The Ladybug cherry picking her favorite pieces from Madame Ilary Spring Collection

It’s spring time which means for me an incredible desire of getting dressed nicely and go out, buy some new clothes and make some changes in my wardrobe! Is it like this for you too?

The last two springs, considering the situation, this desire has grown strong: with the first sunny and warm days my first idea was to head up to Madame Ilary show room in Milan and find some new pieces for my spring wardrobe! You know, those pieces who will stay there forever and that you will always love!

For this reason I cherry picked some of my favorite pieces of the new Madame Ilary collection to show you and to add to my wishlist!

My total crush was on the Sartorial Vintage Jackets, an upcycling project that I have already showed you here: vintage blazers and jackets upcycled with a sartorial touch that I adored, created in collaboration with Le Fie Studio. Here I am with my second favorite piece, the navy blazer with bows on the shoulders and brocade decorations…pure love!

But I also fell in love with some new pieces from her most famous culottes and trousers Marlene: the polka-dot culottes in bronze faux leather are perfect for everyday wearing with sneakers but may also be worn dressed up with a silk shirt and high heels! The Marlene trousers are probably the most loved piece from Madame Ilary and maybe her most wanted piece: here I decided to wear a silky cherry version that is perfect for every occasion…and the color is just amazing!

I also fell for a couple of tops that are perfect for this season:

  • Complete crush on the club collar pinstripe shirt: menswear perfectly adapted to womenswear! This shirt was created for Monsieur but I find it amazing also for Madame…what do you think?
  • Tees and sweatshirts are pieces of streetwear that are perfect for the current situation: smart working solutions and casual wear are definitely aligned with the ways we changed our way of dressing in the last year; on the other hand I deeply feel that being casual should not mean being shabby! For this reason I loved the hand-painted tee dedicated to Anna Piaggi and the black sweatshirt “Madame Danse Seule” (Madame dances alone), a sweatshirt with a message!

Last but not least, I added an accessory that I totally loved because it is possible to wear it in many different ways: the bandana “Bandame”: available in different sizes and colors you can wear it as a scarf, a shawl, a pareo and of course as an headwrap in many different ways!

What do you think of my personal selection? One of the things that I realized while shooting these pieces is that all of them can be easily mixed with each other or with your personal wardrobe pieces, which is also the basic idea of a capsule sustainable wardrobe!

Total outfits: Madame Ilary

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The Ladybug on wearing ethical fashion

When I am asked which brands are really ethical my first answer is always the same: handcrafters are the most ethical brands. Many times they don’t even know how important is their job for the sustainability of the planet but I cannot imagine a more ethical brand than an handcrafter or an artisan.

Their small production is often on demand then they really know how to avoid overproduction; they carefully choose the most natural sources, which gives quality and sustainability to their products; they produce our clothes and accessories themselves, sometimes with the help of other workers in a very transparent way and without exploitation of people and resources.

I loved what Gaia Segattini said one day about sustainability in fashion: being sustainable as an handcrafter is easy because artisans are sustainable by default, but the real sustainable ones are those who pay their taxes and their providers and workers respecting deadlines and personal needs.

Of course there are more sustainable brands in the world and I have already showed you how to find them (here) but today I want to give you an example of what we can do to support them: just buy from them and reward them for what they do for us and for the planet!

I want to give you an example of an outfit created with pieces from an handcrafter and an ethical brand.

The outfit that I am wearing is: 1. handmade by Madame Ilary, in particular the lovely trousers and turban (I love the combo!) in a floral precious pattern in blue and dark pink that I adore! I paired the combo with 2. a broderie anglaise ivory blouse from the French brand Sézane, one of my favorite ethical brands ever! Rings and earrings are also handmade by amazing handcrafters!

PS. The shoes are second hand from Miu Miu, maybe not necessarily an ethical brand but definitely a piece that I bought used and that I have worn for almost ten years now!

What are your favorite ethical brands? Feel free to share them!

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The Ladybug’s Tangerine (sustainable) love

Sometimes I like writing about sustainability and vintage related topics to try to better analyze them; other times I just love to share examples of sustainable outfits that I wear to show how I practice what I say and how easy it can be to embrace a new different lifestyle regarding fashion.

It is the case of this set of pictures, taken some time ago, during a short moment of relax and “free time” in 2020 (free meaning free from lockdowns) in one of my favorite parks in Milan.

