The Ladybug in a “wax winterland”

Wax in winter looks impossible? Not at all! Wearing our wax prints only during summer days is a huge limitation to this fabric that can be worn every season of the year!

Maybe because I cannot give up colors and flashy patterns, but I cannot imagine living 6 months a year without wax prints!!

Wanna try? It is sufficient to correctly layer and it and it will give you light, joy and happiness all year long! Of course if the day is around 0 degrees you can wait for a better temperature to give it a try!

I just want to share one of my favorite examples here (it was November and the temperature was around 10 degrees!): I remember that at the time I had just received this adorable trench handmade in Togo from Bazar Pagne (after winning one of their giveaways!). I love it so much that I couldn’t wait two more seasons to wear it so I decided to include it in an outfit for a brunch out with friends.

I wore it with a vintage 80s rust and golden sweater from Mister Libra in Milan, with two more layers: an organic cotton tee and a cotton/wool vest to keep me warm.

I added very old Zara corduroy rust culottes and two 80s vintage pieces in a lovely caramel tone: a vintage maxi bag from Lullaby Vintage in Barcelona and a pair of amazing boots from London Corner Vintage.

By the way, let me add another tip here: when it comes to the choice of colors to pair with wax prints I strongly recommend to dare other colors than black or white. You will be surprised of the interesting alternatives that you may find. I also suggest to choose a color that you feel interesting when matching the main color of the wax print, in this case I love the rust with the dark yellow of the trench.

Btw, for this same reason I added golden maxi hoop earrings from Gogo Philip!

How do you feel about this one?

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The Ladybug, a Rolls Royce and some mustard sauce

Strange title there, isn’t it?

Well let’s try to analyse it: why a Rolls Royce? Rolls Royce is the English name for one of the most famous wax patterns, the hibiscus one, also known in French as Fleurs de Mariage (wedding flowers). Even if the names are completely different the meaning of this “pagne” is exactly the same: it represents happiness within a couple and it is known for being considered as a good luck gift, bringing success and abundance to those who wear it (possibly the reason why it is called Rolls Royce!). It is a very popular pattern but also a traditional one, for this reason I truly believe that every real wax lover should have at least one piece in Fleurs de Mariage! I have to say that I have more than one, even in different colours, but this classical red/white pattern is definitely the one that I prefer. For this reason I asked Magali from Atelier Habibi to create one of her lovely Mahotella skirts in this pattern for me; and I wear it all the time (even in winter although these pictures are taken in Cagliari last September) and it is one of my “wax it-pieces”

And why mustard sauce? Mustard is the exact color of this adorable vintage shirt coming from a deadstock that I found on Vinted some time ago: peter pan collar, lovely embroidery on the front and fantastic puff sleeves: how could I resist?

Mixing vintage and handmade wax pieces is my favorite activity but I added a couple of very special pieces here that made the whole package super fun:

  • First of all this handmade canvas bag with a very interesting quote in Sardinian language (it translates with something like F*ck plastic!) that I found at Recyclerie in Cagliari and that made laugh everyone in town (they all asked if I knew what it meant!!)
  • My favorite clogs from Lotta from Stockholm (love this brand when it comes to clogs!)

Less fun but still beautiful my cross-body Cartier vintage bag from Grey Vintage Shop.

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The Ladybug Vanity dress: wearing peacock wax for your birthday

Peacocks are legendarily famous as vain animals: they love showing off their beauty! Wearing a peacock print has a very similar effect on those who wear it, have you noticed?

I am a huge fan of this print, possibly because I am vain too but I think that it actually depends on my love for the two colors together (patrol green and purple).

When I found this beautiful rare peacock wax print on Etsy I didn’t think twice: I got to have it! I immediately ordered 3 yards not knowing yet what to do with it! I have to say that it is very rare to find the peacock print in this color: usually they are in blue or pink (I have a few yards like that) but this…a real gem!

When I received from Nigeria I was the happiest girl in the world and I knew immediately what to do with it: a simple yet beautiful dress.

And there was only one person to make it exactly the way I wanted it to be: Madame Ilary!

