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 Queues Next: Next Vintage in Belgioioso!

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If you used to going to vintage fairs quite often, for years, the risk is that you may become… blasé.

But there are some fairs that bring a bit more to the table. They’re the same, but different at the same time. One of these, for sure, is Next Vintage in Belgioiso. I don’t go twice a year as they organize a Spring and Autumn edition, but indeed at least once a year, I need to be there.

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The atmosphere in Belgioioso has that certain something that you don’t find everywhere: maybe the location (the wonderful Belgioioso castle and garden that by itself worth a visit), maybe the selection of stallers from vintage to handmade, maybe the good vintage that can be found there, whatever it is… I think that if you love vintage you must go there!

It may not be easy to find a bargain there: I find it a bit pricey (especially some sellers who honestly sell over the regular price), but you can for sure admire many rare and hard-to-find pieces from different eras.

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This edition, a wonderful expo featuring Roberta di Camerino vintage pieces was offered to the visitors. The pieces came mostly from the Fondazione Sartirana Arte and from different vintage dealers (like A.N.G.E.L.O., Vintage Art, Aloe & Wolf, Viola vintage and many Others)…a dream for every vintage lover! I’ve never seen a lot of her pieces in real life, but those exposed there were absolutely amazing. The connection between them was the use of the “trompe-l’oeil” technique, very popular at the time and in her creations, and perfectly managed by the designer most of the time.

And for me, it was time for some shopping too: I got a late ’70s vintage doctor bag from Sculptures to Wear and a lovely handmade beret from Madame S, whom I met for the first time. She makes amazing headpieces and like me, usually attends fairs and vintage events.

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I also modeled for my friend Angela, of Sculptures to Wear, some of my favorite bags from her amazing vintage collection.

For the warm afternoon I wore my Rolling Stones’ tee from a charity shop in London (I got it for a few pounds in Oxfam, if I’m not wrong), vintage skirt from the Montagnola in Bologna, Marco Brogues and Cavalli & Nastri vintage bag from the ’70s.

By the way, I am also wearing my new Miu Miu glasses… since I found out that I need glasses, I decided to go for an eccentric pair of retro inspired cat-eye frames… what do you think?

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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 Takes London…Again pt. 2: Rainy Days in London Never Get Us Down!

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The in-famous London rain didn’t abandon us at all during the whole weekend… but do you seriously think that rain would have stopped us from shopping around?

Of course not!

After a great Saturday at the Pop Up Vintage Fair in Old Spitalfields and a lot of shopping, the greedy ones had more plans for the Sunday!

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Daisy and I started the day with a real British breakfast so we would have enough energy for the shopping session before meeting Salina in Pimlico for an exciting event… at least for me: the Sunday Capital Car-boot Sale!

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I have never been to a car-boot before- even if I heard a lot about car-boots, especially during my years in UK. This is really a very British event! The same idea of putting all your stuff on sell from the trunk of a car is so exciting to me. Even if all of the things I would try to sell wouldn’t fit in the back of my Fiat 500; still, the possibility of getting stuff from other people at very cheap prices was extremely exciting!!

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The car-boot sale was partially outside (with real cars and private sellers… in the rain!) and partially inside the school with more “serial sellers” and handcrafts, mostly selling clothing and accessories and some home-wares and collectables.

For only 6 pounds, I got this mustard Aquascutum of London sweater and this polka dots pleated mini skirt! Not bad, right?

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Being lead by our charity shops’ guru – Daisy! – she decided to take us to some of her favorites in the area: from Fara to Oxfam to the biggest surprise of Trinity Hospice… a place that we enjoyed so much and left a bit of our money there!

I got this Topshop sequined fascinator and this brand new with tags Atmosphere tweed jacket… very Birtish countryside, both for less than 15 quids!

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Last but not least, Daisy decided to kill me by taking us to Retromania…. a real paradise on earth for vintage/charity shops lovers, but I will tell you more about this visit in my next post!

Don’t forget, it was St. Patrick’s day that Sunday: Maxine joined us at the Priory Tavern in Kilburn for a wet celebration (beer and gin were on the table!) and a delicious roast to give our tired bodies a tasteful treat!

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I love these ladies SO MUCH!

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I wore my “new” vintage Blumarine sweater, vintage denim shorts, Shoegasm NYC brogues, vintage fur coat and Max & Co satchel.

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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!