As usual I am wearing a sustainable outfit, made of vintage, handmade and very old pieces (+ a little fast fashion piece that I am still wearing!):

  • Vintage: it is easy to understand which piece is the vintage one…of course the tangerine 80s jumpsuit, an amazing piece from London Corner Vintage that I loved at first sight!
  • Handmade: both my headscarf and my necklace are handmade from small business. The first one is a handmade (in England) scarf in soft rust gauze and it can be worn as a scarf or of course as a headwrap! The second one is a beautiful necklace, made with love by the amazing Paola Brunello of Rossocuore, one of my favorite Italian brands because of its story and the story that she tells through her pieces. First of all, the story of the traveler Nelly, inspired by the American journalist Nelly Bly. The piece that I am wearing here is not related to the Nelly collection but it is still a beautiful piece made with attention to detail and quality materials by Paola. It represents a lotus flower, which is also my favorite flower for its meaning and for what it symbolizes;
  • Old pieces: the shoes that I am wearing here are a very old pair of sandals from Miu Miu: I have them since the year 2000 and I love them so much that I keep repairing them and I will wear them until they will decide to leave me for good! They are beautiful, comfortable, match every outfit but…hey! I am realizing now that you cannot see them!! LOL
  • Fast Fashion piece: I paired my jumpsuit with one of my very last fast fashion buys 3 years ago. I still remember that day in a Mango shop how I felt uncomfortable. Even if I had a compulsive shopping session I think it was my very last one. All the pieces that I bought that day (this belt, a dress and two jackets) are still in my wardrobe and I will try to make them last as much as possible!

PS: as you know my other jewelry pieces are always vintage or handmade!

Is it a sustainable outfit that you would wear? Let me know how you feel about it!

The Ladybug on the cost of handmade fashion

When I discuss sustainable fashion and present handmade fashion as a good alternative to make our closet as much sustainable as possible, I am often said that handmade fashion is expensive.

In my opinion the real point is that many things are expensive, but not all of them are worthy. Let me explain this in a different way: luxury fashion is expensive but is it really always worth it? Is it always a guarantee of quality and production transparency? Is it always correct and justifiable?

Not everything that is expensive has an expensive production cost; sometimes a product is expensive because the same fact that it has a high price makes it more covetable and desirable. I am not saying that luxury fashion brands prices are never justified, not at all. Many times they are, just sometimes they are not.

Also, when a piece is mass produced, it is very easy for brands to reduce the price per unit produced as the different production costs are amortized by the highest production volumes. Also, more and more often big enterprises producing luxury goods relocate production activities in countries where the costs are incredibly lower even if the final selling price remains high.

This is not the case of handmade fashion, made locally by small business or even one person who produces and sells and bears all the costs that are not reduced or amortized by high production volumes.

The example that I am sharing here is the Frida dress created by Madame Ilary because somehow I directly “lived” its production with Ilaria.

First of all, only two pieces of it were created, just two sizes. Ilaria found the fabric online from an historical Roman fabric seller, very well known for the choice of only great quality materials. Quality materials are expensive. Fact.

During the week of production, yes it took one entire week to physically create it, I was often at her atelier and saw the different stages of the creation. How much is an employee paid for a week of work? Creation has exactly the same price in terms of responsibility and attention to production than in any other job. Please consider that I did not see the preparation of the paper pattern for example, which took almost a month!

Fixed costs for rental payment of the lab and all the associated bills, as well as rented or leased material for the creation must be considered too, as well as taxes for those who legally produce!

I didn’t even mention one of the most sustainable advantages at all: we know EXACTLY who made our clothes and in which conditions as we can see them ourselves. Most of the times they are families, friends, people who we know by name, who live near us, who invested all their time, money and passion in what they are doing. Isn’t it amazing from a buyer point of view? Total transparency of production, real slow fashion in its purest form!

But what fascinates me most is the idea of buying an artist’s idea, of making mine his/her view and imagination, his/her priceless quality work and attention to every single detail of the product. It’s like buying a painting after all, isn’t it? Imagination and ideas come from life experiences, study, observation reshaped in the artist mind with the artist view, is there anything more creative and personal than this?

When I say that buying from an handcrafter is buying real uniqueness this is what I mean. But uniqueness, quality, artistic imagination and reshaping on the final product IS expensive. And these costs are most of the times fully justified and justifiable as I try to explain here.