We went for a long egg dress, round collar and short sleeves, without any cut just to show how beautiful this print could be! When it was ready I immediately fell for it and I decided to celebrate my own birthday with this dress as a sort of self-dedication! Yes, vain that I am!!

I wore it simple with sequined flat sandals (those in which I lived all summer!) and handmade headwrap (from Madame Ilary again). I added my favorite vintage Cartier bag from Grey Vintage Shop and a pair of handmade octopus statement earrings from a Neapolitan artist also found in Madame Ilary shop in Milan.

What do you think of my birthday outfit? Did I reach the “self-celebration through outfit” goal?

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The Ladybug on the sustainable wax print and how to wear it (sustainably)

There is no need to repeat again what African wax prints mean to me right? How much I love their colors, prints, history and how they remind me of my favorite place in the world, correct?

Ok, so let’s try to get further in the detail on how to wear them in a completely sustainable way!

First of all the choice of the print: let me tell you that I buy very rarely already sewn pieces because one of the things that I love more is the process of choosing the print and decide what to make with it! There are pictures of me sitting on the floor in a Senegalese market covered of wax fabrics and they represent a very happy moment for me. I want to decide the print based on what I know about them, their history, meaning and how they talk to me for what they represent to my eye and soul. This is how special this moment is for me. I always buy a lot of prints when I travel to Africa, sometimes I do it online (basically on Etsy from a couple of trusted African sellers) but never in Italy: they are too expensive and very often they are not of very good quality. Anyway the first rule is: let it talk to you! Second: buy it from local market sellers, if you can!

Usually when I buy a piece I already have in mind what to do with it: if I enough time when I travel I give it to local tailors (Senegalese are the best: great quality in no time and you will feel so happy because a. your piece is locally sourced and produced; b. you helped to sustain the community. It’s a great feeling, believe me!)

This was not the case for this skirt: locally sourced in Senegal (not from me but from a friend who bought it for me in this case) but locally produced in Italy by the magical hands of Madame Ilary who created a beautiful circle maxi skirt!

Our sustainable piece should then be worn in a sustainable way, for example with an handmade piece (the beautiful Aime-toi Madame by Madame Ilary black tee) and a vintage black leather biker jacket (found in a huge garage sale in Munich for only 15 euros a couple of years ago).

Arabic necklace is handmade as well as all the rings (locally sourced in Peru and handmade by Francesco Tramontano); statement golden bamboo earrings are from Giovanni Raspini (birthday present from my colleagues), blue suede and leather ankle boots are from Ouigal.

The Ladybug racconta una storia piena di Africa e di tessuti wax: vi presento Anna Sumisura!

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Prima delle vacanze di Natale, ho pubblicato un post sui miei canali social in cui vi mostravo una gonna wax molto particolare, frutto di un progetto per cui mi sono appassionata. Il post ha avuto un gran successo e molte di voi mi hanno chiesto informazioni su come averne una. E’ per questo che ho deciso di dedicare un post sul mio blog (in italiano stavolta!) per raccontarvi qualcosa in più sulla mia Dumela (il nome della gonna che, come altre della collezione, porta un nome africano di donna e che significa “essere felici”…già il nome mi ha fatto innamorare!) e su Cristiana Giani, alias Anna Sumisura.

Quando ho conosciuto Cristiana mi hanno colpita di lei le mille cose che avevamo in comune: l’Africa e i suoi coloratissimi tessuti wax (che lei definisce libri da indossare sulla pelle…non potrei essere più d’accordo!), la sartoria (progetti sostenibili che puntano sulla qualità e sul rispetto di chi crea quei tessuti), la passione per un lavoro che non è il nostro lavoro primario ma che da sempre ci spinge a coltivare con impegno ciò che ci rende felici (entrambe lavoriamo in altri settori ma non abbiamo mai abbandonato le nostre passioni!).

