The Ladybug and the White Shirt, the story continues: discovering Balossa SS2016 collection at White Trade Show

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During the Milan Fashion Week one of my favorite stop-overs is the White Trade Show: I love this place not only because it gives you a forward-looking idea of what will be on next year but mostly because you discover many new interesting brands. In fact when I get back home I have my bag full of business cards and I spend a lot of time online to visit sites, Facebook and Instagram pages!

​But it is also an occasion to visit some of my favorite brands and to see which surprise they prepared for my little happy eyes! It was the case of my adored Balossa White Shirt, one of my favorite brands ever (especially because they have wonderful handmade shirts, that I adore, but this you already know!) founded by the talented designer Indra Kaffemanaite, who presented the new SS2016 collection a few weeks ago at White Trade Show in Milan.

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As usual it was a pleasure to meet Indra because she is such a sweetheart and she takes a lot of time explaining every single piece with such a passion that you feel like falling in love every time she takes a new shirt from the hanger. But I have to say that the 2016 Spring Summer collection managed to amaze me maybe even more than the last one, when I first met her. The beautiful shirts of this collection reach a new level of deconstruction leading to new experiments and breaking the rules in a totally unexpected way. Balossa plays with volumes and lines creating real art sculptures with surprising details: cut-outs, draperies, asymmetries and the most original detail, sleeves and collars everywhere except where you expect to find them! You can find sleeves as belts or pussy bows, collars as pockets (or inside pockets) or as details all along the shirt, shirts as dresses or jackets: the freedom of creativity is strong and refreshing. Eccentricity becomes sensual and bold at the same time.

Every Balossa shirt is a statement piece!

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The shirts of this collection are made with selected Italian cotton, so that they are soft and fresh (a real pleasure to wear) with a touch of sheer every now and then. White is the main color but the new shades of blue and pale pink are perfect for summer (I am really in love with the blue shade, very hard to find and extremely sexy).

I am not surprised that during the White Trade Show, Balossa received the Inside White award from Izumi Ogino, designer of the maison Anteprima. She chose Balossa because of their shapes, cuts and volumes that represent a perfect mix of Italian and Japanese styles. I can’t agree more with her!

I try to show you some of my favorite pieces here but believe me, it was very hard to pick up only a few of them!

For the day I wore a Balossa asymmetric white shirt, of course!, with Acne Studios skinny jeans, vintage Escada yellow shoes from Epiphany vintage and thrift store in Frankfurt, handmade African earrings and Balenciaga bag.

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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 Rallies the Army of White Shirts (“La camicia bianca secondo me”, G. Ferré)

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For how surprising as it may seem, I am not a huge fan of fashion exhibits: most times I leave them with a huge sense of disappointment. Maybe because the perfection I see within “style” is very hard to find nowadays, maybe I’m too nostalgic about an era that I will never live or I just feel that I could never wear these pieces in my life; whatever it is, I can’t explain it… But still, I go to fashion expos and mostly because I simply won’t begrudge the invitation in hopes of an exceptional case of true “fashion.” The exhibit held in Palazzo Reale, “ La camicia Bianca secondo me” (the White Shirt in my opinion), was a sort of anthology of the white shirts designed by Gianfranco Ferré, and this ladies and gentlemen, was one of those exceptional cases.

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Ok; maybe I didn’t leave with this slight sense of nostalgic disappointment, but it was really worth a visit.

When you enter the wonderful Sala delle Cariatidi and see this twenty-seven white pieces standing like soldiers in the dark- illuminated with white lights you can immediately feel a sense of excitement for what you are going to see. And it is just the beginning: every piece tells a story of magic. It is really hard for me to explain with words what I saw and what I felt. As I read somewhere online “It is here that taffetas, crepe of China, organza, satin, tulle, cotton, silk come in succession in an emotional crescendo that leads to ecstasy.”

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As I am not good enough with words to describe these wonderful creations, I thought that sharing some of my pictures might help!

The white shirt is maybe the most representative piece in Gianfranco Ferré’s fashion career. The sophisticated white shirt quickly became his personal signature in fashion design: in every collection he created one or more pieces that, even representing the fil rouge that linked his work with the Italian sartorial tradition, expressed the exciting challenge of breaking the rules, exaggerating the details in quite an architectural way (Ferré was indeed an architect and he was dubbed “the architect of fashion”).

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On the sides were all of the materials from the archive of the Fondazione Ferré, including original sketches, projects and phptographs from the runaways and fashion magazines.

For the occasion I wore a vintage white shirt from Vintage Divas Store in Ljubljana, Replay grey jeans, Topshop animal print coat, Tosca Blu ankle boots and my small Balenciaga bag. I added a handmade black headpiece by Madame Ilary from my turban collection.

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The Ladybug’s Colorful Bullfighting Adventure: The Bull, The Cape and Kandisnky

The Ladybug Chronicles-Kandinsky 05 A more recent museum story is about my visit to the Vassily Kandinsky expo in Milan at the Palazzo Reale. I was very excited about this expo as I am a huge fan of Kandinsky’s work and let me tell you- I wasn’t disappointed at all.

