The Ladybug goes “Untitled” (How does it feel…)

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Year 2000. I was still a student at University. One afternoon, during a break from preparing an exam, I decided to make a cup of tea. Kettle on, television on (on MTV, of course!)…a new music video launches: Untitled (How does it feel) by D’Angelo. I remember that I needed a chair and started staring at the screen with some pleasure and desire during the whole song. I think that I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. It was the day I decided that D’Angelo was the hottest man alive on earth and I haven’t changed my mind in the last 15 years, although he became almost unrecognizable for a while!

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Since then I had the urgent need to see him in concert somewhere (which failed to happen a few years ago in London) but I had to wait until a few weeks ago, when he performed in Milan at the Estathé Market Sound Festival. It was one of the hottest days of the year but nothing could stop me from being there! The concert was great, even if a bit short, and his voice really incredible! Let me say that the best moment of the show was the end, when he performed a long version (almost 15 minutes) of Untitled causing fainting, shivering and for sure greatest pleasure!

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I wore a black dress by COS, Nike 4 & Other Stories white sneakers, vintage red quilted bag by Frendo Vintage and a Marc by Marc Jacobs cherry necklace-watch.

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The Ladybug’s first “marketing” experience: East Market Milano with Madame Ilary

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In the last two years I have been asked tons of times why I didn’t start selling “for real” instead of only selling my vintage and thrifted goods online. I have been asked if I wanted to open a shop or if I thought of selling during vintage markets and events. My answer is yes! I still dream of having a vintage shop or of having enough space in my house to keep all my vintage and thrifted collection in a storage room and to bring it around during the weekends and selling it at funny markets all around Italy.

Still, as I’m not working on it for the next future, I am keeping open my Ebay shop (btw feel free to have a look at it whenever you want – you can find the direct link in the Contact page) and I am enjoying the online selling which allows you sometimes to start new virtual friendships all over the world!

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At the same time, when my friend Ilaria from Madame Ilary asked me to share a stall with her at the East Market in Milan I couldn’t say no, for many different reason: first of all it was a “first” for both and I really wanted to make this experience with her as we often talked about that; it was a way to test our business and see how it worked “in the street”; secondly the place was really perfect: the area of Lambrate where the market takes place is vibrant and full of life lately and I thought it was perfect for our “launch”; last but not least, the East Market is for sure one of my favorite markets in Milan: full of interesting people, street food, flower market and a beautiful area outside to eat, drink and chat.

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I wasn’t wrong as we enjoyed the experience pretty much and we had a lot of fun even if we felt like the beginners of the market as most of stallers were way more experienced than us! Still it was the occasion to meet new people, to find old friends (like my beloved Francesca from Metalica who had a stall not far from us!) and to sell some vintage accessories and the wonderful handmade turbans made by Ilaria. The atmosphere was really interesting, a lot of people of different age, interests and style, a kind of potpourri that I appreciated a lot, definitely a great experience!

This means that you better watch out as you will probably see me around again in a market near you…in the meanwhile keep having a look at my Ebay shop!

I wore Dixie black culottes, Topshop white shirt, vintage bag by Frendo Vintage, New Balance sneakers, Nepalese silver necklace and handmade African turban by Madame Ilary.

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The Ladybug runs again: Energizer Night Run in Milan

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I know I’ve been talking about running and what it means (and meant) to me so I won’t start here again but let me share one of my favorite running events I attended this year in Milan, the Energizer Night Run.

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This was not the first time for me as I run the Energizer last year (it was my first run ever if you don’t consider the cross-country races in the middle-school!) but it was completely new in a certain way as I enjoyed it more this year: maybe my good results, maybe the good company of my friends-colleagues or the fresh air but I really had a great time. You can never forget your first run, I guess this is the reason why the Energizer Night run is always so pleasant to me!

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It is also one of the most famous running events in town, a charity run for Unicef during the night in Parco Sempione, wearing a small flashlight that illuminates the night, creating a great view in the dark, especially if you think that about 7000 people were running in the park. It’s a short one (5K) but it’s fun to see so many people of every age joining the run for a good cause!

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The Ladybug tips for 2015 Summer Sales!

