The Ladybug gets color-blocked at Roy Lichtenstein exhibit

The Ladybug Chronicles Roy Lichtstein MUDEC (4)

Roy Lichtenstein “Multiple Visions” was possibly one of the most interesting exhibits that I have visited in Milan this year so far. The exhibition took place this last spring/summer at the Mudec Museum and exposed around 100 prints, sculptures and tapestries from the king of the pop art, including also videos and photographs from many American and European private collections and museums. I also loved the decorations and the entire set-up: color-block printed walls, striped and polka-dotted floors, a blossoming of pop colors (and very Instagram-friendly!) in perfect harmony with the exposed art! It is not a coincidence that I took so many pictures, also outside the exhibit area, in the hall of the museum that is one of my favorite spaces in Milan for its modern architecture.

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The pop art movement was born in the 60s and its first objective was to find a language that could be used against the abstract expressionism. The most famous pop art artists were the same Roy Lichtenstein and of course, Andy Warhol. Like him, Lichtenstein used daily objects in its art, as a representation of the economic opulence of the era; he often used advertising language to attack mass consumerism but he was also the first to use comic strips as a new artistic way to communicate. Comic strips were very simple, clear and easy way to communicate and he made them a real form of art. It is still a mistake to consider it as the only or main form of art that he used: during the exhibit it is possible to admire his multiple ways of expressions and to know more about this incredible artist.

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For the visit I wore one of my favorite combos from Madame Ilary: a turban-culottes combination made with a golden sparkling Syrian fabric that I bought in Amman last spring. Such a shame that I didn’t have enough space in my luggage to buy more! I paired with a simple black tee from Asos and a pair of sparkling shoes from a Lazzari old collection. My golden necklaces are from & Other Stories and Afrohemien; my golden hoop earrings are from Genny Pi.

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The Ladybug and the Dashiki print, a true African love!

The Ladybug Chronicles Dashiki Tunic (2)

Dashiki pattern, a true African love. But what is Dashiki? The name comes from the Yoruba language spoken in West Africa, especially in Nigeria, and it means shirt. The iconic pattern that we now define as Dashiki is the Angelina print, created by a Vlisco textile designer and it was inspired by a printed tunic worn in Ethiopia by noblewomen  at the beginning of the 19th century. The print was widely worn in West Africa but it became very popular by the end of the 60s when Jason Benning started producing the modern Dashiki (he also invented the word) in Harlem. Black people started using it as a sign of love for the Mother Africa, especially during the cultural event related to Africa. It was also widely worn in the late 60s by African-Americans embracing their African heritage and promoting Black Pride.

Nowadays it is often worn by celebrities and it is used as a fabric from many fashion designers from all over the world to create dresses, jackets, skirts with this beautiful pattern.

The Ladybug Chronicles Dashiki Tunic (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Dashiki Tunic (5)

It is a pattern that I love so much, in every shade and design, and I have been dreaming of a perfect vintage Dashiki tunic for ages. It is easy to find cheap versions of this tunic, but I really wanted to have the real one, from the 60s/70s. Not easy to find it, especially in my size (mostly are men sizes) and with colors and patterns that I loved. It took months until I found this green one from Matmonit Vintage on Etsy. Matmonit is an Israeli vintage shop, specialized also in ethnic and folk vintage clothes that I love very much, where I always find amazing pieces from the past!

I wore my Dashiki tunic with other African pieces: a handmade wax turban from Madame Ilary (I bought the fabric in Senegal!) and a Senegalese orange leather necklace that I got from Seyeyaram African Made in Milan.

Vintage jeans are Levi’s and tan flat sandals are from Clarks.

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The Ladybug and the happy floral dress

The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Floral Dress (1)

Did I tell you that vintage makes me happy? I guess I did but sometimes I am still surprised of how a vintage piece can make me smile and make me feel so good and in peace with myself!

I took these pictures the very first time that I wore this vintage dress: it is a beautiful vintage wrap dress that I bought on Depop from Clementine Vintage (one of the loveliest sellers on the app) because I loved its warm autumn colours. When I received it I was super happy because it was even better than in pictures and I loved the fit on me, I tried it with a big brown belt (the same that I am wearing here, from Mango) and I looked at myself in the mirror with a huge smile…I think it was the same that I have pictured here!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Vintage Floral Dress (3)

In time I understood that the happiness that I feel when I wear vintage comes from the fact that I feel so true to myself; I can feel the energy and the power of this piece on me, I feel beautiful for my eyes because I don’t care about the others, about how they feel about my style. I mainly dress for myself, with the aim of getting to that feeling of peace and joy in my own clothes, I don’t dress to look thinner or taller…just to feel happy! Can you relate to this? I am curious to hear about that because sometimes I have the feeling that many people dress to impress others, not to accomplish their own self and personality.

