The Ladybug is a modern 80s child

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I don’t buy only vintage. I’d love to but I find it too complicated and every now and then I am tempted by fast fashion and high street labels as well as designer.

Nevertheless I realize that even when I don’t buy vintage I always buy vintage inspired pieces that I love to mix with original ones to create my own personal vintage mixed outfits!

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It was the case when I bought this maxi camel jumper from H&M:I loved so much the 80s oversized flare that I bought it two sizes bigger just to exaggerate it!

I paired it with a black pencil skirt from Zara and original 90s slouchy boots from Max&Co. To complete the 80s look I added a pair of handmade “3/4 moon” brass earrings from my adored Metalica Creazioni.

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The Ladybug Feels at Home at Sofia Vintage in Como

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Two weeks ago I told you about the party for the Gloook opening in Como and guess what? It opened just a few steps from my adored vintage shop Sofia Vintage, so as you can imagine I couldn’t help heading in to see what’s new and say hi to Roberta and her crew!

It is amazing how incredibly at home I feel in this place: it’s an atmosphere that you can breathe, feel and bask in because it looks more like a home than a shop. There are books, sofas, a sewing machine, a wardrobe and all the things that you usually find in a house- plus there is always something to drink or eat like in the home of any perfect host.

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But this feeling doesn’t come just from the furniture and location, it originates mostly from the warmth of those who “live” there, beginning with Roberta, the owner and founder of Sofia Vintage, who also serves as “the host” of this beautiful house!

Many new arrivals from Roberta’s trips around the world were there, and I couldn’t help having a look and buying some new vintage stuff… like this lovely ’40s white hat that I can’t wait to wear!

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It’s also always nice to hear her stories about her trips to the States (where most of her pieces come) and to get some tips from her on vintage hunting especially in New York!

Outfit: Anymoore jacket, H&M faux leather midi skirt, ASOS blouse, Marni sandals, Sofia Vintage bag

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The Ladybug is All About Eco-friendly Design: The Opening of Gloook in Como

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A few weeks ago I was invited to the opening of a very special concept store in Como. I already knew of the brand because it was already one of my favorite shops in town, but when I heard about a new concept store opening in the lovely historic via Vitani- I got all excited and curious to see what it was all about.

The brand I’m referring to is Gloook, the Italian brand of eco-friendly design that proposes a new way to decorate our homes in a very sustainable way: you can find objects and home-ware mostly created in paper, all handmade in Italy, with great attention to detail and creativity.

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In addition to their displayed offerings, you can also choose to get a customized object or piece. Because Gloook works with Italian and international designers and architects at their disposal, they can make you happy with what you need to decorate your house- giving special attention to your environment. The keyword is recycling and creating with sustainable materials!

I love that more and more people are choosing a more natural lifestyle; moreover, I love that they don’t need to renounce creativity, functionality and innovation to achieve their personal perfection.

No need to tell you that I would have bought half of the shop. I already imagined many pieces in my house (you can see many of them my pictures here)!

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New Eventi Como, which organized the opening, put on quite the block party on via Vitani. It felt very much like the LA scene complete with paparazzi.  And of course, I was just a few steps from Sofia Vintage, so I couldn’t help heading in… but I will tell you more about that next week!

For the occasion I wore Anymoore jacket, H&M faux leather skirt, ASOS blouse and my adored Marni wooden platform sandals (which almost caused an incident on the small stones of via Vitani… in other words, I nearly took a loss in the middle of the shop!). I accessorized the outfit with my vintage bag from Sofia Vintage, a lovely gift from Roberta for her store opening in September.

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The Ladybug and Her Comics Hero-icon: A Journey Through the Secrets of Valentina

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Who’s that girl?  That would be me from a few years ago.  I rocked the hell out of this sexy bob! I thought I knew all there was to know about the inspiration behind it, but I found out the influence was far greater than the eye can see.

The beautiful expo dedicated to the work of famous graphic writer Guido Crepax wasn’t only about “Valentina,” but let’s be honest… she’s his most significant creation and represents his work more than any other female that he’s penciled. Belinda, Anita, Francesca and Bianca are nothing compared to the allure and character of Valentina. Her lovely French bob and her model shaped body mixed with her charming style and her elegant eroticism made her the biggest heroine ever drawn by Guido Crepax.

