The Ladybug on wearing all the vintage we couldn’t wear in the last year!

How many occasions did we have in 2020 to go out, enjoy a night out with your friends, visiting a museum etc.? Very few I would say, this is why I will still remember that night as one of the best of 2020!

The occasion for a friends reunion was the fabulous exhibition at the Museo Diocesano in Milan of the amazing photographer Inge Morath. It was the first italian retrospective dedicated to the first woman photographer of Magnum Photo agency. More than 170 shoots that told her professional path from the begininnings with Ernst Haas and Henri Cartier-Bresson to her collaborations with the most famous magazines such as LIFE, Paris Match, Vogue etc. Inge Morath was also an insatiable traveler and many of her travel reportages were exposed, as well as portaits of Arthur Miller, Igor Stravinsky, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn etc.

The exhibit was also an occasion for an aperitivo in the cloister of the museum and for a dinner with my friends in a lovely secret corner of Milan.

It was also an occasion to bring out some of my new vintage pieces as they were being suffering in my wardrobe for such a long time!

I decided to wear one of my latest additions, a lovely 80’s vintage dress London Corner Vintage, paired with a golden vintage belt from Bottega Rossa in Milan and a vintage rattan bag from La Maison G.

I added a pair of green t-bar shoes from Miss L Fire (you know how much I love this brand), an handmade turban from Madame Ilary and a pair of vintage Trifari earrings from A Rebours Vintage.

As it was one of my few “go-out-outfits” it just needed to be as big and as vintage as I could! I definitely tried to wear all of the things that I haven’t worn in the last months while locked at home and I often think of how many outfits I still will need to bring out for a walk in the next months…let’s hope for a rest of 2021 full of new occasions to wear our vintage clothes and accessories!

Success! You're on the list.

The Ladybug on the joy of discovering new vintage (sellers)

When you have been dealing with vintage for more than 20 years, it may happen that you feel as you have seen it all: that you know all the vintage shops in town and online, that you can’t be surprised by new vintage selectors and sellers.

But one of the advantages of vintage being the new cool trend at the moment is that you can find so many new sellers and dealers that you have never met before. You also find out that you can still be surprised and that with vintage you can never say that you have seen it all!

I don’t know if it is the surprising power of vintage but I feel immediately guilty of thinking just for a second that I won’t find new exciting vintage or vintage sellers around!

The outfit that I am wearing here is a very good example of this, as two vintage pieces come from seller that I have come to know during last year:

  • The dress is a lovely 80s printed dress coming from Beatbox Vintage selection. I met Cristian and Simone on Instagram first, then live at the Remira Market and I couldn’t imagine that their site and physical selection would be so full of vintage gems! I literally spent three hours online to decide what to buy from them! By the way, if you are interested this is the site and don’t forget that you can enjoy 10% off anytime with the code LADYBUG10
  • The beautiful vintage belt comes from a little shop that I found on Depop called A dream of mine: her pieces are lovely and I bought three amazing vintage belts from her!

The other pieces come from shops or sellers that I already knew:

  • The fabulous green rattan bag, directly from the 70s, comes from the amazing selection of A rebours Vintage in Milan
  • The 80s earrings are a great bargain from the antiques market in Sorrento many years ago
  • The handmade turban is from my beloved Madame Ilary, with a fabric and trims that I found in Amman, Jordan
  • The beautiful shell ring comes from an amazing Neapolitan jeweler: I met him through Madame Ilary who sells his pieces in her show room in Milan.

Ps. My Miu Miu thrifted sandals are always there, I know. I think that I will stop wearing them the day they will decide to leave me barefoot in the middle of the street!

The Ladybug and the power of a (sustainable) dress

I perfectly remember the day when these pictures were taken for a specific reason. During that day four people stopped me at the restaurant, in the subway, in the street just to ask about my dress: “Where did you get it? – I love it”!

This made me think a lot about the power of a dress and where it comes from: it is the pattern? Maybe the color? The shape? Or maybe just the way it makes you feel when you wear it!

I can remember how happy I was when I received this dress from Anna su Misura: a beautiful yet simple handmade piece with the colors and patterns of Africa, its lovely vintage buttons and its many ways to use it (as a jacket or as a dress!). I was excited because it was the first step that Cristiana (founder of Anna su Misura) was doing towards a complete collection of clothing handmade with wax print fabrics. Cristiana started selling skirts and this beautiful dress called Anna (the name of her mum) was the first attempt to a more complete line of clothing. After the dress many interesting pieces were created: kimonos, shirts, turbans, bags, homeware…

I decided to wear it immediately the day after at the office and the reaction was incredible: compliments, questions, requests of the creator name…

I think that for sure the quality of a handmade dress makes the difference; the perfect choice of colors and pattern did the rest. But I must admit that I felt like a queen with it (not a coincidence that I wore my handmade turban–crown from Madame Ilary) and I also received compliments for how good it looked on me! One thing is sure: clothes are powerful. Vintage and handmade pieces have super powers.

