The Ladybug is a storyteller: the legend of the giants Mata and Grifone

The Ladybug Chronicles Mata & Grifone (1)

A few weeks ago, while walking down the streets of Messina I stopped by the two big statues of the giants Mata and Grifone riding their horses.

The two huge statues are exposed in the central square of Messina (Piazza Unione Europea) in front of the City Hall a couple of weeks a year, usually after mid-August (after parading for a couple of days) until the end of the month, to allow tourists and citizens to take pictures of them and to celebrate the legendary founders of the city.

I have always loved their legend since I was a child because it was the celebration of an interracial and interreligious couple! They still represent to my eyes the symbol of an open town, open to migrants, strangers and whoever approaches our sea. Unfortunately this is not how the things are going lately in my town and in my country in general, that’s why I wanted to remember this story and to tell it to the world: to remind that we all come from “mixed” ancestors, we have no idea of what type of blood runs into our veins, and we should be proud of it.

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The legend says indeed that people from Messina come from this mixed couple: her name was Marta, she was from Camaro, one of the area of the city, beautiful and tall girl, daughter of a local landlord falling in love with a dark skin big pirate during the Saracen invasions of Sicily around 970 AD. The pirate was called Hassas Ibn-Hammar but he had to change his name and religion (he was of course Muslim) to marry Marta. His name then became Grifo (exaggerated to Grifone due to his size) while her name was changed in dialect to Mata. They founded then Messina by populating it with a lot of descendants!

This post and pictures are my tribute to them, to my legendary ancestors representing peace and connection between different cultures, races and religions. This is how proud I am to be from Messina.

For my yearly tribute I wore a vintage floral shirt from Humana Vintage Milano, Topshop denim shorts and Japanese white flats. Ghanaian bolga bag is from Sankofa Beads and Baskets on Etsy, while round sunglasses are from Valentino.

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The Ladybug is a Birthday girl!

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18th of August 2018: it is my birthday and I turned 42!

Still super excited after my amazing trip to Japan, I spent my birthday in total relax in Sicily in my hometown with my friends and family, surrounded by love and laughter, I couldn’t celebrate it in a better way!

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For this special birthday I decided to wear a special dress: it is a long African printed wax dress handmade by Madame Ilary with a fabric that I bought in Senegal during my trip last year. I really felt like an African princess, which I really needed considering the age!!

I added a Ghanaian bolga small straw bag that I bought on Etsy and a pair of loop earrings by Mango.

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The Ladybug and her little thrifted black dress

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I am showing for the first time one of my favorites thrifted finds ever.

It is a black Topshop dress with small flowers that I found many years ago used on Ebay and that I bought for only two pounds! I loved its vintage inspiration and of course its price! The dress was in perfect conditions but I didn’t realize that the back was completely open, which I really couldn’t afford considering my big breast!

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With my lovely friend Ilaria from Madame Ilary we decided to use the belt of the dress to create some strips to cover the back…and she also added a bow on the front! I loved the result and I can now easily wear this dress that I love also for its versatility.

In this set of pictures I paired it with light blue handmade turban by Madame Ilary, teal and golden t-bar shoes from Lazzari Store and Zara earrings.

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The Ladybug 70s afro street style!

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I can call this set of photographs “the lazy ladybug” as I was so tired and it was so hot (it was one of the hottest days in Milan) that I didn’t even stand up to take the pictures!

A coffee after lunch at the Feltrinelli Foundation and five minutes of well-deserved shadow before heading back to work. While I was seating near the Foundation graffiti my friend took some pictures of a lazy me because she loved the afro style, she said!

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There is a bit of afro indeed: my afro inspired turban handmade by Madame Ilary, my Senegalese necklaces from Seyeyaram African Handmade and my many African jewels.

But I also added a 70s touch with my Massimo Dutti dark denim culottes and even more with my new amazing green shoes by Strategia bought during an incredible sample sale at their shop in Milan. Simple white tee ASOS.

