The Ladybug goes French for the opera!

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What if you receive a last minute invitation from your friend to go to the opera at the Teatro alla Scala to see the rehearsal of “Rigoletto” and you didn’t have enough time to plan your outfit?

You just go French, because no matter what, how and when but French style is always chic, elegant and has that retro touch that we all need in our lives!

I must confess that I read books and posts promising to tell you how to be a perfect French stylish girl in every situation but unfortunately I guess it is something very hard to get, unless you were born in France!

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Any attempt is still welcome so I created my opera outfit starting from a vintage French beret hat that I found on ebay many years ago. I decided to add a statement vintage hatpin from Tricia Leonard Vintage shop in Munich. I mixed all this vintage with high street and designer pieces: a black coat from Sportmax, a black sweater from Dixie, grey culottes from Imperial. To complete the outfit: Marc Jacobs thrifted grey ankle boots from Epiphany Vintage in Frankfurt and Miu Miu handbag.

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The Ladybug’s Vintage Tour of Germany Continues: Next Stop, Frankfurt!

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It looks like Germany is my second home so far this year! Munich, Berlin and now a little tour of Frankfurt!

But this lovely weekend was a bit different: one of my best friends lives there and I realized that the last time I went to see her there was when she moved… ten years ago!

Many things have changed since then and not only in our lives! Frankfurt itself is a different town: there is a lot to do, a lot of young people and plenty of nice places for brunch, coffee, tea or a lovely meal out. The weather was a bit cloudy, but as it didn’t rain, a lot of people were hanging out as Carmen and I enjoyed a good shopping session between our much more enjoyed busy and long chats!

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As for vintage I must say that Frankfurt is not really a vintage town: there are a few shops, but most of them are thrift stores. Now don’t get me wrong, you can still find some great bargains, like we did.

Epiphany is, for sure, my favorite shop in town: we spent a couple of hours inside the shop and we fell in love with the beautiful collection of designer, high street and even vintage pieces (shoes are to-die-for… consider yourself warned!) and we came out with a big bag full of second-hand and vintage pieces! Surprisingly; the prices are really affordable, I would dare say cheap in many cases, even for designers’ pieces. I was very proud of our finds, especially this pair of amazing late ’60s yellow Escada shoes! Carmen also stepped out with the beautiful coat that she’s wearing in the picture… not bad for our thrift shopping session!

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Secondelle is another lovely shop, but when we arrived it was closed and we could only admire the windows- full of Chanel bags and Louboutin… our credit cards were safe! For charity shop lovers, Oxfam has a couple of interesting shops in town too, one having only books, music and DVDs.

If you want to have a good brunch, you can head to the lovely and cozy Nordlicht where I took this picture. You could also take a trip to the Italian spot, Little Italy, that has a huge and tasty buffet. And for a lovely aperitif I may suggest Iimori, a delicious Japanese restaurant with a French touch that really deserves a visit! Speaking of French, La Maison du Pain is perfect for a French lunch or dinner or should I say a few fine desserts!

In these pictures I wore a Max&Co coat, Zara bow shirt, Peter Pilotto for Target skirt, Tosca Blu ankle boots, Miu Miu bag and a wonderful handmade wool turban from the amazing Madame Ilary!

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The Ladybug’s Dream of Being “The Little Black Blogger”: Covering The Little Black Jacket…

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I understand that I am very excited about something I’m going to write about when I don’t know how to start my post… like now!

When I read that the most interesting and exciting photography expo was coming to Milan, after traveling with huge success around the world (New York, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and London) I immediately called my friend to go see it with her because she’s the only one I knew who shared my excitement about it! I am talking about the famous “The Little Black Jacket,” an itinerant expo of pictures taken by Karl Lagerfeld in Cannes, Paris and New York under the stylistic direction of Carine Roitfeld (also pictured in the first image that opens the expo). These pictures are now not only one of the most acclaimed fashion expos of the last year, but they’re also a beautiful book.