Their power lays on the way we feel when we wear them. Princesses, queens, powerful human beings, passionate, compassionate, everything that may come with it! And the effects of this power are visible also to the others, which explains why they unusually compliment with us so often!

Of course we should consider the side effects of this: negative power clothes exist too! Probably they are those that are “imposed from the outside”, those with no history, those created without love. Have you ever thought of it?

All this to tell you that when you choose a dress, choose a (good) powerful one!

Handmade earrings: Metalica Creazioni; Boots: very old Jeffrey Campbell

Success! You're on the list.

The Ladybug’s fight for quality vintage winter nightwear

As it happens at this time every year, I am in the middle of a stressing struggle to find quality winter nightwear!

I am someone who really feels the cold (especially since I live in Milan!) and in the last few years I have been looking for quality vintage winter nightwear such as warm pajamas and nightgowns because, let’s face the truth, what you can find nowadays in the shops or online is really cheap and of the worse quality ever!

Before looking for this type of clothes on the vintage side I have been looking for ages in shops: high street offers as usual a range of poor quality products, highly toxic and basically made of plastic, so no surprise, but even sewing shops (Italian “merceria“) are now selling low quality products and this really makes me upset. When I was a kid we used to go to old sewing shops to buy good quality nightwear both in summer and winter. Warm pajamas and nightgowns were the best as they were super warm and high quality but today even in these shops quality has dramatically dropped off.

I was realizing that the fabric used for this type of nightwear is more and more the pile (also in the form of chenille) a synthetic fabric chemically produced by the petroleum, highly polluting as it was discovered that during the normal washing in the washing machine it may release more than 2000 polyester and acrylic fibers that go straight in our seas. Although pile can also be created by recycled plastic it is very difficult to find these pieces as, to be used, plastic bottles must fulfill very strict requirements, leading to higher production costs.

No other way for me than turning towards vintage, as usual! However, the offer on the vintage market is still quite limited, especially for winter nightwear (dressing gowns and slip dresses or petticoats are definitely easier to find for our summer nights!). In Italy there are basically two shops who provide quality vintage nightwear: Humana Vintage and Attilio Vintage. Humana is one of my favorite places for vintage nightwear but they have limited stock of winter nightwear and it often sells out very quickly. A good alternative is Attilio Vintage, a great idea of Gloria, who decided to recover his grandpa Attilio sewn shop archive. The old “merceria Mussi” was founded in Parma in 1946 and the archive of deadstock pieces (not only nightwear but a wide range of clothing) goes from the 60s to the 90s. They are “continuously discovered” by Gloria who sells them online, in some selected vintage markets and now also in a wonderful new shop in Parma! On their website and offline it is still possible to find good original quality vintage nightwear absolutely new.

Fun fact: when I was writing this post I found on Instagram that Tiziana from Vintage Afropicks was selling great 70s deadstock pajamas and I couldn’t help getting one for myself!

This led me to two conclusions: i) probably there will be more vintage nightwear sold on the vintage market in the next future (I am optimist!); ii) one of the great things about vintage is that you are constantly searching for something that you have in mind until, sooner or later, it appears somewhere!

Anyway, if you know more shops/sellers who may sell vintage winter ngihtwear, please share them with me as I am still struggling to make winter vintage nightwear a great alternative to the cheap poor quality pieces that seem to be the only alternative on the market right now.

Anyway, if are wondering why I am using these pictures to discuss of vintage nightwear here are a few reasons:

  • No need to show you pictures of me in my nightgown!
  • I couldn’t imagine another set of pictures that could go with it!
  • I often use this lovely vintage shirt from French vintage seller Inside the Clouds to sleep
  • I wear turbans also when I sleep (I swear! I make turbans from silk vintage scarves to protect my curly hair)

Levi’s black jeans vintage, turban handmade by Madame Ilary, sandals Clarks.

The Ladybug is a Drama Queen!

Yes, I am a drama queen.

It is something that I hate about myself and I keep struggling against my inner Drama Queen because I think that I live so much better when I can handle this and I manage to live with so much more lightness and light-hearted!