I paired the dress with Strategia military green suede ankle boots and Metalica Creazioni brass earrings. Rings are from Francesco Tramontano and vintage.

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The Ladybug’s smart office look (by Madame Ilary)

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Smart office outfits and the Ladybug, that’s a long and complicated story! I have written so many times about it, especially about how I handle being “smart” in the office, while keeping my personality and my love for vintage and unique pieces alive. It’s not easy, sometimes it’s difficult to balance but it’s always challenging and fun, that’s why I keep looking for this balance almost every morning!

Madame Ilary’s new spring-summer collection helped me a lot with that, as she created new amazing handmade pieces, made with the most incredible fabrics, perfect for a day at work but also amazing for many other occasions. They are incredibly versatile, easy to mix and perfect for so many different outfits!

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I went for this mix as I found it great for work, but I wore it all day on a Saturday around Milan and I wore both pieces separately (including the top for a wedding!) in many different occasions, which makes the cost of them easy to recover.

The top is a soft and fresh black gauze fabric with a big frill around the neck (you can also wear it with one or both shoulders off) and has a lovely bow on the side. The trousers are the famous Marlene shape (definitely one of my favorite from Madame Ilary) with pockets in a grey pinstriped linen and cotton fabric that makes it perfect for both summer and spring/autumn…maybe also winter if you wear it with tights!

Earrings are from Genny Pi, all the rings are vintage Berber from Marrakech.

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The Ladybug wears her “Budapest outfit”

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I was walking around in Milan when I suddenly realized that my outfit was entirely purchased in Budapest! That made me laugh but in the end I knew that my last trip to Budapest was particularly profitable in terms of shopping! I found a lot of vintage there at incredible prices and I still remember that my backpack was full of vintage clothing on my way back to Italy!

I bought there this vintage floral skirt that I loved for the Hawaiian vibe and colors (I found it at PSTR Store in the Jewish ghetto); I also bought there this handmade tee at the Gozsdu Vintage and Handmade Market from the talented Daniel De Redai owner of No Name Shop, a collection of beautiful hand painted t-shirts and also a tattoo artist.

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I fell in love with this tee from the very first moment that I saw it as it reminded me of my last trip to Jordan, and in particular of the night spent in the desert in the Bedouin camp, sleeping in a tent under the stars with a small fire to keep us warm and the immense nature all around.

I added another piece from my travels there, a beautiful handmade leather necklace that I bought in Senegal from a woman on the beach of Yoff and a black canvas bag from Marina Abramovic exhibit in Florence at Palazzo Strozzi official merchandise .

My shoes are from Clarks and my golden hoop earrings are from Genny Pi.

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The Ladybug succumbs to the charms of Bilbao

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Last year I started my Spain discovery tour with a trip to Madrid, followed by Barcelona and Valencia, because I realized that I haven’t traveled to Spain at all, even if I am loving it more and more as far as I discover new corners of this beautiful country. This year I decided to add a new city to my Spain discovery tour: Bilbao. I had many friends who visited it and they all loved it, then I decided to book a long weekend with a friend there and I must say that it was great!

We arrived on an early afternoon and once we left our luggage at the hotel we headed by tram to my third Guggenheim museum out of four in the world (Bilbao, Venice, New York and Abu Dhabi – the one that I haven’t visited yet): I wasn’t disappointed at all! I loved the modern architecture of this museum and I loved the most famous pieces exposed outside: the “Puppy”, a floral puppy by Jeff Koons as well as his famous Tulips also exposed in Milan at the Fondazione Prada, or the big spider “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois. I was lucky enough to find there many pieces by Jenny Holzer, one of my favorite artists, who also dedicated a permanent installation to the city of Bilbao. Her colored neon art tells stories of migrants, solitude and fights, it was a pleasure to admire her art for real for the first time in Bilbao.

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After a few hours lost in this beautiful museum we headed back to the Plaza Nueva and we enjoyed the Spanish “pintxos” time. The Place is full of bars where you can eat the most delicious pintxos, the Basque Country version of the famous Spanish tapas, with the best local red wine (vino tinto) – I will give you my favorite addresses in the Plaza Nueva at the end of the post. It’s the best moment to enjoy the city at its best: full of people, sparkling and creative!

