The Ladybug on Upcycling, Sartorial Upcycling and Vintage Sartorial Jackets

Even if you are not a circular and sustainable fashion expert, I am pretty sure that you have already heard about Upcycling. The reason is that the term has been increasingly used in the fashion system, when it comes to sustainability, reuse, recycling because of the increased attention of customers towards sustainability.

But what is Upcycling exactly?

When we talk about upcycling we usually refer to the creative reuse of materials, fabrics, as a starting point for a new creative process. Upcycling is different from recycling and downcycling because we don’t simply reuse something but we transform it to give it a new life.

We can be creative at home if we are able to use the sewing machine for example, by giving second life to our damaged pieces but there is another type of upcycling that is more and more used in the fashion system: the sartorial upcycling.

The Sartorial upcycling often gives to the creations an higher value to the original one, creating a new lifecycle for something that was almost dead. The fashion designer elaborates and readapt the old piece by transforming it into something different, unique, more precious and with high creativity.

One example of this creative sartorial upcycling is the new line of Vintage Sartorial Jackets created by Madame Ilary in collaboration with Le Fie Studio: they started from vintage jackets (many are designer’s) that they decorated or restructured with silk, juta and other precious materials, adding personal details like vintage buttons, bows or voluminous silk sleeves and other details.

The result is simply amazing and it clearly explains how a sartorial intervention on vintage pieces can be an added-value to the piece, giving it not only a second life but even a luxurious one!

Obviously all the pieces are unique, and I am showing here three of the pieces that I loved more:

  • The black blazer with silk sleeves and vintage buttons, definitely the best way to add glamour to the simplest outfit (here I am wearing it with a white tee and handmade culottes by Madame Ilary)
  • The red blazer, an incredible 80s vintage piece with silk sleeves that is perfect also with denim (from Sézane) and sneakers (Ash second hand found on Vinted)
  • The navy blazer, transformed into a sort of waistcoat, with precious brocade on the sleeves and on the back, here worn with some irony on a Madame Ilary hand-painted tee dedicated to Anna Piaggi and handmade tartan trousers

Many more creative Vintage Sartorial Jackets are on sale on Madame Ilary website, but you can also ask Ilaria and Grazia to readapt your own jacket with a sartorial twist.

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The Ladybug in Turbans Wonderland: The Grand Opening of Sine Modus

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Sometimes being happy for other people’s success is really hard, I know. Most of the time, it’s because we don’t think it is really deserved and we pass our false felicity for their fortune with the notion that it is just good luck or make other haphazard excuses for their success. But believe me, when it is completely deserved and is the fruit of hard work, you cannot be anything other than happy and even a bit proud, especially when you were one of those who believed in it.

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This is what happened with me for the huge success of the beautiful Manuela and Chiara, the amazing souls behind Sine Modus. But let me start from the beginning, which means December 2013 when I met them at the Lekker Market and could not move away from their stall of amazing turbans. You may know already my passion for hats, turbans, headbands, fascinators and anything that you can wear on your head, to the point that I often feel naked when I can’t wear something on it- especially in winter. And their handmade turbans were to die-for! I even bought one, not the one that I chose at first, but a turquoise one that they put on my head and I just fell in love with at that very exact moment. They were mostly classic turbans but very well done, with amazing variety of materials and with incredible shades and decorations. But what really made me crazy was the fact that their turbans were recycled from vintage dresses and shirts, giving them new life under the form of turbans. Since then I felt that they “had something:” they told me that they mostly sold at markets and events and that I could find them on Facebook if I wanted more handmade turbans. Which I did, of course. Every time they were at some market/event I went to find them to try new pieces (as they evolved to new more structured forms) and of course to get some new turbans to add to my collection. When I wear their turbans it’s always a smashing success (people stopping me everywhere in the streets and asking me about them – even in London!). We often talked about them selling online or even open a shop- and then it happened, almost a year after we first met. I was full of joy when I received their invitation for the opening because they were finally rewarded for their hard working and of course because I finally have a place where I can find them whenever I want!

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It is a cute little shop in Milan on via Pomponazzi, 22 full of vintage pieces (from clothing to accessories) and of course loads of hats and their famous handcrafted turbans! You can recognize it from the big “ Vintage is in the Air” quote on their window and from the two beautiful and talented girls inside!

Well done ladies, very well done!

I wore Topshop silk shirt, Zara pleated skirt, Lazzari oxfords and of course one of my adored Sine Modus handmade turbans!

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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 “Does the Right Thing” at Fa’ La Cosa Giusta!