I worked a lot on this side of my personality and I think that I did a good work so far, but I needed a little reminder and that’s the reason why I cracked for this tee that reminded me that I don’t need to make drama simply because I am not Shakespeare!

I love wearing tees with a message and I love to mix them with more sophisticated pieces like a did here for a shopping session in Milan on a Saturday morning (can you tell by the big canvas bag? By the way, I love this huge canvas bag that I got from Retrock, one of the best vintage shops in Budapest).

The tee is from White Market and I mixed it here with black silk handmade culottes from Madame Ilary and a wonderful turban handmade by Madame Ilary with a Jordanian trim that I bought in Amman last year.

I completed my mix with Dxie 90s inspired sneakers and vintage silver earrings and rings.

The Ladybugs returns where she left off (aka the Blue outfit)

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (3)

When I checked my photo albums I realized that this was the last shooting that I did with Madame Ilary before the pandemic wave started. One week after this shooting we were highly recommended to stay at home and to work from home before the big lockdown. It was almost two months ago. It was still cold in Milan but sunny enough to warm our hearts and souls, ready for the spring to come.

Now spring is here and we cannot even enjoy it.

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (2)

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (4)

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (6)

I called it the blue outfit because that day I mixed some of my favorite pieces in different shades of blue:

  • Dark navy for my beautiful pompom sweater, a piece from Sézane archives that I grabbed just a few weeks before the Covid-19 emergency;
  • Classic blue for a very special vintage 60s coat that I bought during my first Vinokilo event in Milan, in December last year. When I put it on me it looked like it was just made for me and I got it for less than 30 euros!
  • Metallic blue for this pair of AMAZING Frida boots from Miss L Fire: I have been chasing them for a while because I loved the color and the vintage style…I still cannot believe that I put my hands on these wonderful boots!
  • Velvet navy for this old Madame Ilary handmade turban made of soft velvet with a plexi button, that she created for me years ago. I still remember that she gave it to me before a night at the theatre and I wore it immediately!
  • Navy denim for these lovely culottes-jeans, from an old Massimo Dutti collection;
  • Vintage navy for this cute vintage cross-body bag that I got during a super sale weekend in Turin at Humana Vintage.

Golden earrings are handmade from Metalica Creazioni.

This is where I left my life before Covid-19, I wish I can reboot from here, hopefully soon, with a new blue outfit. Prayers.

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (1)

The LadybugChronicles Blue Outfit (5)

The Ladybug’s travel memories in one outfit!

The Ladybug Chronicles Peruvian Tunic (1)

As the quarantine continues I keep looking back at some of my outfit pictures and I keep choosing those where I am wearing something that keeps me close to my travel memories.

Knowing that I am not going to travel for a while and that I will need to postpone some of the trips planned during these months, it is very sad but there’s not much that we can do about it, except acting safely and hoping for the best!

The tunic that I am wearing here has a double travel memory: I bought it in Bilbao at the Upcycling Store, one of the most incredible vintage (and new) shops there! It was not in our to-visit list but we found it in the streets of the old city and we found a lot of things there! The shop owner has Italian origins and it was lovely to chat with her and to know a bit more about her story and why she was in Spain. The tunic immediately got my attention for how rare it was: a handmade Peruvian vintage piece with a cute embroidery on the front…I couldn’t resist! Also because at the time I was planning my trip to Peru…what a coincidence! I didn’t find anything like this in Peru that’s why I am very happy that I bought it in Spain!

The Ladybug Chronicles Peruvian Tunic (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Peruvian Tunic (5)

I wore it with a handmade turban from Madame Ilary that she created with another travel memory: a printed Japanese fabric that I bought in Tokyo in a street market two years ago!

Yellow snake print wedges are from Lunatica, rings are from Francesco Tramontano while earrings are handmade from an handcrafter in Sorrento (they are very old…almost vintage too!)

The Ladybug Chronicles Peruvian Tunic (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Peruvian Tunic (4)

The Ladybug returns to the scene of crime (Gauche Caviar in Milan)

The Ladybug Chronicles Gauche Caviar 2 (1)

A couple of weeks ago I shared my first shooting in one of my favorite bars in Milan, Gauche Caviar.

The post was in Italian but I guess that you have easily imagined how much I love this place that really felt like home to me. One thing that I didn’t mention in my Italian post but that I will mention here is the music that you can listen to at Gauche Caviar: if you are a jazz lover and if you love retro music this place is not only fabulous to sip a good glass of wine or a cocktail but it is also perfect to listen to great music as a background for your conversation or just for your thoughts if you are alone.

