The Ladybug’s Heavenly Trifecta: Mantova + Voglia di Vintage + Festival della Letteratura… YES!!!

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I decided a while ago to head to Mantova for one of the multiple editions of Voglia di Vintage, one of the most important vintage events in Italy. I didn’t know the city, it’s not too far and the event created a good occasion to do some vintage hunting.  Unfortunately, the stars never really aligned for me to get there… until recently.

As people usually say, “everything happens for a reason;” and the reason for me to wait that long was the combination two of my passions (traveling and vintage) just wasn’t enough… the Universe wanted for me to add another one of my biggest passions – literature – and to put them all together in the same town on the same weekend! Mantova is indeed not only a lovely little town with a lot of history, a beautiful city center, delicious food and a famous vintage fair; Mantova is also the perfect venue for one of the most important literature festivals in Italy that I’ve always wanted to visit, but never managed to get to.

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This is why I couldn’t deny the perfect invitation from all my passions in a same day: I decided to bring KNAGUI with me for this great adventure and I must confess that we had a lot of fun. The beauty of Mantova during these events is probably bigger than usual as it was full of people, different stalls of books, events, authors’ meetings in all the biggest places of the center and plenty of places to visit. We managed to go around all day and we enjoyed the festive atmosphere and the company of literature and vintage lovers from all over the country.

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We visited monuments, bought some books and, after a good lunch in an historical “Osteria”, we sat and digested in the beautiful atmosphere of Piazza Virgiliana where the fair was held. I love the idea of open air fairs, especially on such a beautiful sunny September day when it’s not too hot and you can enjoy the last sunrays while vintage shopping! Of course, there was some shopping beyond the books… a pair of vintage frames from Punti di Vista and a lovely handmade necklace inspired by Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea from Pamphlet, a handcraft artist from Mantova who makes beautiful handmade jewels.

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During this beautiful day I wore a colored vintage skirt from L Train Vintage in NYC, a striped Zara top, vintage bag and a pair of brogues I picked up from Shoegasm.  Now that I think about it, I guess I was in a New York State of Mind.

[photo credit: KNAGUI]

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The Ladybug Shops Like It’s 1999: “Vintage – La Moda Che Vive Due Volte” in Reggio Emilia


I know I’ve been very quiet lately… but you know why? I have been crazy busy with some great events (oh yes, work too!) that I’ve barely had the time to write about them. But I am here and you will know all about it!

I left you in Belgioioso, end of April, for the Next Vintage event and I announced a series of vintage fairs that I was planning to attend. The weekend after, indeed, I was heading with some friends to the area of Reggio Emilia to spend a lovely weekend of sport, shopping and tourism!

Romagna Fiere (the organizer of the Forlì Vintage Fair that you may remember because I’ve been there a couple of times) decided to add some more dates to the regular fair in Forlì (probably one of the most famous Italian vintage fairs) and the first weekend of May Reggio Emilia was the center of Italian vintage and retro dealers.



If you’ve been, least once, to the Forlì vintage Fair- it is easy to recognize the familiar atmosphere and style, which I like a lot. The Fair is maybe more sober compared to others (where the location adds a lot to the event), but sometimes I like the typical fair event!

It was an occasion to meet old and new friends: I finally met with Laura from Oggetti Smarriti (one of my favorite vintage eyewear sellers), and with the guys from L’Opposto in Forlì (it was time for my sweet college memories!) and with the amazing hat artist of Stondo from Florence. But I met some new friends and made some good discoveries like: Tabata’, Magnifica Preda or the Silk Ribbon Sisters, an awesome and funny group of burlesque performers with a love for history, cabaret, dance and beauty!


Let me say that I was particularly in the mood for shopping that Sunday… especially because this was the eyewear edition and you know how much I love glasses!

Punti di Vista proposed a very interesting expo on the history of eyewear, presenting some wonderful pieces by decades and I was, as usual, amazed by the ’50s and ’60s frames.

