smarriti (so stupid I didn’t buy them….pfff)

With Marco from Opherty & Ciocci


Rocking the 80’s…

Animal prints forever!