Monday, December 7, 2015

Little Italy

There are Little Italy communities all over the United States, made up of historic ethnic establishments symbolizing the contributions that Italians have made for this country. These districts go way back in time, and this Little Italy of San Diego was established in the 1920's. This particular community remains strong, once having 6,000 Italian families living in the neighborhood, even though most of the Italian families have now dispersed.

Today's tour was taken during Festa - The community's annual Italian festival which welcomes more than 120,000 visitors from all over the country and from all over the world to celebrate in the country’s largest Italian homecoming. It is also scheduled around Columbus Day. Aside from films, foods, and fashion, it is said the most important contribution of the Italian was made by Christopher Columbus, who discovered this new land in 1492.

As you've discovered by Tara MiSioux's name, she loves chocolate. Although I'm a chocaholic as well, the name "Coco" does not come from my love of chocolate as one would think. Some think I'm just a fan of Coco Chanel (though not even really at all). Coco is our Italian Family name, a common name from Sicily. This years Festa, for the first time, had an emphasis on the region of Sicily. 

You can't have Tiramisu without Cocoa. The perfect pair <3

My roots are in New York, where it seems as though every street is a "Little Italy," and the culture and tradition is still very much alive. I'm a California girl, but it doesn't have as much of my culture than back East. However, I love visiting Little Italy, as everything is authentic and exact to the traditions I grew up with. Below, we'll take a look at some people and places that continue to represent Italians through Hollywood fashion and film and historic heritage... 

San Diego c. 40's 
Spaghetti eating contests were popular in the 1950's,

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti"
-Sophia Loren
The Italian pride shown in one of the original houses as well as lights and decorations

As you must know by now, I have a thing for shoes. I'm always looking for unique pieces to add to my collection, and when I saw these I knew they were meant for me. Henry Waters "Shoes of Consequence," reads these spectacular Sicilian style slingbacks. I don't know about you, but these colors of Christmas have me ready for the holidays.. 

Festive for Festa, I had to dress in my country's colors of red, green and white. I channeled this into a 1950's denim ensemble with the Red Denim Halter by Freddie's of Pinewood, and the 1950's Red Denim Jeans from Vivien of Holloway. Some poodle fluffage was just the thing for my Signorina styling. 

Pasta is my favorite food on Earth. This must be the showgirl's diet as well!

I've been dining at Filippi's grotto since I was a bambina! Around since the 1950's, Filippi's has that old country feel, with the red and white checkered tablecloths, hanging Chianti bottles, and red dimmed low-lighting. Vincent DePhilippis and Madeleine Stefani came to America in 1922, Vincent from Italy and Madeleine from France. They met in New York, and In 1950 they moved to San Diego where they opened a deli grocery on India Street, which was called Filippi's. Here I stand today, at the first original location. Nothing is more nostalgic than an old Italian joint <3

Italian American Groups


Bow ties are my favorite pasta shapes. I especially love eating the ones with the different patterns and colors - who wouldn't? 

Jayne Mansfield - A girl after my own heart <3
Dino & Frank loved traditional Italian dinners
The Miss Italia competition - 1947

Very short cropped hairstyles were fashionable in the early 50's. By mid-decade, hats were worn less frequently, especially as fuller hairstyles like the short, curly “elfin cut" or the "Italian cut" or "poodle cut” surfaced. The Italian cut is tousled, shaggy in appearance, however it is sculptured, with deep waves on the crown, spit curls framing the forehead and cheeks, and a carefully ragged nape (this always reminded me of Betty Boop). This look was tailored mainly for brunettes, and became a well known, popular beauty standard, as a rival against the revered, unmatched bleach blondes (sorry Nonna!)

Gina & Marilyn
A true Italian Icon, my favorite Gina Lollobrigida who inspired today's look

My favorite singer, Connie Francis ( Italian name: Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero)
fellow pink lady, Annette Funicello 
My grandma, Violetta Coco, along with Connie & Gina, all rocked the Italian haircut

Nonna, forever my inspiration

In loving memory of Violetta Coco
8.18.1932  ~ 12. 2. 2015

Please know that a portion of all turban sales in our shop goes to cancer charity.

<3 Ashlyn

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