In addition to this beautiful handmade straw hat from Stondo Firenze, I got 4 pair of glasses!!



From L’Opposto, I picked up these vintage inspired frames


and found an amazing Yves Saint Laurent piece from  the ’80s sold by Oggetti Smarriti


and what about these pure 1950s beauties from Tabata’?


It’s obvious my shopping day theme song was “Insatiable” by Prince because I continued my spree during our city tour in the center of Reggio Emilia There I found a quaint vintage shop (“Un altro giro di giostra”) with a lovely owner (Ledi) where I got this TO-DIE-FOR navy leather handbag.


The Ladybug is a Princess in the Castle: “Next Vintage” at Belgioioso

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If April is the richest month of events in Milan, it is also the beginning of a nice series of vintage events and fairs all over Italy. I’m trying to do as many as I can between now and September (when the second round starts!) because now that I am closer to all these events it is easier to go around and see what’s new on the Italian vintage scene.

The seasonal chain of vintage fairs started end of April (exactly from the 20th to the 25th) with Next Vintage at the Belgioioso Castle, near Pavia. It was the first time for me and before getting there I heard a lot of things about it: it is held generally twice a year and it is considered one of the best Italian vintage events because it puts together the best quality vintage treasures of every kind. From clothing to accessories and prints: two floors of absolutely great vintage stuff, but also handmade and some great used designer (not necessarily vintage)

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My friends from Tara Vintage were there, and with them some of the most appreciated vintage dealers in Italy: from A.N.G.E.L.O. to Memory Lane (one of my favorite shops in Milan!), Punti di Vista, Art-House, Dorotea Vintage, Post Post and many others. The quality was quite high (and so were the prices!), but it wasn’t hard to make good deals especially if you were looking for some good used (not only vintage) designer handbags or other accessories.

It was, for me, the endless thought about the right pricing of vintage material. It is correct and I accept that a designer handbag or shoes or clothing piece may cost a bit, especially if it is in good condition and if you prefer, like me, the vintage piece above the new one in shop. But I can’t accept finding a vintage polyester ’70s/’80s dress or bag or whatever- even if in mint condition for 100 euros. I have the feeling that in Italy, vintage is considered for the “elite” which makes the prices increase too much. This is not my vision of vintage. In UK or USA the concept is completely different and this is the reason why prices are very competitive and you can really gain a bargain, which is almost impossible in Italy.

This is maybe the reason why I ended up only buying this lovely vintage hat-brooch for 5 euros (the bag is mine… I got it in London for almost the same price… you see what I meant earlier, right?!), even if I was tempted to bring with me a beautiful red Balenciaga Motorcycle Le Dix handbag for almost 500 euros!!

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As usual, Tara Vintage had the best stall (in my opinion): their vintage finds (especially Chanel and Hermès) are to-die-for and even if I never told this to Luigi… I am sure that I’m going to buy the vintage 2.55 Chanel that I mentioned in my blog’s “About” from them sooner or later!

I also enjoyed Arte Club’s stall, a beautiful vintage boutique from Genova, with amazing dresses and handbags that I may visit one day. This was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them.

Two other things that I really appreciated about the event were: a) the location: I had never been to Belgioioso’s Castle before and I was really amazed by how great it is to host vintage events. b) the small expo about Giorgio Armani’s sketches, with a selection of 50 original sketches signed from him spanning from 1969 to 1985. They are almost always accompanied by a piece of the original fabric of the clothes. It was also a way to see the evolution of his fashion and fashion in general over two decades.