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The Ladybug plays the Frenchie at the vintage summer game

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One of my last outfits before the summer holidays was totally inspired by French style!

I created everything starting from this Oh la la frilled navy top from Lazzari that I got on their online store during the summer sales (I was waiting for it!) and I wore it with a pair of short flare jeans from Mango and my Chanel inspired Zara shoes. Here you can find more Women Denim Pants

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I added a French touch also with accessories: a vintage headscarf bought in Valencia in my hair and my new Filt cotton French bag made with organic cotton and with the colors of France!

What do you think?

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The Ladybug and the Brazilian experience at PAC Milan

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Before leaving for my summer holidays I visited a last exhibit in Milan: Brazil. Knife in the Flesh at PAC in Milan. At my biggest surprise it was a great exhibit and I enjoyed it a lot, especially the live performance by Maurício Ianês that I found emotional at the point that I couldn’t stop thinking of his work for the following days.

I don’t go often to PAC exhibits but when I do they turn out as great events: I think about the one on CUBA or on Nelson Mandela, two of my favorites ever! This one on Brazil was not less. The name of the exhibit (Navalha na Carne) is the title of a play by the Brazilian writer Plínio Marcos, particularly active during the years of the Brazilian military regime. Not a surprise then that the exhibition is based on this never-ending conflict inside the Brazilian society; it is expressed through installations, photographs, videos and performances of the artists invited and it is often interpreted with hope for the future or with complete disillusion and disappointment.

Anyway, the Brazilian cultural environment is still alive and prosperous and it represents a sort of revolutionary act in front of this perennial conflict.

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I was lucky enough to visit the expo in July, during the live performance of  Maurício Ianês, in front of whom I spent a lot of time, sitting on the floor and trying to connect with the artist and with his incredible powerful message. He arrived at the exhibit beginning of July completely naked (like he did 10 years ago at the San Paolo Biennale) waiting for the visitors to offer him food, clothes, drinks or whatever they want to offer. Since then he has been living in the Museum for two weeks exposing what he received during his performance (that he calls “action”) Untitled (Dispossession).

For the event I wore different shades of blue: from the electric blue of the thrifted Topshop silk shirt, to the teal of Zara culottes, to the aqua of Madame Ilary handmade turban. I added a vintage 80s flamingo brooch from La Vespa Roja in Valencia and mud caged boots from Jeffrey Campbell.

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The Ladybug’s end of summer whishlist (and a special coupon code for you!)

 

End of August. Sitting on my balcony in front of the Strait of Messina. I spent the morning on the beach but now thunders are hitting the sky and it started raining. I was reading a book but I got bored. What was the best thing to do? Look for new clothes for my Milan come back on Dresslily!

Why Dresslily? Because they have fantastic vintage inspired dresses that I can’t resist with amazing prints and shapes! Moreover Dresslily has good quality and very affordable prices and a great choice of styles.

So I decided to share with you my September wishlist starting from my first ten Top Fashionable Women Dresses:

I am still in love with off-shoulder dresses and this pink one with butterflies print is too cute not to love it! I find it perfect for a late summer drink or event.

As I am just back from my holiday in Japan I have a special crush for all the patterns that remind me of this amazing country. It is the case for this retro floral print flare dress that I loved also for its 40s shape.

How can we forget a bit of gingham in our retro wishlist? This light blue and white plaid A Line shirt dress has a 60s inspiration that I adore!

As I am writing this wishlist from Sicily I had my heart jumping when I saw this dress: the retro floral pin up dress looks like a traditional Sicilian print…so much love for this dress!

Same “Sicilian love” also for the Lemon print belted A Line Dress: amazing print (how could it be other way for a Sicilian native girl?!) and magnificent shape!

Here are the new arrival!

Of course, I picked also five retro inspired dresses from the new collection:

Immediate love for this striped top and palm print skirt dress as the two prints together are just perfect!

Speaking of palms I also loved the colors and the print of the beautiful tropical leaf print swing dress.