The next day we had a very long walk around the city (the good thing about Bilbao is that you can easily walk to visit it as it is quite small) starting from the amazing area where we stayed, Bilbao La Vieja: we admired it at night and it has the best spots for drinking, probably the most visited by young people, but during the day we could admire its great street art: graffiti and murals are a must when you visit this old mining area that went from popular to trendy in the last decades. You can still see the entrance of the old mine near one of the restaurants along the river and you can recognize it by the mine graffiti on the wall (just in front of the Ribera market).  Then we headed to the old town, Plaza Nueva again, the beautiful Plaza de Unamuno with the famous staircase and the Pensión Matilde, the Cathedral, the amazing art nouveau building of the Abando train station (possibly my favorite building in town) and all the tiny streets where it’s so easy but also so pleasant to get lost. In these little streets you can also find Flamingos Vintage Kilo (they have many shops in other Spanish cities like Barcelona), possibly my favorite vintage shop in town, where I bought two little 80s dress for less than 10 euros and I can’t wait to wear them!

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Before heading to the “new” area of Bilbao we stopped at the Mercado de la Ribera, an institution in town, beautifully decorated food market where you can also eat meat, fish or of course pintxos, like we did (with a glass of red wine) at the Vermutería. The food was excellent and so was the wine…we got ready for a busy afternoon towards Plaza Moyúa and the newest  part of Bilbao with big streets and modern shops…a bit boring for us! Then we decided to take the Artxanda Funicular to find some peace on top of the hill and to admire a wonderful view of Bilbao from the top! Of course all this peace made us ready for the crowd of the Plaza Nueva and for another night of pintxos, wine and music in Bilbao!

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We spent our last day in Bilbao far away from the city: we took a bus up north to see the Basque Coast, more precisely the lovely city of Getaria to visit the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum just near the curated central square of the town. The museum is definitely worth a visit not only for the comprehensive view of the designer life and creations but also for its beautiful modern architecture: a black cube from the outside but great light and pink walls inside! I loved this museum dedicated to one of the most important designers ever, also one of my favorite of all times!

The village is very famous for the museum but also for the wonderful beach and for the restaurants near the beach where you can eat the best fresh fish but be careful: you need to book a table before and to choose carefully the restaurant as some of them are really incredibly expensive! After our dose of fresh fish and blue sea we headed back to Bilbao for our last festive night in Plaza Nueva first and in Bilbao La Vieja then!

As promised a last word to my favorite spots for pintxos in town, all in the big square Plaza Nueva. We loved Zaharra, a new spot with delicious food and wine and we ADORED the historical Café Bar Bilbao (one of the oldest bars in town where we switched from pintxos to fried calamari as it is the plate they are famous for!) and the traditional Victor Montes for the excellent pintxos and wine.

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The Ladybug has a new vintage 80s shirt

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In my last post I showed you one of my new 80s vintage shirts that I bought from Maison Retro on Depop, today I show you the second one (there are a few more!).  I met Federica for the first time on Facebook and I still remember that my first purchase from her was a wool vintage plaid culottes that I adore. She was such a nice and helpful seller and I loved the skirt so much that I kept buying from her and I am now quite obsessed with her vintage pieces. Her style is strongly in line with mine and almost every new vintage piece on her shop is in my wish list!

When I bought my mustard shirt I also got this 80s purple long shirt, with a beautiful collar (sort of Korean one) and a stunning print. It is so 80s and I loved the shape so much that I couldn’t hide it and tuck it into a bottom, so I decided to wear it free and in all its beauty!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Purple Shirt (3)

To leave the attention on it I just paired it with a pair of jeans from Mango (from an old collection) and my thrifted Golden Goose ankle Texan boots.

As every time that I wear a 80s piece I always add a pair of earrings of the same era (I love the big statement earrings of that decade!): this time I went for this big vintage golden clip hoop earrings that I bought many years ago from a vintage seller at the” Valeggio Veste il Vintage” event, after a long search of a pair exactly like these!

Rings: Indian vintage, Berber vintage and brass (cowrie + fertility doll) from Afrohemien. 

Click here for a similar women pant!

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The Ladybug mixing mustard and olive

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No strange food mixes there! Just me having fun with clothes as usual and trying new color combinations when getting dressed!