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Inspired by his wife and the famous silent cinema actress Louise Brooks, who was also a photographer, Valentina quickly became an icon of fashion and of course, the dream of most of Italian men!

A beautiful expo in Milan celebrated this productive and amazing cartoonist from June through September 2013, and it was one of my favorite expos of this year.  A lot of pieces from his personal belongings, drawings, album covers, magazine illustrations, short movies and many other unique pieces showed for the first time thanks to his children- who also created some pieces for the occasion. Ten rooms of the Palazzo Reale were used to try to recreate his work and life ten years after his death.  And of course, there was a special focus on Valentina.

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I’ve truly loved her since I was a young girl, but I was so amazed when I realized, during this expo, how much she was linked to the haute couture and design of the era.  In many drawings you can find her wearing Dior or YSL pieces that, in fact, are now vintage. To further my wonderment, I learned that she also “featured” famous design pieces of the era and that she was inspired by the fashion of the time. Couple that with her (which in all actuality was his) relationship and deep love for Milan and photography and you’ll understand why I was totally in awe!

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For the occasion I wore a striped Topshop cropped top and a pleated navy H&M skirt.

I added one of my favorite vintage handbags, a wonderful nearly new navy bag bought in Reggio Emilia during my visit in town, and a pair of L.K. Bennett espadrilles.

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At the end of the journey, I joined the chorus of women who over the past few decades ring out the mantra, “I wanna be like Valentina!!!”

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The Ladybug Visit’s Her First Padova Vintage Festival

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This year has been full of vintage firsts for me. A few weeks ago I visited the Padova Vintage Festival for the first time and much like the Summer Jamboree in Senigallia, it was full of vintage lovers and people with lots of knowledge of vintage. It was so refreshing and surprising at the same time.

I mean, it’s understandable that you meet people at the Jamboree who are deep seeded vintage aficionados because of it’s long and successful history, but I’m a bit ashamed to say that I prepared to go to Padova Vintage Festival, which began in 2010, with a bit of prejudice. But in two short years it’s amazing how profound and successful it’s become.

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Padua is a wonderful town (I had time to have a look around in the city center and I really liked it!), and the location of the Festival makes it absolutely comfortable to reach. But the location itself is absolutely lovely: the agora, which sits in the center of it all, is surrounded by arches and the upper level has a lot of space and a lovely view of what’s happening in the “market’s area of the village.”

With that said, I had the chance to meet some of my favorite stallers (and to buy from them, of course!) and some new entries that I was pleased to meet. Coming into contact with familiar people and familiar items made me understand the key of their success, and it is this: their staff and their attention to marketing and details. Going to the Padova Vintage Festival was a different experience, even if the actors of the movie were the same… because of all the Chantilly cream, everything looked much more fresh. There were models dressed in vintage, a fashionable public, every genre of vintage was represented, some alternative celebrities, a beautifully well decorated location and, of course, a queue outside the doors!  It was “the place to be.”

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And it worked! There was a lot of marketing and maybe a bit less spontaneity, but the result was interesting.  As for the prices I won’t complain: some exaggerations of course – as usual – but the average pricing was cool.

I was really curious about going there especially since I couldn’t go last year and, although it was a bit more commercial than my tastes usually go for, I really enjoyed my day there and my shopping of course!!

A.N.G.E.L.O, Shabby Chic, Dorotea Vintage, Oggetti Smarriti, Magnifica Preda, Stondo, Lamù Vintage and many other old “vintage friends” were there, but it was also time to meet new friends like the vintage collector Lorenzo Chiti from Deuda Vintage (from whom I bought this lovely vintage cardigan!)

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If the market owned the agora, the upper level was almost completely dedicated to vintage through another wonderful expo. A.N.G.E.L.O brought his vintage Missoni collection, but there were also amazing antique suitcases and travel bags from Arte Viaggi or a real vintage barber shop (there will be a nice surprise about it soon on the blog!).

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For the occasion I was almost completely dressed in vintage: vintage green silk dress from Humana Vintage, ASOS cardi and socks, lovely brogues from Shoegasm in NYC, H&M skinny belt, vintage leather bag from the Vintage Workshop in Milan the week before and a lovely fascinator from Camomilla in Milan.