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The focus of the expo is very simple: it’s centered around one of the most iconic pieces created by Coco Chanel. No, not the Little Black Dress. And not my adored quilted 2.55…  It’s The Little Black Jacket.  Like the LDB, it’s worn by many celebrities from movies to fashion, but unlike the LBD… (well, with the exception of Marc Jacobs) it’s also a staple of men and women and it crosses different cultures and backgrounds, everyone bringing their own personality and style to this amazing piece. I have been told by some visitors, who didn’t know about it, that they didn’t realize they were all wearing the same jacket (only Keira Knightley and Kirsten Owen are wearing the white version). Which means that, despite the boring concept, the result is quite amazing! And believe me, it is!

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The expo is now in Dubai for its last date, but if you missed it- I’m sharing here some of my favorite pictures.

Let me say a few words about the location: the expo was held at the Rotonda della Besana, one of the historical places in Milan but maybe one of the less known and this is a real shame. It is a wonderful park surrounded by arcades where we enjoyed a nice walk after the expo. There’s what used to be a church in the middle, which is now used for expos or cultural events. I also enjoyed the inside lighting and space which, I think, gave more importance to the exposed images because of how the light was directed.

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Another little idea that I liked: not only was the expo free, but there were also free posters of some of the pictures from the expo for all the visitors… classy! Oh, I forgot… during the days of the expo, a selection of the S/S 2013 Chanel collection’s jackets were exhibited in the Milanese boutique in via S. Andrea… classier!

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The Ladybug & Friends’ Very Vintage Weekend in Milan!

So; take three girls: one from Italy and two from London, add a lot of love for vintage, a splash of fashion and sprinkling of cakes… Put them all together for a weekend in Milan, during the fashion week and what do you think you’ll get?

I’m going to tell you right now!

I met Daisy from Make Thrift London and Salina from Vintage Teatime on Twitter and, if you follow my blog, you might know that we met for real in London this past February during one of the amazing Pop Up Vintage Fairs. We became true friends and I returned the love by inviting them to spend a weekend in Milan, which happened two weekends ago, during the Milan Fashion Week.

We had an amazing (but tiring!) weekend walking around.  We toured all over Milan, from the city center (the Duomo area) to the very characteristic Navigli’s area- visiting monuments, suggested points of interest in town and, of course, shops! Especially vintage shops!

On our first day, we decided to take it slow with shopping (even if I didn’t!) and to do more visiting.  We started from Piazza San Babila through the Duomo, then the “Quadrilatero della Moda” where we spotted a few local celebrities and many lines for parties and fashion shows! We ended the day in the Brera area (at Marc by Marc Jacobs shop, of course!) with a Japanese aperitif! (Did I mention we ate cakes and real pasta earlier?!? The saffron and bacon gnocchi were to die for!!!)

While in Brera, I introduced Daisy and Salina to my girl crush in Milan… this girl works in Cavalli & Nastri and every time I see her- I fall in love with her amazing outfits (do you remember her during the VFNO?). This time I fell in love with her beautiful vintage hatpin!

I also took them to my favorite vintage/charity shop in Milan (so far): Humana Vintage where I’ve been very bad and bought a lot of stuff, but I’m going to talk about them (and about ALL that I bought there so far!) soon. Let me just tell you that this is absolutely one of my favorite places in Milan! (visit their site for more info: www.humanavintage.it)

For the second day I decided to bring the girls to the Navigli for brunch, ice-cream and of course… more vintage shopping! We were a bit disappointed because most of them were closed, but we managed to buy some stuff though… like a lovely vintage ’70s bag from Cavalli e Nastri where we also spent some time taking pictures in their lovely shop on via Mora.

Tired but still excited about the weekend, it was time for Daisy and I to take advantage of Salina’s greatest expertise in baking cupcakes… we started baking quite late, but we enjoyed it so much and our cupcakes tasted delicious!

I think we’ll have to do that again soon… maybe in London for another great Pop Up Vintage Fair??!? …Maybe we can ask a good “boy – friend” of TLC to come along to take photos, maybe perform at the fair and… carry our bags.