So instead of saying that handmade fashion is expensive, why don’t we try to buy less, to prefer quality, art, design, unique experiences instead of mass market homologated ideas?

Quality is positively addictive, once you try it you don’t settle for less. Maybe it could be the key to save our poor planet from mass production and in the end also to save money. Yes because are you sure that you spend less buying 20 poor quality pieces in fast fashion shops instead of one or two from handmade creators? I am not sure at all….

Photo Credit: Madame Ilary (as well as the total outfit, completely made with her own imagination).

The Ladybug’s Open Minded Reflection: Remember Vintage in Brescia

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I think that I traveled around Italy enough to say that I have visited almost all the vintage fairs around the country.  Still, I am really happy to tell you that it is refreshing to find new and surprising events every now and then!

A fresh vintage wind came the second weekend of March in the way of the Remember Vintage event in Brescia, in the amazing location of Villa Fenaroli in Rezzato.

I expected to know everyone and to find more or less the same sellers and meet lovely friends that I’ve known during my trips around the country but… surprise! I didn’t know anyone and… surprise! I made a lot of new friends in the vintage and retro inspired handmade world!

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As I said before this was totally refreshing: I realized that most of the sellers came from the area near Brescia, and it was great to learn that there is a whole world of vintage sellers and collectors, handmade artists and very rare pieces in this beautiful place between here and there!

I had a blast with my friends that afternoon and we enjoyed the sun, the location (absolutely fantastic!) and the great vintage exposed!

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I also bought a little present for myself: a beautiful handmade necklace made of buttons from “Le Cosine di Pape,” a lovely talented artist with plenty of nice handcrafted things that made it hard for me to pick only one! Near her another talented retro inspired artist, “Lanicodellemeraviglie,” who makes amazing head pieces and to whom I will certainly ask to create a custom piece… yet again, too many things that I liked and among which I couldn’t decide!!

The only person that I knew was my lovely Alessia Bee… a busy bee that day, as she was overbooked making beautiful vintage inspired hairdos and make-ups! I couldn’t do it again for myself, but I saw some of her creations around the Villa Fenaroli and they were top, as usual!

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I also found some very interesting rare pieces that I photographed to share with you and to help you understand how interesting this fair was… I will certainly return for the editions to come!

One more thing… don’t forget that vintage always finds a way to surprise you… you could just turn around the corner and find some amazing vintage piece waiting for you without prejudices or preconceptions. This is what I learned at Remember Vintage the other day!

I wore an H&M dress, Patrizia Pepe red coat, Liu-Jo ankle boots, Michael Kors bucket bag and a beautiful handmade tartan turban from Madame Ilary (

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The Ladybug Blesses the Union of Craft Love: The Alliance of Make Thrift London and Handmade by You

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I think it was last December when I received an email from my lovely friend Daisy giving me a lot of news about her life: love, work, family, many things were going on, and I was thrilled about how she took her life in her hands and made things happen.

If you don’t know who Daisy is let me tell you: I love this girl for many reasons that I won’t list here, but one of them is her artistic side: Daisy is indeed the beautiful director of Make Thrift London and she is a wonderful handcrafter. I’ve seen many of her creations and I have always been amazed by her fantasy and talent. This is the reason why I got very excited when she told me that she was going to join Alice, the girl behind Handmade by You, whom I already knew as a talented crafter and events’ planner.

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You can find them at Alfies Antiques Market in their adorable studio where their art and talent is exposed everywhere! And this is exactly what I did on my first day in London.

The studio represents the girls very well: there is creativity, talent, smart recycling and upcycling, vintage, antiques, London are everywhere.  Still, you also feel at home because they’ve recreated a warm atmosphere where you can drink a tea while shopping or sewing or creating at one of their workshops, or craft parties (as they call them)!  And here’s the kicker; Alice and Daisy don’t only sell what they create, they also organize different kinds of workshops to teach us how to be better crafters; for example on the night that I arrived I missed a very interesting make up lesson on how to make a perfect eye-line.  But they’ve also done presentations on how to create elderflower cordial and how to make a mini-protest banner!

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From millinery to cooking, from sewing to makeup, from jewels to homeware- it is fun to start learning how to craft! Also a craft party is a great idea for hen parties (bachelorette parties), birthdays, baby showers and every social event where you want to do something different, fun and useful!