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A few weeks ago I read on Internet two good articles: first thing was about one of my favorite fairs coming to town for the weekend; the second was about a new book that I wanted to get and its author presenting it in town that same weekend. Only later did I realized that the two events were actually happening at the same time/place!

I am still hanging around with my broken finger, but as I missed the “Fa’ la cosa giusta” fair last year I didn’t want to miss it again this year: if you are in Milan, I am pretty sure that you know about it as it represents the most important fair about critical consumerism and sustainable lifestyle. This was the 11th edition and it was as successful as the others which means that maybe, people are finally becoming interested in a new way of living and consuming with a more critical eye on our daily actions and on the impacts that they can have on our environment.

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I was very surprised about all that could be found there: from sustainable ways of traveling or organizing your wedding, to recycling and reusing objects by giving new life to what we don’t need to throw away and not to mention clean and healthy eating: there is a way to take care of ourselves and of others in everything that we do.

Of course I was pretty much into food: not only because I am a food lover, but mostly because I decided to start a new healthier way of eating since coming to Milan (where fruits and veggies usually don’t taste like fruits and veggies!), one that is more conscious and more critical, which is the best decision I could have ever made in my life! I am still eating meat on my path through “I am what I eat.” Still, my dietary journey is ever changing and evolving and I can’t deny that I am tempted by vegetarianism or even veganism even if I know that this kind of choice needs more time and meditation for me! I am very open and curious toward these ideas and I keep adding new elements to my diet that I discover through vegan blogs and recipes.

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This is why, when I read that my adored Paola Maugeri (a woman that I’ve loved since I was a teenager and MTV addict) was presenting her new book of vegan recipes Las Vegans, at Fa’ la cosa giusta, I decided to head to the fair that Sunday to have the chance to listen to her… which was a great idea!

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Paola was smarter and more charming and charismatic than I expected and her fight for the social acceptance of veganism really drew me in. I bought her book (and started using the nutritional yeast that she mentioned a couple of times!).  I had the chance to talk to her about the best places to shop for healthy food in Milan and I received a great compliment from her regarding my ’80s look!

By the way… do you know that she is a vintage lover? I remember meeting her at the airport some time ago wearing an amazing vintage head-to-toe ’70s outfit!!

Here I’m wearing Replay jeans, vintage trophy jacket from Montagnola market in Bologna, Isabel Marant boots, my Pushkin bag from Saint Petersburg and vintage YSL frames from Oggetti Smarriti.

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The Ladybug is a Healthy Bee: My Interpretation of a Vintage Lifestyle


Last week I was asked a very challenging question: as a vintage blogger, what for you is it to have a vintage lifestyle?

I must confess that I had to think about it and as you can see I needed to write down my ideas on it to make it clearer also to myself!

My idea of vintage goes far behind the fact of wearing vintage clothes and accessories almost every day, or going to vintage inspired parties or shops, it also goes far behind my natural interest and preference to what is older and has “history” (furniture, movies, art etc.).

I realized that my idea of vintage lifestyle is very much so related to my idea of what is healthy and genuine: yes, for as strange as it may seem this is my vision!

There are things that I do every day (outside of dressing up in vintage clothes!) like eating properly, or paying attention to recycling and consuming, or working out that I consider as my own vintage lifestyle.

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Since I moved to Milan, I discovered a new passion for eating properly: this means trying to eat everything of good quality but in punctilious portions! I stopped eating junk food- leaving space to healthier foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes or whole carbs, which helped me not only lose weight but also made me feel happier and healthier after only a few weeks of my new eating habits! I also try to eat as many organic things as I can: I found a monthly market in Milan where only organic genuine foods are sold and I try to shop there as much as I can. I now avoid canned goods and industrially produced “things.”  I also try to buy my weekly food at shops where you can choose to purchase the quantity you need. These shops are popping up around Milan and you can easily find them almost in every area. The idea is amazing, especially if you consider that it reduces costs and waste of food. Being a single girl I know what it means to have to throw away food that you couldn’t eat before expiration.

Recycling and using materials in a befitting way as well as avoiding to waste or pollute the atmosphere, for me, gives life to my concept of a vintage lifestyle. Some days I just say to myself: isn’t it what my grandma used to do? And I’m not only talking about the correct use of plastic and paper, but also about wearing and reselling (or giving) what we use, buying second hand clothes or only wearing vintage fur!