Mirror Mirror On the Wall… The Ladybug Reflects & Celebrates: Happy 1st Anniversary TLC!

Dear LuvBugs,

It’s been exactly one year since my first post on this blog… can you believe it?

When I started The Ladybug Chronicles: I was a bit scared and confused because I didn’t know where I was going with it.

12 months later it’s time for me to see where we’ve been: and the truth is… we’ve come very far!!! Literally and virtually!

I’m not going to list the titles, interviews or the material we’ve covered because it’s all right there… on the right side of your screen to go through as often as you want.  I only want to take a little pause and thank you from the depth of my heart for your constant support and encouragement and for being the – best – readers – EVER!

A special thanks to KNAGUI for being an amazing writer and for bringing us new and passionate stories every “next” Sunday!

Happy 1st Anniversary The Ladybug Chronicles and Happy Birthday to you LuvBugs!

Now c’mon and ease on down Memory Lane with me through this celebratory video:

 

The Ladybug Experiences Group Sex in the City: …Hey, I’m a Lady!

It should be quite clear to all of you that I am a Sex & The City addict and if it’s not, well now you know! And when I say SATC, I mean the TV series of course, not the movies… true fans all over the world know what I mean!

There’s no need to say how many times I’ve watched every single episode as if it was the first time, but let me just tell you that I’ve seen them in Italian, English, French and Spanish and I know by heart most of the quotes in the first three languages… is it clear the kind of fan I am?! …Good!

Everything I came to know about New York came from Sex & The City: I’ve always felt as if I’ve known this city and visited many times because I saw it hundreds of times in the series and of course, when I got there, I immediately felt like I was inside my television… more specifically, I was kind of living what I’d been watching for more than a decade!

I decided to go on the Sex & The City guided tour my last day there.  Even if I had seen so many of the places during my own moving about, I wanted to see all of places that I saw on TV for myself!

Let me say that walking down the streets of NYC, like in Soho, Greenwich, Park Avenue you already feel like you’re in SATC! Carrie once said,  “Sex & the City is the NYC streets, where everything may happen- the expectations, the future… love.”

I realized how many crazy SATC fans there are in the world when: a) I saw there are least three different agencies that organize guided tours based on the TV series; b) these tours are completely booked for weeks!! I squeezed in on the On Location Tours (+1-212-2093370 www.screentours.com, the guides are young actresses and the price is about 45 dollars). I must say I expected a bit more… still, I don’t regret it! I have KNAGUI to thank for blowing up my phone- encouraging me not to leave the city with any.

The tour began at The Plaza Hotel (where Carrie says goodbye to Mr. Big after his engagement party before marrying Natasha)… but did you know that within that same square is the Paris? Yes, that cinema where Carries watches romantic movies in the 5th season! The tour continues through the Public Library (where Carrie and Big are supposed to marry on the first movie… did you know that weddings are booked every day for months there??!!) and all the fashion addresses of the TV series: Tiffany (where Trey buys Charlotte her wedding ring), Takashimaya (where, in the middle of perfume’s testing- Carrie announces to the girls that she’s taken a lover – the Russian, Alexander Petrovsky), Jimmy Choo, Manolo Bhlanik and the TAO Restaurant (the Buddha Bar where Samantha brings her lesbian lover Maria and Carrie and Big sit at the same table with their dates).

You can also see The Little Church of Transfiguration (the name was changed on the show) where Samantha tries to seduce the young priest (“Mister All Souls”).

After these initial sites, we board a bus to our first stop… the sex shop where you can buy the in-famous Rabbit and before restarting the tour we took a tour through ABC Carpet & Home (the cult shop for home-ware, Charlotte’s favorite!). Just after that we saw the real home of Sarah Jessica Parker (and a little later Mr. Big’s real house).

The second stop is in the Greenwich area where you can eat delicious cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery (Carrie’s and Miranda’s favorite, just in fron of Marc Jacobs!), have a look at BookMarc (the bookshop where Miranda meets the guy who loves biographies… and not only!), and also see the little park where Carrie and Charlotte bring Brady when Miranda is on her honeymoon.