The Ladybug announces a very vintage weekend with Luigi Cagliari from Tara Vintage

 It has been quite a silent month for Italian vintage lovers: after the Belgioioso Fair in October, a full vintage weekend is expected in Emilia Romagna for the end of November.
From the 18th to the 20th (from 10am to 8pm) Modena will be the stage for one of the biggest Antiques Fairs in Italy; the 7.8.Novecento and third edition of Vintage Circus. The best of Italian designers’ (and not) vintage will be presented with many collateral events, all of which are worth a visit. For example Chicas Locas will teach you how to play with retro make-up and hairstyles (“Gioca col Trucco e Parrucco”). You can learn how to move like Dita Von Teese with the Burlesque classes, or get a lot of information and deepen your curiosities about the History of Costume and Fashion (further details on

One of the scheduled events, in Modena, that got my attention is an expo on lingerie and corsets organized by Tara Vintage which is one of the most successful Italian vintage dealers of “Pizzi, piume e crinoline. Le femmine sono tornate” (Laces, feathers and crinolines. Females are back).
I had the chance to meet Luigi Cagliari, from Tara Vintage and to ask him some questions about the expo, the company and, of course, vintage!
TLC: Luigi, Tara Vintage is considered a very important reference in Italian Vintage landscape. Please tell us your story…
Luigi: Tara Vintage started in 2006, from a real passion for the fashion of its founder, Patrizia Fissore. She’s a very refined fashion collector and during the years she’s bought and meticulously taken care of vintage pieces of the most famous couturiers and designers of the 20th century. This huge passion for hunting unique clothes and accessories moved me and lead Tara Vintage to specialize in the Italian vintage landscape in designer vintage bags and accessories, along with clothing.
In 2007, we started the site and we opened the boutique Tara Vintage in Bra (Cuneo, Italy), in via Gianolio 41. There you can find particularly rare and valuable pieces, hard to find objects whose beauty and charm don’t fade with time. Every vintage object from Tara Vintage has been chosen for its quality and uniqueness. We personally select every piece based on our own taste, but also on its history and quality.
The history of Tara Vintage as a retailer is quite recent, but it permeates a strong desire to spread a real vintage culture in Italy. This because we are, first of all, passionate lovers of those objects and we always strive to gain a wider knowledge of them; we realize there’s something new to learn every day.
We give special care to the originality of the objects that we propose. And to the correct information we give to those who approach vintage or the collection of these objects. We strive to give them the most detailed and comprehensive description of what we sell (particularly aiding in dating when it is not stated).
TLC: At the 7.8.Novecento Fair in Modena you will present a charming exposition on lingerie and corsets from the 19th century to the 1990s, can you tell us more about it and which pieces do you consider most interesting?
Luigi: It is a real journey in the history of women’s lingerie from the corsets of the end of the 19th century until the 90s. It is also an evocation of a certain femininity that often disappears because it’s hidden by homogenizing garments.
Intimacy and seduction are life: vintage corsets are tools for this part of life!
Moreover, the materials and the manufacturing of an age get lost in time and in this exposition you can notice the quality of those vintage pieces compared to the more recent manufactures.
There will be quotes on the history of lingerie from famous divas. For example this one by Lana Turner: who, while in the States, was interviewed by a famous journalist who asked her how she became famous and she humorously answered: “I wore a good bra and a t-shirt two sizes smaller than mine!”
The most interesting pieces are without any doubt the older ones, like the corsets with whale bones, all handmade, very rigid and with a very tight waist, or the 50s and 60s girdles and the first bras.
TLC: Working as a leader in Italian vintage market you know very well the trends of vintage in our country. What is the situation of vintage in Italy in your opinion, especially if compared to the other European countries?
Luigi: As I mentioned earlier, the Italian vintage market needs to get a real [education on what the] culture of vintage really is. “Vintage,” nowadays, is a very abused word. People think that vintage is a synonymous with second-hand. In other European countries like France or the UK, vintage culture is completely different with a much clearer philosophy and foundations. There, they appreciate the vintage object for its quality and for its soul, compared to the new, insubstantial and homogeneous ones. They appreciate the chance to “recycle” and to have an unique object that their friends can’t buy in a shop because it has become, in its way, impossible to find. They appreciate the possibility of styling the pieces based on their personality or using a statement piece that will add a special touch to a contemporary outfit.