It made me think of vintage Mexican dresses this lovely red and yellow Plant Print A Line Dress with lovely cactuses printed on the skirt!

I have something for butterflies this year, that’s why I picked another Butterfly Print Swing Dress! This one has a very fresh style in white with green butterflies, and a lovely shape (I loved the three spaghetti straps on the shoulders!).

Last but not least, I couldn’t not include in my wishlist a striped dress! This one is adorable and it comes in three colors (black, navy and red).

Did you like my wishlist? If you want to see more you can join Dresslily 6th Anniversary and celebrate with us! It’s time to refresh your wardrobe! DressLily prepares the best high-quality but low-prices products for you, makes you free under all occasion for Monday to Friday and now they offer you a discount coupon code that you can add at the check-out (DL Sallys) to get 3 usd off over 25 usd, 7 usd off over 50 usd, 13 usd off over 80 usd and 15 usd off over 100 usd! Enjoy!

The Ladybug can hear the song of the African sea (in a seashell)

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Cowrie shells are such a trend right now, but I have always loved them for many reasons: they remind me of the sea which I still miss a lot and they have specific meanings in the African culture, being one of the many traditional symbols.

I was indeed in Africa, more specifically in Senegal on the Yoff beach, when I saw a woman on the beach selling this amazing statement cowrie necklace and I could help buying it even if I immediately imagined how I could wear it. “Wear it when you feel it, darling” – she said – “Don’t care about matching it with your clothes”. I loved her suggestion and I literally followed it when one morning I woke up with the urge of wearing the cowrie necklace!

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I wore it with a simple dark grey & Other Stories tee and with a vintage Benetton skirt from the 90s (it resisted for a long time in my wardrobe!).

Shoes are retro inspired sling-back kitten heels from Mango that I bought in Madrid last winter.

No need to say that I received lots of compliments for this wonderful necklace, including people asking in the streets where I got it from. I didn’t say that if they listened inside the shells they could hear the African sea singing a love song…

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The Ladybug puts the roof on fire!

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There are places where I run when I need beauty (this is what I call beauty-therapy!). It used to be the seaside when I lived close to the sea, but in Milan I had to find new places. One of them is the rooftop of the beautiful building 10 Corso Como: I go up there to relax, to chill in the beauty of its design décor, while admiring the old Milanese houses contrasting the new skyline of Piazza Gae Aulenti. I also love taking pictures there, as in a few meters you have many different backdrops and background sets for your pictures! It is an infinite source of inspiration!

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This time I was wearing a 80s vintage dress that I found for a few euros at Humana Vintage in Milan years ago, paired with one of my favorite Madame Ilary turbans ever: a light purple softturban with a crystal decoration that I adore. I was skeptical at the beginning because I didn’t know really how to wear it but I found out that it is easier than I thought!

I added my Jeffrey Campbell mud caged ankle boots and a tiny handmade belt to better shape the waist.

Earrings are vintage while necklaces are from & Other Stories.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug from the 40s diva to the 50s pin-up

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Lately I showed you my vintage marine dress bought in Barcelona last spring but, as you may easily imagine, it was not my only vintage find in Barcelona!

When I arrived there, on the first day, I found one of my favorite vintage shops in town called Lullaby: just for you to understand how great this place was, I had to come back a second time to decide what to buy because I loved too many things and I decided that I would better think twice and choose only a few!

When I went back I bought, among other things (a leather 70s bag and a pair of 80s statement earrings!), also this beautiful vintage 50s dress that I loved from the first day: the pattern, the buttons and its pin-up shape!  

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I paired it with a wonderful pair of blackamoor 40s earrings from Déjà Vu (yes, she is my blackamoor jewelry provider!)…aren’t they adorable?

I also added a pair of military green ankle boots that I got a couple of weeks ago from a shoes sample sale (one of the hardest things to resist!) of the brand Strategia, here in Milan. They are not vintage but I think that they were nice with the outfit and I wanted to avoid the total vintage look!

PS: I know I was on my bad-hair day but I forgot to bring a turban! 

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