Other finds of the day:  gorgeous French vintage glasses from Oggetti Smarriti

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Amazing orange “witch-hat” from Stondo Firenze

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And… of course… a logoed Vintage Festival canvas tote to put all my new finds in it!

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The Ladybug Goes Malian in Milan: A Night in Beautiful Africa with Rokia Traoré

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When I think of Rokia Traoré I remember exactly how I first “met” her: I was in Brussels, Belgium, winter 2004. I went to a Media Center and decided to get some CDs of artists that I didn’t know. I picked up her CD “Wanita” and I listened to it that same night. I was captured by her voice and sound and since that day I haven’t stopped following her.

For those of you who don’t know her, Rokia Traoré is a Malian singer, guitarist and songwriter and she is one of the most representative voices of the African continent. But her music goes over the barriers of a continent or a language. As the daughter of a diplomat, she’s traveled around the world. And her life, just as her music, has been influenced from different cultures and sounds.

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You cannot call her an “ethnic” singer: she goes from jazz (her version of Billie Holiday’s “Gloomy Sunday” was to die-for) to blues, from traditional African to rock, mixing tradition with modernity. She sings in English, French (“Zen” is one of my favorite songs by her!), and Bambara, the language of her community.

She arrived in Milan at Carroponte on the 15th of July to present her new album “Beautiful Africa” that will be released at the end of September 2013 and that I can’t wait to put my hands on it! It was my first time seeing her live and I was very excited: I loved her live performance. She managed to mix ballads, with rock and African dance, bass, electric guitar and traditional African instruments in a beautiful, captivating concert where I found myself dancing like a mad woman (recalling my old African dance classes when I studied in France in 2000) and crying for the beautiful words of wisdom that she spoke during the night (“The most beautiful thing in life is diversity”).

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For the occasion I wore a piece of Africa too: I wore this beautiful skirt (originally a dress!) from Lalesso, the ethical brand inspired by beautiful Kenyan fabrics and colors (www.lalesso.com).

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I paired it with an H&M denim shirt and Topshop flat sandals. I am also wearing vintage golden ’80s earrings and my adored Oxfam canvas bag!

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Cheers!

The Ladybug’s One Proud Mary: Rolling On the Canals of the Naviglio in Milan

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During the first months of living in Milan, when I’d mention to someone that I was a vintage lover they all asked me the same question: “Sei già stata al Mercatone dell’Antiquariato sul Naviglio?” (Have you been to the Naviglio Antiques Market?).

Everybody was giving descriptions of this huge Antiques Market, which not only had great character because it happens all along the old Canals of Milan, but was also a sort of pilgrimage venue for lovers of anything vintage.

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When I first went in September with my friend Francesca, I understood what they meant: the entire around the Naviglio Grande and Ticinese are full of stalls selling Antique furniture, home-ware, vintage clothing, accessories and all sort of Memorabilia. The atmosphere is sparkling and a lot of people love this big market and spend their whole Sunday looking for the perfect “old piece” to take home!

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The Antiques Market of the Naviglio takes place every last Sunday of the month and the loveliest thing about it is that all the bars, restaurants and shops along the canals are open and full of people all the time! Some of my favorite vintage shops in Milan are in the area, even if I prefer to visit them when it is less crowded. Still there is a “Sunday Driver” atmosphere that I really enjoy every time that I go there because, as you may imagine, this is my new favorite “event” in Milan!!

I missed October’s market because it was a too rainy and cold that day, but I went again last Sunday with my friends Sara and Alejandro.

By the way; did I mention that you can make great bargains there!!

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Indeed, even if it is quite pricey for my standards, if you take the time to look and get a feel for a seller, you can negotiate quite well. And most of the time you will find incredible pieces at amazing prices. I’ll give you some examples:

The first time that I went in September I came home with:

–       This absolutely crazy color block Versus by Versace dress from the ’90s (designed by Gianni Versace himself when Versace was “VERSACE”) for 45 euros!

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–       And…believe me….this genuine Balenciaga small City bag for….50 euros!!!!