I loved this place and I was amazed by its warmth… but I know that the magic of it comes from the magic of its wonderful hosts and their awesome smile and passion!

Visit their site to know more about them and their recurring craft parties.

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The Ladybug Rates the Best Christmas Markets in Milan: part 2

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In my Christmas research for the best markets in town, I took a strong decision this year: I decided to skip the annual Christmas edition of Il Circo delle Pulci at the Palazzo del Ghiaccio (where I went last year and enjoyed VERY much –  read that post here!).

Jokes aside, I decided to head to the Moto Quartiere to see a very interesting Market called Green Christmas at the charming Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia. The idea of the market was awesome: only handcraft, natural and handmade products- a real eco-market with a primary propose that didn’t present unobtainalbe examples of sustainable lifestyle, but in-fact proposed more natural and ecologically thoughtful choices for Christmas presents. Unique pieces for our friends and family with the plus of being eco-friendly…isn’t it a great idea?

There I bought a lovely present for my sister and she appreciated it a lot!

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Inside the big court of this wonderful former bronze foundry of the XIX century (now a museum in the middle of the Isola area in Milan) there was a lovely surprise… Let’s say a market in the market: the Spazio Mercury, with the aim of giving new life to used objects instead of wasting them, organized a small garage sale with clothing, accessories and memorabilia of every kind!

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During my day in the area I couldn’t help stopping for some good tea at Dammann (the fantastic French tea boutique) and I could finally shop in a beautiful temporary shop called A Second Chance Vintage (yes, it made me think of the homonymous shop in New York, even if in this case the word vintage was a bit misleading as all the designer pieces come from catwalks and photo-shoots reaching back to only the last 5 – 10 years) where I found this beautiful pair of Strategia boots, almost new, for a quarter of their original price! I was also falling for a wonderful pair of Giuseppe Zanotti purple boots, but I chose to be honest with myself and admit that I would have used the brown booties a bit more!

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The Ladybug Rates the Best Christmas Markets in Milan: part 1


December is, of course, the month of Christmas markets. Everywhere around Milan you can find all kinds of handcraft, vintage, food and little markets where you can get ready for your Christmas gifting or just enjoy music, food and a lovely atmosphere: from grunge, to rock to BCBG… you can really find a lot of stuff in town, for every style and pocket.

I went around extensively the first weekend of December to spot the most interesting markets to share with you (I won’t mention the very disappointing ones!) so you too can visit next year, if you happen to missed this time around.

Even if I enjoyed it a lot last year, I decided to avoid the Artigiano in Fiera this year and go for more local and small markets, hoping for less crowds!


The last Saturday of November was such a cold and rainy day that getting warm and cozy inside little markets was for sure one of my best ideas of the day. I started at the Fondaco market: a bit pricey I must say, but for a good cause. This market, with a lot of handmade original and interesting pieces, aimed to give more home assistance to terminally ill people. It wasn’t really my style, but there were some cool pieces in this big market.



After a Mexican lunch I headed to Supermarket, a space created by Spazio Venduto, in the Navigli area with a completely different atmosphere: two floors of handmade, vintage, music, art and food with a more rock/indie young atmosphere that I appreciated quite a bit… very cool pieces coming mostly from handcrafters  or small vintage collectors.



The last stop of my Saturday was my favorite market of the day: It’s Time for Christmas, a lovely indie market with my favorite stallers of the day like Lovever (a beautiful concept store completely dedicated to Love) and the adorable Atelassé who creates vintage pins from comics or newspapers. I got my first buy of the day at her stand: I got myself a personalized Lamù pin and two more pins (one with my adored Mafalda and the other with a London map) to add to my collection for my new “handmade by me” headpiece (…give me some time, hopefully it will one day be revealed!).


On Sunday I headed to my favorite market of the weekend; the Lekker Market, a special Christmas edition with a lot of design, vintage, home-ware, handcraft, music, food in a lovely atmosphere.


I found two (actually, four) of my favorite female handmade artists and I couldn’t help buying things from them.

First stop: the beautiful handmade turbans of Sine Modus: it took a while to choose one, but with Chiara’s help I went for this beautiful iridescent blue turban.



Second stop: the two lovely Israeli Natalies of Oh la la Milano with their amazing jewelry… it took some time there too, but in the end- I picked these two lovely bracelets from their handmade collection.