Since I received this beautiful 80s vintage shirt from Maison Retro (that I love for the incredible details and loose shape!) I have been thinking of how good the mustard color would match an olive green piece, until I remembered about my Aztec-afro printed dark green Marlene trousers handmade from Madame Ilary!

I was right! They were perfect together!!

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I added a mustard accessory and an olive green one: the dark yellow shoes with a 60s twist are new, handmade in Spain but designed in London from Miista (one of my new favorite shoe designers); the second accessory is my lovely dark green bag from L’Autre Chose, an Italian piece that I spotted during a sample sale in Milan last winter for one third of the original price!

Last but not least, I added a pair of Zara statement earrings that I bought in Sofia last year, also one of the rare pieces from Zara that I still have in my wardrobe!

What do you think of this combo?

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The Ladybug is an uncomfortable Arab Queen in Milan

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One of my best sources for shopping clothing and homeware is traveling. I buy a lot when I am abroad, especially local handcrafted pieces and if possible vintage shopping. I also prepare a sort of tailored “shopping list” depending on the country before leaving and I cherish these pieces that are for me the most tangible memories: prints, jewels, fabrics, rugs, pillows, typical local clothing are on top of my list!

Although I traveled twice this year to an Arab country (Morocco and Jordan) I couldn’t find a good embroidered tunic: most of them were cheap and made for tourists, while I was looking for more authentic ones. Funny thing is that I found what I was looking for in Budapest, in a lovely vintage shop called Jajcica where I bought two vintage Arab tunics, beautifully embroidered and apparently authentic as they both have tags written in Arabic!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Arab Tunic (2)

One of them is the olive green pictured here that I wore on a Saturday morning in Milan: although I mixed it with modern “more European” pieces I was shocked to realize how people stared at me in the streets or on public transportation. Seriously, is an Arab tunic that scary? What’s strange if I like other cultures’ clothes and traditions and I’m not afraid to wear them? Honestly I really cannot stand when people try to make me feel uncomfortable with their looks when I am just being myself and no one can blame me for that!

Anyway, I matched it with a beautiful handmade turban from Madame Ilary and I made a contrast with my thrifted Golden Goose Texan ankle boots.

I also added brass handmade jewelry from Italian crafters Metalica Creazioni (earrings and ring) and Meraviglioz (dragonfly necklace).

It was also fun to take pictures in front of this tiny wooden door as I realized later that if you see the picture and you don’t know that I am in Milan, you can easily think that I am in the streets of Marrakech!

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The Ladybug’s vintage outfit for the Naviglio Grande Antiques Market

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Every last Sunday of the month, the Navigli area of Milan is full of vintage stalls selling almost everything vintage: homeware, clothing, accessories, collectable etc. It is the biggest Antiques market in town and since I live here I try to go there every now and then (not too much because I would buy too many things!) just to walk, have a look and feel the vintage vibe.

I am sharing the outfit of my last visit two months ago now, where I enjoyed a lovely vintage stroll with Ilaria and bought a couple of things, of course! (A wonderful 40’s vintage brooch from my adored Déjàvu Vintage and a fabulous ethnic golden embroidered tunic that I fell in love with at very first sight!).

Usually I totally play dressed-up to visit the Naviglio Grande Antiques Market but this day I was more “down-to-earth” as I had a couple of things to do after the market. So I put a pair of Vans at my feet but the rest of the outfit is completely vintage: starting from this beautiful 70s ice-white coat that I found at Humana Vintage during my 70s coats hunt last autumn. I don’t usually wear such clear colors but I liked the shape too much and it was just 15 euros so I went for it. The good thing is that it goes almost with everything and it was perfect with my greyish 80s shirt with colored toucans that I found in Budapest in May at Retrock (possibly my favorite vintage shop in town with Jajcica!).

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Mum jeans are vintage inspired from Topshop, I found them in Edinburgh when I was searching for the perfect vintage mum jeans but I couldn’t find one that I liked until I saw this one in high street. It is not vintage but I like it a lot and I have been using it so much!

My turban is handmade from Madame Ilary, of course, and it was created with a fabric and an embroidery that I found in Amman, at the textile Souq where they sold the most beautiful Syrian fabrics and Jordan embroidery for ridiculous prices (a real paradise on earth!). I couldn’t resist that much and I bought so many things for me and for Ilaria!

Hoop earrings are from Gogo Philip, canvas tote from Marina Abramovic exhibit in Florence official merchandise (I got two beautiful canvas bags and the poster of the exhibit when we were there in February).

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