As the father of Abstraction, the feeling expressed through colors is absolutely amazing! It was a “long” visit, not only because more than eighty pieces arrived from the Centre Pompidou, but also because the best experience about his work is stopping in front of each painting and allowing the colors to move and involve you. It’s a unique and suggestive experience!

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Walking away from this expo I felt my artistic soul had been well fed, but still able to digest more… I didn’t have enough! (I am already planning a trip to Vercelli to see another Kandinsky expo!) All the pieces are exposed in chronological order, defining the different eras of his career and different painting influences. But believe me when I tell you that almost every piece is a surreal experience that touches all your senses.

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For the occasion I wore a very special vintage piece: it is a military green cape that my lovely boss offered me as she didn’t use it anymore. It came from her family collection, so it was important to her. No need to tell you that the cape found a nice new home where it is beloved by its new owner! I paired it with & Other Stories hat, Sam Edelman ankle boots (my new favorite!), small Balenciaga bag and dotted tights from Topshop.

PS: Believe it or not, this was my first turn on the famous bull of the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery in Milan! LOL

[Photo Credit: KNAGUI]

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The Ladybug Considers Her Own Portrait While Visiting the “Il volto del 900 expo” at Palazzo Reale, Milan

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It seems my theme lately is about my museum visits.  I feel like Ben Stiller telling you of my nights at the museum: this time it’s my visit to the Palazzo Reale’s Expo “Il Volto del 900. Da Matisse a Bacon” (The Portrait of the XX Century: from Matisse to Bacon) in February.

Again another great expo in Milan, and again I was not really into going to see it, I am not a fan of portraits, but the look and the perspective given by the expo was completely different from what I expected.

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More than 80 portraits and self-portraits arrived from the Centre Pompidou to present the evolution of the art of portraits during the XX century and how it changed based on the arrival of photography, psychoanalysis and the annulation of human identity due to wars and totalitarian regimes.

And as the face represents the door to the human being, the artists used their own and others to try to represent not only the person, but also to narrate the human soul in many different ways.

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Picasso, Matisse, Bacon, Modigliani, Giacometti, Dalì, Magritte, all the biggest ones’ contributions were exposed, but as usual I locked my eyes on my own personal favorites:

I adored Kupka’s portrait of the young woman putting on lipstick and Tamara de Lempicka’s Kizette portrait, as well as Raysse’s woman portrait and the very modern portrait of Noel McGhie by Rancillac.

For the occasion I wore an American Apparel long skirt, Asos aran cardigan, Topshop animal print coat. I paired it with Sam Edelman ankle boots, Balenciaga bag and vintage necklace and felt hat (my latest hat from Humana Vintage).

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The Ladybug’s Secret Recipe to Spice Up Work Wear: Kentucky Fried Vintage

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How many of you work in an office all day? And when I say office, I mean a corporate office where we all must look the same?

Those of you who do may know how hard it is to have your own style in a place where we are supposed to wear uniforms: dark tones suits rule these offices where standing out is quite a sin!

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I’m not going to wear sneakers or ripped jeans- not even on casual Fridays, but I always try to have a little something that says something about me everyday: a colored vintage pussybow shirt for example, or a statement jewel or accessory.

I decided to share my “uniform” today by taking pictures during my lunch break, just to show you how I revived my black suit and white shirt: I decided to add something vintage, something funny and of course, something red!

Something vintage: hats are my passion (and a need!) in winter, so I use them a lot… this original vintage bowler hat comes from Portobello’s Market in London and it adds a rock/retro touch that I adore!

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Something funny: you must know that I love bow-ties right? I have tons and I use them very often: their retro/funny look represents me so well! I got this Kentucky Colonel Bow-tie from Swagger & Swoon, one of my favorite online bow-ties sellers! They’re all vintage inspired and their patterns are to die-for!

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Something red: Red lips, what else?! This Kiko red lipstick is one of my favorite shades and it perfectly suit my ’70s inspired Patrizia Pepe red coat!

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Blazer and shirt: Zara

Trousers: Max & Co

Coat: Patrizia Pepe

Bowler Hat: Vintage

Bow-tie: Swagger & Swoon

Boots: Rag & Bone

Bag: Balenciaga

Rings: Vintage + Eye ring Crazy Pig Designs London

[photo credit: KNAGUI]

Is It a Shy Ladybug that I See or a Fierce Leopon?

This is just a quick post to share some pictures of my outfit for the Garage Sale of last Saturday…

Well it’s not a proper “outfit post” since you can’t see what I’m wearing under my coat, so let’s say that I just liked the pictures that Sara took of me that day!

It was quite a frigid afternoon and I decided to wear my retro inspired Topshop animal print fax fur coat, with my Primark (wanna-be-Chanel) pumps. What you can’t see is that I’m also wearing a thrifted dark grey sweater with loads of pearls on it and an American Apprel dark grey skirt!

I brought my Marc by Marc Jacobs canvas tote to put my new finds in it and as for my Balenciaga… you will know more in my next post!!

Hair and Makeup…? Absolutely natural and carefree! I also thought my lion locks matched very well my leopard coat!

(Photo Credit: Sara M)