Before the third stop at Buddakan (where Carrie and Big celebrate the pre-wedding night), you can see Cow Girl on Hudson Street (where Carrie and Aidan go for their first date), Aidan’s furniture shop, Diane Von Furstenberg’s shop (where, in the first movie, Carrie announces to Samantha on the phone that she’s going to get married) and the famous Pastis.

In Soho you can admire Louis K. Meisel, the art gallery where Charlotte works along with the girls’ favorite shops like D&G, Jaime Mascarò and Patricia Field (she’ll have a special mention here later…) and there’s a third and very interesting stop: you can drink a real Cosmopolitan at O’Neals… which is Scout in the TV series, Steve and Aidan’s bar!

I also had the chance to find St. Mark’s Comics while walking down the street. Remember, it’s the comic book store where Carries goes- thinking that her shoe-repair shop is still there, but finds out it’s been replaced by this shop and its cute young owner!  I also saw the Prada store in Soho where Carrie brings Berger and Century 21 (see older posts).

After all that… can you believe that I didn’t see Carrie’s house?!?!?

Yes: I thought it was going to be part of the tour, but it wasn’t. Worst of all, I didn’t realize I had the address until I found it on a note… when I returned to Italy.

…I guess it’s a perfect reason to go back to NYC again soon! Don’t you think?

The Ladybug’s Disneyland in NYC: A Guided Tour Through Century 21

I often use the word “Disneyland” to define the places where I could not only spend hours, but I would keep coming back every day and spend more time than the day before: they can be museums, landscapes, shops and some other kind of places I’d better not define here (even if you use your imagination only a few people in the world really know what I’m talking about!).

I recently found out that a few of these places are in New York! We’ll soon talk about all of them, but for now let’s start with Century 21 Discount Stores.

The first time I heard of it was many years ago during an episode of Sex And The City.

Since then, I knew I needed to go the first chance I had to visit New York! I was so surprised to find it listed as an attraction of Downtown in my Lonely Planet’s guide when I was planning my trip!

Century 21 is basically a big outlet store: immense floors of men and women shoes, bags, clothes and every other kind of accessory from designer to high street- usually marked at about 60% off the retail price. Of course, you probably won’t find the lastest Missoni prêt-à-porter, but you can still grab a wonderful Moschino or Chloé or Vivienne Westwood dress for less than 300 dollars! All the best designers are there and the prices are beyond worth a visit. I spent a few hours inside and honestly, I’m thankful for the fact that I visited it on my first day there while I still had some apprehension of spending too much!!! Remember, I was in New York to buy the best vintage in town… it wasn’t a good idea to spend $500 at my first stop and it not even be vintage!

So, for as crazy as it may sound- I only got a lovely pair of Michael Kors tortoise sunglasses. They were less than 25 dollars! I was so tempted by a pair of Marc Jacobs sunglasses, a Missoni dress, a few Jean Paul Gautier pieces, a Chloé shirt and so much more, but I resisted the temptation so I could be less restrained in the other Disneylands waiting for me in the Big Apple!

The funny thing is I was looking for the store, but found it by chance: I decided to visit Ground Zero.  9-11 was such a painful memory, so this moment was a very emotional experience for me. I remember stopping by just to take a minute to feel my emotions flowing and say a prayer. I was brought to tears by all these feelings and at one point I barely realized anything else around me.

It was only when I turned away to leave and dry my tears that I found it; standing just in front of me and its big red lights were telling me: “Come in Honey; I’ll dry your tears!”

I immediately got excited and just as KNAGUI promised, his “twin” arrived on time, ready to take my camera and follow me around inside the store (I didn’t think we were going to be able to do it because it could never be done here in Italy, but as he so sweetly said, “This is America, Baby… I got this!”  I guess we looked professional based on a comment that was made. I won’t say more. Take a look at the video and share your comments! Hope you like it! Enjoy!


If you want to know more about the store, visit their site: www.c21stores.com