See you next week with more Christmas markets in Milan to visit next year!

The Ladybug Takes a Gander at the ’50s: Front and Center at the Une Nouvelle Vie Catwalk in Milan

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This story starts last summer, during my visit to the Summer Jamboree in Senigallia: one night, while walking among the crowded streets of the city center, a lovely stall that sold Besame Cosmetics caught my eye. I was so surprised to see this in Italy that I had to stop and talk to the lovely blonde lady who was selling it among amazing ’50s dresses and accessories. This is how I met Antonella, the soul of Une Nouvelle Vie: we started chatting about our passion for vintage, especially the American style style of the ’50s, her trip to the States fifteen years ago and how she fell in love with this vintage era. We enjoyed our conversation so much that we decided to keep in touch and meet again.

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I, indeed, got very excited when she invited me to the catwalk she prepared for her temporary exposition at the beautiful Spazio Epicuro in Milan. Une Nouvelle Vie will be exposing and selling her beautiful creations at this lovely venue until the 31st of December, and to celebrate that she organized a beautiful catwalk with an aperitivo last Thursday.

Let me tell you, straight away, that I was very impressed with the location: Spazio Epicuro is a cultural center where creativity, fashion and quality meet in one place. Two floors of expos of different talented artists (I also spotted Colazione Da – the bakelite artist! – creations!) and a special vintage corner on the -1 floor.

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I enjoyed the catwalk very much and for many reasons:

First of all the clothes and accessories, sometimes recreated from vintage patterns, were all done with great attention to quality and detail. The amazing mix of vintage and retro inspired, ’50s pinup and classy “Mad Men-ish” woman really amazed me! At some point I realized that I wanted them all!

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From work-wear to cocktail dresses, the woman that the atelier Une Nouvelle Vie presented is classy and sexy, glamorous and creative, ironic and fussy all at the same time.

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Part of this success also comes from the models on the catwalk: mostly friends and customers of the atelier who represented perfectly the beauty of the awesome average woman, the same woman that Antonella wants to dress. “I want to dress and make happy every femininity and body shape,” she declared. Beautifully styled by Antonella’s stage hand (who also took care of hairdos and makeup), the models gave good life to the creations.

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For more information you can visit Une Nouvelle Vie site:

You can see a couple pictures that we took during the show here. But you can see them all on our Facebook pages by tomorrow. Don’t forget to have a look and give us a LIKE!

For the occasion I wore Everybody’s Buying Vintage vintage blouse, Zara pencil skirt and XC-Xacaret platform shoes. I added a patent black clutch from Dappa Boutique (one of my favorite vintage boutiques in London) and an handmade retro inspired fascinator by the London designer Emin & Paul.

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The Ladybug Becomes the Ringmaster: Il Circo delle Pulci in Milan (Circus Station)

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The Circo delle Pulci in Milan is now on the list of my favorite recurring events in Milan: I always love their locations, atmosphere and sellers even if sometimes I still have something to say about the pricing… I know, it’s my regular complaint but believe me; I hate when stallers overprice their beauties, especially when it comes to vintage.

This time the location for the event was the former train depot of Porta Genova, where the Circus Train stopped for a beautiful event in a dark surreal atmosphere where food, creativity, handmade goods, vintage and music mixed in a perfect combination!

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The fun and great decorations were part of the game and I thoroughly enjoyed the circus atmosphere that reigned all over the place! This time there were a bit more handmade goods and handcrafts. And the Italian DaWanda site (the biggest European platform dedicated to handmade) was launched with grand pageantry- offering discounts to those who registered for the circus. If you have never tried you should definitely have a look as you may find real beautiful and unique handmade pieces.


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I also bought a lovely ring from Buttons, the lovely stall of Cristina Rastelli, who creates beautiful jewels from vintage buttons: I fell in love with this beautiful silver ring with an oval white button, so I couldn’t resist!

I must say that it was hard to resist the food too: our friends from Vintage Bakery were there with their delicious cupcakes and the local cuisine (yes, I mean polenta and gorgonzola!!) was present too. And of course… liters of beer!

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For the day I wore a white vintage ’80s cardigan with lapin and small pearls (from Deuda Vintage at the Padova Vintage Festival) as a jacket, black Zara top and shorts with Max & Co. black riding boots. I added a black clutch from Topshop and a vintage emerald green hat from Humana Vintage in Milan.

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