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  • Writer's pictureSyd

Luxurious Scarves Handsewn In Italy, Inspired by Italian Lifestyle

Updated: Mar 29

Beautiful Madonnina vegan silk scarf square by sustainable fashion designer Sydney Duncan, with print of pigeons and Virgin Mary, inspired by Milan, made in Italy



Discover the timeless elegance and luxury of the best selling Madonnina scarf. Hand sewn at my studio in Milano, Italy's bustling fashion capital only an hour south of stunning Lake Como.

Join me, Syd, the designer behind emerging fashion brand Sydney Duncan in exploring the story behind Madonnina, how it stands above other scarves on the market, and of course a few of my favorite ways to wear it (photos included)!

The Story Behind The Madonnina

The Vegan Silk Scarf From Italy, Hand Crafted for the Romantics Among Us

The debut scarf in the collection, Madonnina, was first conceptualized back when I spent a month visiting my partner Jacopo's family in Milan, Italy. Our days there were filled with long (emphasis on long) family meals, followed by hours of roaming and photographing the city. I was inspired by the surreal detail within the sculpture and architecture, who wouldn't be? But also by the pigeons that made their way into nearly every photograph, and who were stunning in their own right.

One story that has stuck with me was of Jacopo's summers in the country's south, in Monte Sant'Angelo, Puglia, where his grandparents are natives, and how the elders would dress in their finest clothes each evening, only to stroll Monte’s narrow streets, taking care to stop and greet every neighbor along the way.

At the core of the design is The Virgin Mary, this particular interpretation being The Madonnina, a gilded copper statue by sculptor Giuseppe Perego. She stands tall, watching over the city from the highest point of Milan's world famous Duomo.

Ethical and Sustainable, From Start to Finish

The Madonnina has been crafted from Tencel, a high end silk alternative textile on the cutting edge of sustainability. Softer than silk, entirely breathable, and 100% cruelty free without sacrificing quality. Each scarf is finished with an authentic hand rolled hem, a meticulous process paying tribute to traditional sewing practices.

Why I Said "No" to Traditional Silk

The creation of traditional silk involves a brutal process of boiling silkworms alive in their cocoons. Tencel, on the other hand, is created through an eco friendly closed loop process with natural wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed forests. In my eyes, the choice was obvious!

How to Wear : Your Ethical Vegan Silk Scarf Tying Mini Guide

Square scarves are hands down one of the most versatile accessories available. The Madonnina, thanks to its neutral and understated color pallet, takes this versatility to a new level! It can be worn in a multitude of sophisticated styles, for any season or occasion, and in my experience, pairs well with just about every outfit color pallet. Though ways to style the scarf are endless, I've narrowed it down to a few of my current favorites:


Sydney in Rome Italy in front of fountain.  Wearing monochromatic red outfit, black purse, white gloves, scarf around neck.

A classic Audrey Hepburn inspired style, double wrapped elegantly around the neck and tied at the front.


Portrait shot of Sydney in nude gown wearing white earrings and Virgin Mary square scarf like a bandana.

The classic bandana style has been around for ages, but most commonly brings to mind imagery from the 90s and early 2000's. This style can be dressed up or dressed down, though it tends to add a touch of cool and casual to the overall look.


Sydney wearing madonnina square scarf over head with Florence Italy in the background. She is also wearing a green sweater, green purse, and cashmere coat as a shawls

This vintage style, worn over the head and tied under the chin, is often associated with Jackie Kennedy. For me, it pairs best with a cozy layered look, to give that soft Scandinavian aesthetic.


Woman wearing pigeon print scarf as scarf top.

Though I'll admit that you do need a more slender build to wear a 65cm scarf as a top (my 90cm range is definitely a better option for our more curvaceous scarf enthusiasts), if you can swing it, I absolutely recommend giving the style a try. It's the perfect breezy sleeveless summer look, or gives a great layering affect overtop of a button up blouse on those cooler days.

Lay flat of eclectic fashion piece Pigeon and Virgin Mary illustration square scarf in cream color with peach, black, and green details.  Framed by Sydney Duncan Slow Fashion logo.

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