The Ladybug and the importance of being Angela

The Ladybug Chronicles Angela Davis (1)

April 2012. I was walking down the streets of Harlem with the biggest excitement caused by the place and all its legacies and meanings; I stopped by to talk to a lovely man selling tees representing people and moments of the African-American culture and history. “What’s your name?” – he asks. “Angela”. “Ah, Angela…like Angela Davis”! He didn’t have a tee with her of my size but he really made my day when he associated my name with hers! “Yes, Like Angela Davis” I said with a big smile.

He didn’t know (but I told him afterwards) that Angela Davis is the second person I am proud of wearing their name (the first one is my grandma) because she is one of the women that I admire most and a true inspiration for me. Sometimes, when I am feeling angry and upset about the political, social and cultural situation of my country I read again what she wrote to find again the force to fight.

The Ladybug Chronicles Angela Davis (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Angela Davis (4)

Many of my friends and family know about my love for Angela Davis, including Simona who told me about this beautiful artwork outside the bookstore Les Mots in Milan. We immediately head there to take some pictures and when I saw it, her smiling with her fist up, I immediately thought about her quote: “But there’s a message there for everyone and it is that people can unite, that democracy from below can challenge oligarchy, that imprisoned migrants can be freed, that fascism can be overcome, and that equality is emancipatory”.

It was a coincidence but that day I wore a tee and canvas bag from the talented artist Massira Keita: a wonderful Parisian girl with African origins who makes the most beautiful drawings with an afro twist. When I saw the Syra design, a young woman with a wax turban I fell in love with the style and I got the tee and the bag (and the iPhone case!) that I wore here trying to re-create the same style on me (this was done on purpose, not a coincidence!): military jacket from an old Zara collection, black skinny jeans from Acne Studios, snake silver ankle boots from Divine Follie and wax headwrap from Grazia Ferrari (better known as Gracchia F!). The black round sunglasses were courtesy of Simona to complete the Syra look! I added a personal touch with my silver Nepalese necklace and loop earrings.

The Ladybug Chronicles Angela Davis (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Angela Davis (3)

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The Ladybug reveals the secret of the “combo” style

The LadybugChronicles Golden Combo (3)

Since I know Ilaria from Madame Ilary I’ve been developing a strange addiction for what I call the “combo style”!  The combo style is the combination of a turban or headwrap with a skirt, culottes, trousers or even a dress of the same fabric and pattern. Usually when Ilaria sews something for me she asks: I have more fabric of this, do you want a turban too? And my answer is always yes!

I can wear the two pieces separately and mix them with other styles but I really have a thing for wearing them together! The only thing that you need to pay attention to when combining the patterns this way is to have a “neutral” piece between them, just not to overload your outfit with different pattern and colors.

In this case I used a beautiful vintage linen white shirt from the 70s that I bought at Humana Vintage for a few euros but it is one of my favorite pieces ever. The fabric is wonderful, candid and fresh and I have been dreaming of a shirt like this for ages! Also the little trimming on the top are adorable but you cannot really see them from these pictures.

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The LadybugChronicles Golden Combo (2)

The LadybugChronicles Golden Combo (5)

The LadybugChronicles Golden Combo (7)

Regarding the combo, this was the first time that everything started from the turban and not the opposite: I got the turban first and even if I saw the culottes and I loved the golden palms pattern I only got the culottes many months later, when I saw them hanging in her show room and thought “Hey, they are perfect for my turban”!

I wore my outfit easy and comfy with flat gladiator sandals from Clarks and amazing jewelry:  brass shield and earrings are handmade from Metalica Creazioni, while the blackamoor brooch is a vintage piece from Déjà-vu Vintage.

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The Ladybug embracing her curves in a flattering vintage dress

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (5)

When I first published a picture of this outfit on my social media I received a lot of compliments from many people: friends, colleagues or readers saying that they were not used to see me in such feminine clothes, showing my curves but that I should wear them more often as they liked it a lot.

I had to admit that I don’t like to show my curves too much, not that I don’t embrace them, I totally do, but I always feel like I’m trying to “expose” them and I start feeling uncomfortable.

But when I was editing the pictures and writing this blog post I realized that I loved so many of the pictures and that I was genuinely smiling in most of them. I couldn’t help thinking of what people told me and I guessed that I should give this type of dress another chance as the results seem very interesting!

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (6)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (7)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (2)

This beautiful blue dress has a lovely shape, color and print (I love the colored hearts printed on it!) and it is an 80s vintage gem from Chiara Boni, now on sale on Opherty & Ciocci site. Oh, apparently it also gives joy and happiness when you wear it! This is also the reason why I wanted to take pictures of this dress in a park, as it represents the natural peace of mind or what it looks like it the most in a big city like Milan!

I paired the dress with old L’autre Chose platform shoes and beautiful bold vintage earrings from IZ Vintage (my new Turkish discovery!).

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (8)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (9)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Opherty Ciocci Chiara Boni dress (10)

The Ladybug’s third vintage dress in a row (+ a retro inspired surprise!)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (1)

I have already showed you two of my new bargain vintage dresses from Humana Vintage in Milan, all bought during an incredible end-of-summer sales session. Here is the third one:  a lovely vintage piece, that again I can’t manage to date but that looks like an end of 70s dress, super casual and too cute to leave it there, also because it was priced only 5 euros! Hehe!