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Like every year, a new sale season has started and like every year I plan a post on the subject that I have never published so far for many different reasons! It seems that this year I have the occasion to say something about sales, so let’s start with a few but important rules:

  1. “Just get what you need”: I know that we don’t really need anything as our closets are full of clothes but when I say “need” I mean it in a girly way. How many times did we say: “I need a pair of black shoes to go with my trousers” or “I need a camel bag because I only have black bags”? that’s the “need” that I mean! Most of the times when we are lost into a shop during the sales we are tempted to buy all the nice things that we see even if we don’t really need them and we end up buying things that we won’t use when we can just save that money to buy things that we really “need to buy”. So, make a list of what we “need” and add things during the non-sale times whenever you use the “I need…” phrase: when the sales arrive you will know already what you “need”!
  2. “Make a limited use of high street shops”: high street is for regular use, as most of the times they sell things that we can more or less afford during the year. But how many things did we see that were out of our budget? Well, sales are the right time to buy that specific piece that you coveted during the year but that you couldn’t buy. Now that it is on sale you may be lucky enough to still find it in your size and at a price that you can afford. For this, don’t forget to save money during the year though!
  3. “You can survive only one huge sales session with limited but targeted shops list, not more”: as you may know, going around during the sales may be very depressing; women lose their cool at this time of the year and most of the times the long queueing outside the fitting rooms can be exhausting. This is why you cannot survive more shopping sessions during the sales; so pick up a day (first or second day of sales are better), prepare a list of the shops to visit and go for it all day. Once you are done, don’t repeat one week later! Ok, if you want you can repeat in case of further reductions but in that case you won’t probably be as lucky as during the first days and you won’t find almost anything left.
  4. “Go vintage”: Vintage shops do sales too! So, make sure that they are on top of your list of shops that you need to visit so if you don’t find your “perfect match” there, you can try somewhere else!

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These are my top four rules during sales, but if we want to go more in detail about summer sales 2015 here are a couple of pieces that you can buy now and that you shouldn’t miss:

  1. The circle skirt: it has been a trend of this summer fashion and be sure that you will use it again and again for a long time, so if you didn’t get one before it’s time to do it!
  2. The white sneakers: if like me you hesitated and resisted so far, I think that we must surrender and accept that they won! From Adidas Stan Smith, to Nike or Pinko the white sneakers are the winners and you need a pair too (I have an original vintage Adidas and I just decided that I’m wearing them again!)
  3. The 50’s inspired bikini: one of the pieces that must be in every summer sales list is a swimsuit; most of the times you can buy one just before going on holiday and for a reduced price, so why buying one before? If you can go for an original vintage piece it would be amazing as their shapes and materials are just top but if you can’t find anything just go for a retro inspired 50’s piece: your body and your neighbors at the beach will thank you for that!
  4. The culottes: essential. Period!
  5. The palazzo pants: this year they were everywhere, the colored palazzo pants are the undisputed princes of the summer and the 70’s vibe that goes with them will make them a piece to buy for further use!
  6. The pointy heeled shoes: a classic! Just change colors at every sales until you feel that you have enough!
  7. Shoes: always! Use without moderation!

For my summer sales session in Milan I wore: Cos black shirt, thrifted striped pants from Epiphany Vintage in Frankfurt, Lolita Milano flats, Michael Kors bucket bag, Valentino sunglasses and lovely handmade necklace from Le Cosine di Pape!

(Jantzen pictures are taken from the blog Envisioning the American Dream)

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The Ladybug in Vintage Bruxelles pt. 2

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If possible, our second day in Bruxelles was even better than the first one!

We woke up in a beautiful, warm and sunny day and we started the day with one of the best hot chocolates and macarons from the famous Marcolini…do you know a better start? Consider that what came after was even better!

Our Sunday was indeed specially dedicated to vintage hunting in the most vintage area of Bruxelles, the Marolles: it is the place that you cannot miss as it is a mixture of hipster, vintage and retro with plenty of amazing shops from home-décor to art and of course, vintage! I loved all the incredible street art in the area and I couldn’t help asking my favorite photographer friend Valentina to take some pictures of me with my favorite ones!

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But when you head to the area on a Sunday morning, the first thing to do is a visit to the Jeu de Balle, the most famous antiques and flea market in town: the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and the bargains are easy to find. We just enjoyed the vibrant market in the square and we got lost among the crowd in this adorable market!

Before a perfect outdoor lunch in one of the loveliest restaurant in rue des renards, Restobière, we headed to the famous vintage shop Foxhole Vintage in the same street and we continued our vintage shopping session started the day before: shoes, skirts, hats and dresses were on the list and it wasn’t easy to pick up our favorites in this colored and well assorted vintage shop! Pricing is absolutely honest and the gems that you can find here are worth a long visit, just to have the time to check almost everything in case you miss something very important waiting for you in the next hangers!