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Da tutto questo nasce Anna Sumisura: come me, Cristiana è una grande appassionata di tessuti wax e questo amore per l’Africa e suoi colori stampati l’ha spinta a studiarli per imparare a conoscerli e ad acquistarne da tutto il mondo. Tutta questa ricerca e questi tessuti erano lì, ma come farli diventare un progetto? Ecco che Cristiana inizia a disegnare dei bozzetti e capisce che vuole realizzare gonne, crearle grazie all’aiuto di favolose sarte in grado di curare i dettagli e le rifiniture, e chiamarle con un nome femminile africano. Il mercato oggi è saturo di “creatrici” di moda wax ma Cristiana vuole qualcosa in più: la qualità; non solo dei tessuti che sceglie personalmente ma anche del lavoro: tutti i suoi pezzi sono rifiniti e curati con una grande attenzione al dettaglio e basta guardare la sua pagina Instagram per capire subito la differenza!

In tutto questo però non vi ho ancora detto chi è Anna! Anna è la madre di Cristiana, che lei stessa definisce una delle donne più eleganti che abbia mai conosciuto, con una grande passione per i tessuti di qualità con cui era solita farsi confezionare abiti sartoriali. L’omaggio di Cristiana alla madre è un bellissimo ringraziamento per averla introdotta sin da piccola nel magico modo dei tessuti e della sartoria!

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Oggi Anna Sumisura è un brand giovane, sostenibile, di qualità. Ogni modello viene realizzato con il tessuto scelto dalla cliente (disponibile tra quelli selezionati da Cristiana) e con le sue misure; bastano tre semplici misure (vita, fianchi, lunghezza), nessun bisogno di prove! Ogni gonna è un pezzo unico, un oggetto che valorizza ogni fisicità realizzato a mano da sarte italiane con tessuti africani meravigliosi. E’ così che non solo Cristiana ha voluto valorizzare il prezioso lavoro artigianale che è la sartoria ma allo stesso tempo ha voluto liberare le donne dalla prigione della taglia. Niente più 40, 42, 44, 48 o peggio ancora S, M, L solo le misure sono giuste per ognuna di noi!

Come non innamorarmi di una donna e di un progetto del genere?

Il sito internet è quasi pronto, nel frattempo potete contattare Cristiana tramite instagram (@anna_sumisura) e watshappp: 339/8237338.

Quella che vedete in queste foto è la mia Dumela: ho scelto un tessuto con colori caldi e avvolgenti e con un pizzico di viola che rimane uno dei miei colori preferiti. Il disegno mi ha colpito molto perché mi ha subito ricordato un tessuto con una stampa simile ma colori diversi che avevo trovato in Senegal anni fa ma che poi non avevo più acquistato (e me ne ero pentita!). E’ una gonna estremamente pratica ed elegante allo stesso tempo: rifinita con cura, cade perfettamente e accompagna le curve, insomma è perfetta! Per non parlare del tessuto che sembra seta per quanto è morbido!

L’ho abbinata con una camicia con fiocco vintage anni 80 viola scuro acquistata da Humana Vintage a Torino e un turbante decorato fatto a mano dalla mia adorata Madame Ilary sui toni del fuxia.

Gli stivali beige (favolosi!) sono di Lola Cruz mentre gli orecchini sono anch’essi fatti a mano dalla favolosa Made in Camper.

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The Ladybug found the perfect 80s playsuit!

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I love playsuits, I think they are the sexiest thing to wear…if you are tall, slim and young! I die for the charming shapes of 70s playsuits but after buying many of them and re-selling them all, I understood that maybe I needed to reset my standards. I am not tall, I have a little belly and large waist, how to find a playsuit for me?

The idea of switching from the 70s to the 80s came to my mind when I insisted with my friend that she bought a lovely 80s floral jumpsuit in a vintage shop in Brussels. She is definitely taller and thinner than me but the loose shape of the jumpsuit was perfect for her. I wondered if it could be perfect for me too so I started a long search of the perfect 80s playsuit that could fit me until I found this one from Maison Retrò.

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I loved the color (pale blue) and the floral pattern but even more I loved the super cute collar with such an 80s vintage twist. It was online so I asked for the measurement as I was still worried about the fit. When I realized that it could fit I decided to buy it.

I was so happy when I received my package: not only the color and pattern were even better in real life but I adored the way it fitted!