In Italy there are too few people who live vintage with the right philosophy: too often people are more interested in second-hand of recent designer pieces just to have a better price than in the shop. Anyway vintage is not for everyone and it will never be.
I appreciate a lot those who come and ask about it, those who want to understand and are open minded because they want to learn and get enthusiast for a quality timeless piece. I appreciate the desire of being different, even through the way of dressing [is what comes] through the objects.
The ones who have to create this new culture are us, the vintage dealers and retailers, but very often this doesn’t happen. We try to do our best, especially through expos that put the accent on the real essence of vintage. For example “Bagagli e dettagli di un viaggio al passato” (“Luggage and details of a journey at the past”) is one of the latest expos presented by another colleague: a journey through trunks and luggage, based on the evolution of the luggage itself and on the details that were part of a trip in the past ages.
The retailer is not just a seller, he [or she] has to get more information and has to be prepared as if every customer [they] impact is more prepared than [themselves]. This is our philosophy: we give precise and veritable information, we don’t invent things just because we need to sell. If a customer is prepared, they expect the right information and if they’re not they deserve our attention [even more so].
Recently I’ve seen more and more new retailers who start [selling or showcasing] without any knowledge on what they’re selling, creating embarrassment not only for themselves but also for the whole community of the vintage dealers’ system. For example, to sell recent pieces saying that they are from the 50s or the 60s just because they have signs of wear! [What is that?]
At the same time I must say that in Italy, there are customers who are prepared and informed vintage lovers and they are able to see through the smoke and wait and select the best finds.
Last but not least, in Italy, many people perceive the state of something that has been worn as a real taboo: they want the perfect piece with no marks or flaws. Whereas in France, for example, a sign of wear is appreciated as it adds more value and taste to the piece.
TLC: One of the things that we like to ask to vintage experts who talk with us is their tips on shops/fairs/markets in Italy or abroad- where you can find the best bargains ang get very interesting rarities…
Luigi: Paris is, for sure, the place where you can find the best historical exemplars and notice the differences in the vintage culture compared to us. In a city like Paris there are so many places that, in my opinion, anyone could go by themselves and make finds following their own personal tastes. You can find everything you’re looking for there: from clothing to bags to luggage.
In Italy, I suggest an event called Next Vintage in the castle of Belgioioso which is held twice a year (in April and October). But you can find great bargains anywhere, you just need to keep your eyes wide open and have a clear idea in mind. You need to love what you’re looking for and be sure that you can find it even if you were to look in a little market near your house! Hunting is the most important step for those who really love vintage. For me personally, it is a bigger sublimation than selling, but it can sometimes cause you sorrow because you can become addicted to the fact that after selling- you are already looking for an even more beautiful object!

And if all this is not enough, just head toward the coast not far from Modena to Rimini, or more precisely, Morciano di Romagna, from Saturday the 19th to Sunday the 20th (from 10 am to 7pm) to another interesting vintage event: Vint & Glam (more info You can find vintage objects, accessories and clothing of many different eras mostly from the 70s to the 90s. Many of our friends like Oggetti Smarriti and Lamù Vintage (do you remember my two favorite frames providers! Lol), Chicas Locas, Le Civette Vintage (my favorite in Rimini!) will be there along with many others.

Also, A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Palace will be there with their amazing itinerant fashion museum. We saw them in Forlì with the expo: Japanese Style on Issey Miyake. This time it will be Emilio Pucci vintage collection! More than 50 pieces including: cocktail dresses, day dresses, jackets, handbags and ties from the beginning of the 50s to the end of the 60s will be on display, along with the most famous prints of this fantastic designer. Besides of this clothing expo, A.N.G.E.L.O. will also present a very exclusive lingerie collection by Pucci which was designed for the American market.

I think it is a perfect weekend to breath some very good vintage… and to learn the art of seduction with vintage lingerie!
Enjoy those amazing expo’s pictures courtesy to Tara Vintage (“Pizzi, piume e crinoline. Le femmine sono tornate”)