If you live in Milan or just pass by for a quick visit, I really suggest you spend some time here as it is really worth the visit and easy to reach as it is in near the central Piazza Cinque Giornate.

The Ladybug Chronicles Gauche Caviar 2 (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Gauche Caviar 2 (2)

This is then my second post at Gauche Caviar and I went for another vintage and handmade outfit with a retro vibe that really fits the place.

It all started with this beautiful silk shirt with a ruffle on the collar and precious details that I purchased from the adorable Josephine Vintage. She is selling on Depop and Vintag incredible pieces from the past, many of them are designer’s, and she quickly became one of my favorite online vintage sellers. I paired it with black and white roses silky pants handmade by Madame Ilary: these are a very glamourous version of her Marlene trousers and I always feel so elegant when I wear them! Same for the beautiful handmade turban with a brocade fabric and vintage trimming that I keep for the “special occasions”!

Embroidered sandals are from Anniel while golden bamboo earrings are from Giovanni Raspini (I received this pair of earrings as a gift from my colleagues for my last birthday and I was going to cry for how happy I was!) .

Last but not least, a special mention for the amazing 40s velvet bag with golden chain that I got from A Rebours Vintage in Milan during my last visit. I loved it at first sight and it is incredible how such a small accessory can make every outfit great! This is the power of vintage pieces…I will never get tired of learning and praising this!

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

The Ladybug Chronicles Gauche Caviar 2 (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Gauche Caviar 2 (5)

The Ladybug plays modern 40s style

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (1)

As you know I am on my journey to more sustainable way of living, especially when it comes to clothes. My wardrobe is 80% vintage, thrifted and handmade but I still have a 20% of high street clothes that I am going to sell or still use as long as they are in good conditions. But even when I wear my high street clothes I usually do it in a vintage style, mixing them with vintage or vintage inspired pieces that make them look older than they are!

I love playing the 40s with these pieces like I am doing here, mixing a floral silk red shirt from & Other Stories and black culottes from Dixie with handmade and vintage to give it a different twist.

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (7)

The handmade turban makes it all: created with love by Madame Ilary, this purple pink piece with crystal details is inspired by the turbans of the 40s divas and it is impossible not to look like one of them when I wear it!

The leather doctor bag is a vintage piece from the early 50s: I have been looking for one like it for ages until I found my perfect match during a vintage event in Milan some years ago.

Taupe caged ankle boots are an old pair from Jeffrey Campbell, possibly the shoes I have used the most in my whole life! They are almost destroyed but I am going to wear them as long as they still have life to live!

Handmade brass gingko earrings are from the talented Made in Camper, one of my favorite jewel designers.

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles modern 40s (6)

The Ladybug and the wonderful discovery of commemorative wax prints

The Ladybug Chronicles Wax Vintage Dress (3)

I love African wax prints. This is one of the most obvious things that I have ever said as I guess that it is well known worldwide! What you may not know (yet!) is that I found out a way to mix my love for African wax prints and vintage. I realized that in the last few years it is easy to find vintage and second hand wax printed clothing in my favorite vintage shops. But I wondered: where do they come from?

I always ask for the origin of these pieces because I am very curious of their story, especially when it comes to wax prints. My curiosity led me to find out that there is a very special type of African wax print: the commemorative wax. It is a peculiar print on wax created for a special event. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found my first commemorative wax printed dress at Humana Vintage in Milan: I bought it immediately even if it was too small for me (I’m currently finding a way to wear it somehow! You know how creative I can get in such cases!), it was commemorative of an international event in Ivory Coast about at the end of the 90s.

The Ladybug Chronicles Wax Vintage Dress (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Wax Vintage Dress (2)

The second piece of my vintage commemorative wax collection is this amazing orange dress that I found on Depop last summer from the great vintage seller Blondie Girl (lovely Claudia): this beautiful dress celebrates the International Women Day congress in Cameroun in 2007. I was so excited when I saw it that I bought it immediately! I love it at the point that I wore it to celebrate my birthday last summer, when these pictures were taken!

I paired it with my beautiful African crown, handmade for me by Madame Ilary with a wax printed fabric that I was offered in Senegal and with original Indian trimmings that my friend bought for me during her trip in India.

Black sandals are from Clarks, rings are vintage Berber from Morocco, golden hoop earrings from Gogo Philip.

The Ladybug Chronicles Wax Vintage Dress (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Wax Vintage Dress (1)