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We also visited one of the oldest vintage shops in Bruxelles, Bernard Gavilon but we didn’t know that he is very famous in Bruxelles since the 80’s when he used to animate the town nightlife and that he was the first to open a vintage shop longtime ago (at least, that’s what we’ve been told!). His little shop in rue de Blaes is very crowded and full of clothes, accessories and homeware but I couldn’t find the “rare piece” and the right atmosphere that I expected to be honest. Still if you love vintage like I do it is a place to visit, at least to meet him in person!

Last but not least, you must grab your biggest bargains at Melting Pot Kilo, a lovely vintage shop in rue Haute that you shouldn’t miss because of their incredible vintage kilo sale: 15 euros for one kilo of clothes is really cheap and you won’t be disappointed by their selection as, unlikely the average vintage kilo sales we are used to see, here you can really find some lovely pieces for ridiculous prices! (For example I bought a floral circle skirt for 3 euros).

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If you are in Bruxelles at the right time you can also look for the Brussels Vintage Market in the Halles de Saint Géry: it takes place every first Sunday of the month; locals say that it is a bit more expensive than the regular shops, but I guess that you can just have a look and confirm – or not – what they say! (This might also be my excuse to go back to Bruxelles again soon!)

If you are around, I also suggest visiting L’atelier en ville, a concept store in an incredible location where you can buy art and clothes but also drink and eat in one of the most interesting places in town!

As if all this wasn’t enough, the four girls moved to the lovely Flagey area, with the lovely lakes and beautiful houses but also with a lot of beautiful people enjoying the warm and sunny day in the park or in one of the many bars along the way. No need to say that we joined them for our last aperitif before leaving this warm and welcoming town, our lovely friends and one of the funniest and most pleasant weekends ever during which we did all the things that we love more with some very special and beloved friends!

Bye bye Bruxelles…see you soon!

Dress: Episode Vintage Bruxelles; Sneakers: New Balance; Bag: Balenciaga; Sunglasses: Prada

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The Ladybug in Vintage Bruxelles pt. 1

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Did you know that Bruxelles is considered one of the European capitals of vintage? And did you know that this is absolutely true?

I first went to Bruxelles more than ten years ago and I was shocked to see how much it changed in just a decade! The occasion was a visit with my old friend Valentina who moved there not too long ago, and I must say that we spent one of the best weekends EVER!

The weather was pretty awesome, food and beer just delightful and company was perfect. We enjoyed two beautiful days around the city and we visited some of the best vintage shops in town. And I must say: not only are there tons of incredible vintage shops in town, but the selection and prices are really interesting (no need to say I bought a lot of stuff right?!).

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For the first day we got lost around the city and her incredible sights, walking all day and visiting all the most important touristic sites: from the Grande Place to the Manneken Pis, the Royal Palace and its gardens, the Sablon and Grand Sablon with its beautiful and flowery squares, Sainte Catherine and the incredible Magritte Museum. But we also got lost inside the lovely shops: amazing “chocolateries,” the incredible street art at every corner and the beautiful alleys of the old town. We also walked to the Chatelaine area, one of the most vibrant areas of the town. And a bit outside of the touristic tours (this is one of the advantages of visiting the town with someone living there!), we visited the incredible museum Horta.

In this area we found the lovely Retro Paradise, part of the “Les Petits Riens” charitable association. They have a huge stock of recycled clothes where you can spot some gems in the mess and with very low prices (I got a lovely Audrey Hepburn style hat for 7 euros!). It’s such the famous charity shop in town that it has inspired local fashion designers to host an annual show based on outfits bought at Les Petits Riens.

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On the way back to our dinner (typical Belgian “moules and frites” – mussels and French fries – at the historical restaurant Chez Leon), we stopped by one of the best vintage shops in Bruxelles (in my opinion): Episode. This shop is not far from the Grande Place. It is a bit scary when you get in because of the huge amount of clothing and accessories that you can find there, but once you are amerced- the overwhelming feeling quickly subsides. I loved the dresses, trousers, shirts and jackets and the incredible stock of vintage kimonos. We couldn’t resist, even my friends who are not specially vintage fans, buying incredible pieces there (the prices were also very tempting I must say!). Of course I got a vintage kimono and a couple of dresses that I can’t wait to show you!

I wore retro inspired Zara striped culottes, Mango navy sweater, Cos white t-shirt, my new super comfortable New Balance sneakers and my thrifted Balenciaga bag.

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The Ladybug Can’t Believe She’s Keeping Up with the Kardashian: Contouring Makeup Tips

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Love her or hate her, we must say that every new trend that comes from Kim Kardashian makes a lot of noise on the web. I usually don’t give much attention to her new trends, which seem to come daily, but I couldn’t help doing some research on her beauty trend about contouring. Well, I found out she didn’t invent anything new with her make up, but she has unveiled one of the best kept beauty secrets among celebrities for years!