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Well, this deserves a paragraph of its own: when I saw this bag, almost completely covered by Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags I completely rushed towards it to touch it and pray that it was genuine! I have been looking for this bag, not new, for AGES and never found it anywhere else! I was fainting when I touched it and the soft leather was melting in my hands! It was IT!!! Let me say that it was in awful condition: zippers and two studs were missing plus there was tape around one of the handles (neither me nor the seller knew if it was broken or not). So I started a very long negotiation with her to lower the price until I got it for 50 euros! With the help of my amazing shoesmith (and 18 more euros!) my bag was as new and ready to use!!

This last time, Sara sighted a real charity stall from the Church with amazing stuff at even more amazing prices!!

–       I bought this vintage real fur jacket/coat for only 25 euros and it is so amazing that now I can sell my old ones!!

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And

–       The piece that I’ve been looking for for the last 5 months: a big vintage French hatbox for my floppy hats!!

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There too, I needed to negotiate my price and I went from 150 euros (that I’ve been asked in vintage shops and from some stallers at the markets) to a more reasonable 70 euros for this amazing hatbox!

The pictures that I’m sharing here are mostly from the first time that I went in September… by the way, I’m wearing a Zara military shirt with H&M t-shirt, leggings and necklace. I’m also wearing my vintage white cat-eye eyeglasses and my Oxfam canvas tote for my new vintage finds of the day! Oh… I’m also wearing my new coral lipstick from Kiko… a great find for 3 euros. And it’s better than my YSL – no joke!

The Ladybug and… The ’80s

As announced in my last post, here is the third of my ’80s vintage dresses that I bought at (Sous) Vintage Shop in Milan during my house hunting last June!

As you read (and saw!), I visited this amazing vintage shop in Milan. I am one of those few vintage lovers in love with the ’80s! I can’t say that it is my favorite era, but for sure “boldness” was its (and my!) motto! What about Grace Jones, for example? She was, for me, the perfect representation of fashion (and music) of that decade and I still consider her a source of inspiration.

One of the reasons why I love ’80s fashion is the pop of bold colors like the bright purple of this simple dress that I ADORE! And the color is not the only reason why I love it: it’s just easy and smart and depending on the accessories- it can be adapted to many different events and occasions.

On this sunny summer morning on the Southern Coast, I decided to wear it with a H&M skinny belt, vintage ’70s bangles and vintage suede pink wedges (and nails!).

As for the last bold touched, I’m wearing a deep fuchsia Chanel lipstick. Viva gli ’80s!

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The Ladybug Dresses the Art For a Day at the Brooklyn Museum

Sometimes I am really a lucky girl. When I arrived in New York, the first thing that I saw was a flier about a great expo on Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum. No need to say that I visited it as I consider him one of my favorite artists ever!

I went on one of my last days there, but it was an amazing experience: not only for the expo itself, one of the most complete and hugest ever concerning Haring’s work (from paintings to pictures, videos and subway ads), but also because the Brooklyn museum has nothing less than its more famous cousins in Manhattan: it is a wonderful museum both the building and for the permanent pieces that you can find there.

I decided that an artsy outfit was needed… so that’s why I decided to wear my colored vintage skirt (bought the week before at L-Train Vintage) with a Benetton blue cardi, white t-shirt, H&M skinny belt and my new American brogues from Shoegasm! Oh… and my Zara bag (aka my “Zara takes New York!” bag) of course!

PS: I also bought some lovely Keith Haring pins there… cute aren’t they? I was thinking of putting together a white tee for myself with all these pins on the side… I’m all about DIY lately! I’ll show you the results as soon as I decide to take some time to do it!

The Ladybug’s Walk of Fame: the Brooklyn Bridge

As I announced a couple of posts about Brooklyn, here’s the second one!

How could I not share the wonderful walk on the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan?

It was a windy day, but it was definitely one of the best walks of my whole life… and it deserved a mixed vintage outfit!

I went a bit masculine that day with my golden buttoned preppy blazer (thrifted from a few days earlier at the Salvation Army!), skinny jeans from Zara and a polka dot blouse.

I added a vintage purple paisley scarf (a London find from Portobello!), a tan belt from H&M and my famous Zara bag.

The lovely tan brogues are also a New York buy from Shoegasm… I have not been able to live without them since then!