Last but not least, there’s nothing more “vintage lifestyle” than a good work out! Whatever you decide to do (gym, running, swimming, playing sports, etc…) taking care of your body is not only the most exciting and self-flattering thing to do but also, for me, the most creativity-sparking act of my day! “Mens sana in corpore sano” is one of the most famous Latin quotes, right?

We will talk more about my new work-out and diet challenges in the near future; for now I just hope that I answered the question and that you may find here some interesting, healthy, vintage ideas!


The Ladybug lands on Memory Lane at the Forlì Vintage Fair

Vintage is all about memories, whether you’re recycling your own style with a renewed class or invoking the memories of others through your finds or creating your own memories by redesigning and defining your ideal style… Vintage IS memorable!

When I was 18 I left Sicily to go to college: I loved foreign languages and decided that I wanted to be a translator (don’t ask me what happened to that dream!). At the time one of the best colleges for Interpreters and Translators was the SSLMIT in Forlì – a lovely town between Bologna and the Riviera Romagnola where I spent the most amazing and happiest years of my life! Forlì was, and still is, a quiet and calm town where people prefer their bikes over their cars. It’s full of students from everywhere in Italy and abroad. Being situated near big cities like Bologna and great clubbing centers as Rimini and Riccione made it the perfect place to have fun, meet new friends and enjoy my first experience out of my hometown! This is why I hold great and happy memories of this place. It’s also why I was so excited to go there for the Forlì Vintage Fair which is probably the most important vintage event in Italy (they count about 15 thousand visitors every year, in two semiannual events). It also boasts as one of the oldest (the first edition was in 2008) ongoing Italian vintage fairs.

I took the train from Naples and met my friend in Bologna.  We then headed to Forlì by car.  With a full weekend ahead of us, we scheduled to only attend the event on Friday afternoon (the 23rd of September, opening day). I won’t explain here the emotions of that day (a great surprise in Bologna and all the feelings of my “homecoming!”), but I’ll try to share with you that afternoon of fun!

Basically the Fair was divided in 3 big areas: the proper vintage area, the biggest one, with many stands of vintage clothes and accessories from the ’40s to the ’80s; the design-remake area, a very interesting bunch of stalls where new designers exposed their retro inspired creations, using old recycled materials and creating new forms of art from the past; and the collectibles area, where it was possible to find any kind of antique object, from toys to perfumes to small furniture.

In the main vintage area I could find some of my favorite sellers and discover some more or even meet those with whom I’ve been in virtual contact, but had never met for real! A special mention goes to Tara Vintage, honestly the best designer vintage seller around with great clothing and accessories pieces from Chanel (I fell in love with a very expensive black pleated dress from Chanel! Sigh!), Hermès or Vuitton; to Opherty & Ciocci (I finally met my virtual friend Marco!) with the most amazing ’70s handbags (yes, I bought one!) and some great Gucci vintage pieces; and of course A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Palace, who is the ‘author’ of the beautiful vintage Issey Miyake itinerant museum. Then there’s Lamù Vintage (a new friend!), personally one of my favorite stalls for sunglasses (yes, I got a pair too….a fantastic Dior!) with Oggetti Smarriti, and to Boutique Nadine, on my top list of vintage and retro shops if you ever go to Florence (don’t miss it, as they added a new store recently!).

Also many events were planned during the Fair like burlesque classes, American bar and retro music artists playing live… I was tempted to attend a burlesque class, but I really didn’t have time because a long car trip to Milan was waiting for us that same night!

To be fair I also have to put my attention on two negative facts: first of all, the complete lack of air conditioning. It was freaking hot inside (and outside!) and we even left earlier because of that: it was impossible to try fur coats or wool hats and I guess this problem affected not only the visitors but also the sellers. Secondly, a negative mention to Di Renzo Vintage, a stall with cool vintage hats but very unfriendly owners. I was asked not to take pictures (erm….why?? They couldn’t say…crazy!) and when I said I was a blogger- they said I should have told that… Really?!?! So….we left there two hats we wanted to buy and put a cross on them! (Of course, no pictures of their stuff either! Lol) *note to owners: If they see it, they will come. Word of mouth is the best publicity.

Here are some of my pictures of the event. The Ladybug’s vintage finds of the day – Forlì Vintage Fair coming soon!

The Issey Miyake vintage collection from A.N.G.E.L.O.

A lovely burlesque performer

Some shots from the great Tara Vintage collection

Cute vintage inspired head-pieces


A.N.G.E.L.O., of course!

Cute white glasses from Oggetti Smarriti (so stupid I didn’t buy them….pfff)

With Marco from Opherty & Ciocci


Rocking the 80’s…

Animal prints forever!