When I started my own research online I found tons of tutorials and articles on how to contour based on your face shape and colors… what products to use and which pencils. There was a lot of information about how to make it natural for a daily use or dramatic for a night out. I was really surprised, and believed I might not (based on a couple trys) be able to do something similar on my own, until I decided to try at a Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up event at Sephora in Milan. I was pretty skeptical at the beginning and I asked a lot of questions, but then I started to train myself and now I am quite addicted to it and I can share with you what I learned so far.

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First of all, I learned that contouring isn’t an easy job: I made many mistakes and tries before getting a good result. So if you are a starter, like me, use a small quantity of products. I prefer powder products to creamy ones- which is better to use after some time and exercise. Sephora and Marc Jacobs have specific pencils for contouring, so I suggest to use one of those.

Also, I prefer a more natural effect instead of a dramatic contouring, so forget the Kim Kardashian effect and try to get a natural contouring that takes less time to master and do than you think.

If you go online you can find tons of tutorials based on your face. But here I’ve tried to put together some pictures that I found on the web to make it easier for you to understand how it works and how to obtain the correct “game” of light on your face to highlight your beauty angles… and maybe correct some little things that we don’t like.

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I also suggest not to use products containing glitter or with pearl effects as they will ruin the natural effect. I picked up the Marc by Marc Jacobs contouring palette Mirage Filter. My Sicilian range of color depending on the season is vast so the universal color palette works great for me.  But if you have darker skin, you can also use the Mac contouring kit or the creamy single contouring products coming in different colors based on your skin tone (I’ve tried them too, but I think that I need more practice before!). It is very important to find the right color for your skin, so don’t be afraid to ask to a beauty consultant in your beauty store to find the right color for your skin tone. Nothing is worse than wearing a mask when it’s not Halloween, right?

After fixing the foundation with some powder, I apply, in the areas indicated in the pictures for oblong faces like mine, the contouring powders before applying some blush: it takes just a few minutes and it gives you a completely different effect that keeps your everyday makeup natural and fresh.

Let me know if you tried it and if it became or it is part of your beauty routine. Tell me how you feel about it; I’m curious to hear your comments!

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Run Ladybug, Run! Nike We Run Milano and How to Cross Your Goal Lines

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The first Friday of June was a first for me and I was really proud and excited about this: my first Nike Run which means my first 10K run.

When I arrived in Milan and heard about this run I really felt that I wanted to participate in it, but I also knew that it was nearly impossible simply because I had never even tried to run 10K before. Even if I’d been a little athletic and even run before, I was really bad at running and 10K (in my mind) was just too much! Also I was pretty much convinced that running was boring and I couldn’t even bare the idea of doing it for about an hour!

But here comes the first reason why I love running: it doesn’t matter how trained you are and if you’ve never run in your life, you can become a runner if you really want and train for it. It happened for me, so I guess it can happen for anyone! I cannot train as much as I want, but twice a week is enough to get good results in a relatively short time. People have been telling me this for a long time, but I didn’t believe it until I decided to give it a try: in a few months I managed to run 5K. And even if I wasn’t proud of my pace, with time, motivation and effort I reached my goal!

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Last year I missed the run because I wasn’t in town, but this year I managed to be there with my crew and participated in this great event: the Nike We Run is not only about running… indeed, there are so many things to do after the run! And since it’s only for women, you’ll find a lot of glamor. Starting with the beautiful goodie bag (this year designed by Paula Cademartori) and the lovely things inside of it (Kiko blush and nail polish for example!). It started (and ended) in one of the most glamorous areas of Milan (Piazza Gae Aulenti) and it crossed the whole city center including Duomo, via Montenapoleone, San Babila and believe me it was a nice show to see all these women (it seems around 10.000) dressed with orange fluo shirts, having a lot of fun!

Because (and this is reason two of why I love it) running isn’t boring at all: it helps building new friendships. You make new friends, meet people with the same passion (and believe me there are a lot!), and if you find the right place to train you can discover new things in your own city or wherever you decide to have a run.

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I run with some friends. One of whom I trained and continue training with, and it is incredible how this passion got us addicted. But the great thing is that running makes you addicted to success, to set new goals and to be able to reach them and then to set new ones: it is a way of thinking and of living life that becomes your thought and your action. I’ve come to find myself more positive, strong, willing to accept challenges and more able to reach my goals, which I do and now I take time to celebrate them!