I wore it immediately during my summer holidays in Sicily, for a night out with my family, pairing it with a yellow African wax headband and golden hoop earrings from Gogo Philip. Golden peep-toe ankle boots are from the Italian brand Fiori Francesi.

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The Ladybug and a summer outfit to say “Welcome back to Milan”!

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In my last post I showed my last Milanese outfit before the beginning of my summer holidays; this is my first Milanese outfit when I came back!

The weather was still nice and I wanted to enjoy the last warm days in town with a very summery outfit! The big piece is my new wonderful African wax skirt: the print is definitely one of my favorite African prints that I call the “coq” print (coq in French means rooster); indeed the pattern is made of roosters, hens, little chicks and eggs! I find it super fun and I really wanted this fabric to create something nice with it!

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I found it on Etsy from a French seller and I immediately ordered mine to give it to Madame Ilary to create a nice skirt for me! She created this beautiful A-line midi skirt with side bow that I adore and, with the scraped fabric she made a lovely shopping bag that I will show you soon!

This is already one of my favorite skirts ever: the print is fantastic and so is the flattering shape!

It is a very eye-catching piece, that’s why I wore it with a simple Asos white tee and Jeffrey Campbell beige caged ankle boots.

My rings are Berber vintage from Morocco and from Francesco Tramontano.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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

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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.

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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 importance of being Angela

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April 2012. I was walking down the streets of Harlem with the biggest excitement caused by the place and all its legacies and meanings; I stopped by to talk to a lovely man selling tees representing people and moments of the African-American culture and history. “What’s your name?” – he asks. “Angela”. “Ah, Angela…like Angela Davis”! He didn’t have a tee with her of my size but he really made my day when he associated my name with hers! “Yes, Like Angela Davis” I said with a big smile.

He didn’t know (but I told him afterwards) that Angela Davis is the second person I am proud of wearing their name (the first one is my grandma) because she is one of the women that I admire most and a true inspiration for me. Sometimes, when I am feeling angry and upset about the political, social and cultural situation of my country I read again what she wrote to find again the force to fight.

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Many of my friends and family know about my love for Angela Davis, including Simona who told me about this beautiful artwork outside the bookstore Les Mots in Milan. We immediately head there to take some pictures and when I saw it, her smiling with her fist up, I immediately thought about her quote: “But there’s a message there for everyone and it is that people can unite, that democracy from below can challenge oligarchy, that imprisoned migrants can be freed, that fascism can be overcome, and that equality is emancipatory”.

It was a coincidence but that day I wore a tee and canvas bag from the talented artist Massira Keita: a wonderful Parisian girl with African origins who makes the most beautiful drawings with an afro twist. When I saw the Syra design, a young woman with a wax turban I fell in love with the style and I got the tee and the bag (and the iPhone case!) that I wore here trying to re-create the same style on me (this was done on purpose, not a coincidence!): military jacket from an old Zara collection, black skinny jeans from Acne Studios, snake silver ankle boots from Divine Follie and wax headwrap from Grazia Ferrari (better known as Gracchia F!). The black round sunglasses were courtesy of Simona to complete the Syra look! I added a personal touch with my silver Nepalese necklace and loop earrings.

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The Ladybug’s best recipe: vintage, handmade and African wax

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There are clothes in my wardrobe for which I have a special love. It happens that when I wear them I feel happy and really myself, but sometimes only by looking at them hanging in my closet they give me the good vibes of the memories that they bring with them.

This beautiful Heka Couture dress handmade with one of my favorite African print (personally picked up in a Dakar market…what a beautiful memory!) is one of these pieces that I love so much: the fabric, the shape (A-line with 3/4 sleeves) the colors, everything is just perfect!

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I wore it on my first Milanese weekend after the summer break (yes, I’m still tanned in these pics!) and I paired it with a beautiful handmade turban by Madame Ilary (one of my favorite turbans from my huge collection!) with a golden palm trees pattern and simple black heels (8 on Yoox).

I added my touch of vintage with my 90s silver hoops and my 60s bamboo bangles (from Ebay!). I completed my arm decoration with a fantastic handcrafted flower bracelet made of shells and raffia that Madame Ilary brought me from her summer holiday in Mallorca.   

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