We Run Milano was my own personal celebration of all the things that I achieved this year regarding my health and fitness routine, and I couldn’t celebrate it any better! It was also the occasion to set new goals with the certainty that I will reach them, again.

This is indeed the greatest reason why I love running: it helps you believe in yourself and in your capabilities. It makes you stronger because it makes you understand that there is no limit to what you want to be except for the limitations that we create ourselves. So girls, be proud, be you, be whatever you want to be and run for it!

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The Ladybug devours the Magic of Armani | Silos

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The 3rd of May, two days after the opening of the EXPO 2015 in Milan, another very important expo was inaugurated: Giorgio Armani decided to celebrate 40 years of his wonderful career by offering to Milan what the New York Times defined as “the place to be” – the Armani | Silos.

This museum, located in the Tortona area, celebrates the history of “King Giorgio” by offering 4500 square meters, consisting of four floors, of amazing creations from the ’80s to now in a surreal yet enveloping atmosphere.

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The mayor of Milan defined it as a gift Armani offered to the town in order to demonstrate his love for the city, and believe me it really is!

The building is an old silo used for storing food and Armani decided to leave the name as it represents the way for fashion to be “nutrient” for the soul. The architecture is spacious and the game of lights are absolutely amazing. Not to mention the music: it’s a perfect accompaniment for the visitors.

The selection of the creations exposed doesn’t have a chronological order, but it tells the story and the most representative pieces of the Italian designer. Every floor represents a leitmotif that inspired or keeps inspiring Armani’s art work.

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The ground floor is dedicated to men and women daywear- with a huge selection of men and women suits, especially from his latest collections, coats and day dresses with a huge prevalence of grey and camel tones.

But the more you climb the floors, the more you will be amazed and in awe.

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First floor, I guess my favorite one: it’s completely dedicated to Armani’s exoticism: it collects all his pieces inspired by faraway lands, from India to Japan, Northern Africa, to Spain and the Far East. It is a blossoming of flowers, colors, embroideries, sequins and sparkling pieces… I spent most of my time there! In the middle of the floor there were also a collection of clutches, shoes, jewelry and accessories that will make you fight the simple desire of touching them and try them on!

The second floor is dedicated to Chromatism: the colors are darker. Stripes appear on night gowns, cocktail dresses and jackets and Armani’s use of black is surprising and thrilling. Even in the dark the embroideries sparkle and the cuts are amazing. A lot of black and white, red, electric blue, navy blue and many more “vintage” pieces coming from the ’80s!

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When you reach the last floor, you can really say that you have seen the light! Light is, indeed, the inspirational theme for the last floor. There, you can be overcome by the sparkling of wonderful embroidered gowns and two pieces- from gold to silver. It is a jubilation of pure ecstasy and fashion perfection!

The floor also hosts a video room and a digital archive with more than a thousand outfits selected by category and collections.  It features more than two thousand pieces and accessories, sketches, backstage and catwalk videos, photographs from the advertising campaigns.

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On the ground floor you can also find a gift shop, a cafeteria and the installation “Stars,” a red carpet leading to a big screen with images of all the celebrities wearing Armani.

As for me, I wore Imperial red pleated shirt, Amelia Verona trousers and Zara flats with a vintage touch: round sunglasses by Oggetti Smarriti, red quilted bag by Frendo Vintage and headband by Traffic People London.

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The Ladybug Fades to White…

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Sometimes a good outfit post is what you need to make your day brighter, especially if you have an amazing new white shirt that you want to wear almost every day because you love it so much!

A few months ago I told you about my visit to the White Trade Show to meet the talented designer Indra Kaffemanaite, owner of the emerging brand Balossa. I also told you that I fell in love with her collection of white shirts, with the aerial dimension and details of her pieces and how she made me change my point of view on white shirts- moving from a perfect foundation for a vintage statement piece to becoming a real statement piece in itself.

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And you may remember that I also told you I was going to own one; so here it is, my first love! This one caught my eye immediately because of the amazing asymmetry (pairing with my new haircut asymmetry!) and of the beautiful work on the large sleeve. I wore it in a special corner of Milan, Piazza Sant’Alessandro.  It’s one of my favorite spots… the city seems so faraway even if it’s just around the corner. It’s also where time seems to have stopped for a while, and you can breathe a little vintage in the Milanese atmosphere.

In this outfit I decided to let the shirt be the main character: I paired it with black skinny jeans from Acne Studios and black décolleté by 8. More details: Celine black sunglasses, Coccinelle camel bag and Alcozer & J ring.

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