Humana Vintage always makes me happy and the great thing about it is that not only you buy a lot of lovely things for tiny prices so you don’t feel too guilty for buying new clothes, but it is also for a good cause! It is rare to find charity shops in Italy, while they are very popular in the UK for example, but I still hope to see more in the next few years, especially those selling vintage and not only second hand.

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (2)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (7)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (3)

I paired my new dress with two lovely bird brooches with a vintage vibe (although they are new) from Dresslily where I found so many retro inspired jewelry pieces that I couldn’t decide which one to get. Same thing when I wore them, in fact I decided to wear them both together as I really love to put some little pieces together for a bigger effect!

Also my bag is vintage and guess where it comes from? Yes, Humana Vintage again! It is a lovely piece from the 70s that I got some time ago because I literally fell in love with it while I was helping a friend buying a vintage bag. She couldn’t find her shoulder’s soul mate but I did!

Tan flat sandals are from Clarks, while the animal print tiny belt is from an old Topshop collection.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (5)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (4)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (6)

The Ladybug Humana pale blue dress (8)

The Ladybug and that Josephine Baker inspiration

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Brown Dress (1)

Josephine Baker is definitely one of my biggest girls crush and I may say even an inspiration for me.  Dancer and singer, probably the first black “diva” of the 20s and 30s , she used her popularity to fight racism and she supported Martin Luther King’s fight for black people emancipation and civil rights. A strong and wonderful woman who is also a fashion inspiration for me and for all the women of all eras, at the point that it is today easy to find jewels and vintage fashion inspired by her.

If you are a blackamoor jewelry lover you may have found here and there some pieces called Josephinebecause they represent her. One of these pieces is the vintage brooch from the 50s that I am wearing here (I also have more modern laser-cut versions of Josephine Baker image) that I got from Déjà-Vu Vintage – my friend Valentina knows very well what I like as she showed it to me immediately when she found it!

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Brown Dress (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Brown Dress (2)

I paired it with a vintage brown printed dress from Humana Vintage, another great bargain find during the end of summer sales!  Looks like a piece from the 70s but I couldn’t manage to date it so far, anyone has an idea on the possible decade? Some told me it may be from the 50s but I am not convinced…

Tan shoes and belt are vintage inspired Shoegasm t-bar found in New York and Topshop. My golden earrings are vintage too.

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Brown Dress (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Brown Dress (5)

The Ladybug goes green(er)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (1)

I don’t know what’s happening lately but I am falling in love with green. It is one of these colors that I have underestimated for ages for some unknown reasons, that I wear rarely and that I immediately toss when it comes to make a color choice.

But lately something has happened between us, I buy more and more green and in the last few months I bought a lot of green accessories which is a big news for me!

Anyway I don’t think that when I saw this vintage silk dress at Humana Vintage in Milan I loved it just for its color; I really loved everything about it: the shape, the fabric, the print, how it fitted, the price (it was during one of the end of summer promotions and I got it for 5 euros!) and of course the green color!

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (6)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (2)

It was not in mint conditions, it had some stains but I loved it so much that I didn’t care and I also used for work more than once. I think it is from the 80s, that’s why I paired it with 80s golden earrings from Lullaby in Barcelona and with an 80s golden cuff that I bought at the Antiques fair in Sorrento many years ago.

Only modern piece, my adored Clarks gladiator sandals in which I spent almost all summer!

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (7)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Humana Green Dress (5)

The Ladybug’s best recipe: vintage, handmade and African wax

The Ladybug Chronicles A-line Wax Dress (3)

There are clothes in my wardrobe for which I have a special love. It happens that when I wear them I feel happy and really myself, but sometimes only by looking at them hanging in my closet they give me the good vibes of the memories that they bring with them.

This beautiful Heka Couture dress handmade with one of my favorite African print (personally picked up in a Dakar market…what a beautiful memory!) is one of these pieces that I love so much: the fabric, the shape (A-line with 3/4 sleeves) the colors, everything is just perfect!

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The Ladybug Chronicles A-line Wax Dress (2)

I wore it on my first Milanese weekend after the summer break (yes, I’m still tanned in these pics!) and I paired it with a beautiful handmade turban by Madame Ilary (one of my favorite turbans from my huge collection!) with a golden palm trees pattern and simple black heels (8 on Yoox).

I added my touch of vintage with my 90s silver hoops and my 60s bamboo bangles (from Ebay!). I completed my arm decoration with a fantastic handcrafted flower bracelet made of shells and raffia that Madame Ilary brought me from her summer holiday in Mallorca.   

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The Ladybug Chronicles A-line Wax Dress (1)

The Ladybug has found the One: the red Odicini dress at Opherty & Ciocci

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (1)

Do you know this incredible feeling of falling in love with something? That you can’t stop thinking of it, that you want it so badly and you can’t live without it?

Well, this is my feeling with this fantastic dress. When I was asked to choose a piece from Opherty & Ciocci and to style it for the blog my first choice was this amazing vintage red Odicini dress! I have looked at it for so long on their website and this was nothing compared to the feeling that I had when Marco brought it to me in Milan: it is wonderful, no picture can make it justice! I shouldn’t be surprised considered that it was created by the hands of the Italian couturier Andrea Odicini, one of the most talented designers in my personal opinion.

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (2)

The shape is just amazing and the volumes are incredible: I couldn’t stop smiling when I wore it (can you tell from these pictures?!). I usually don’t wear a lot of red clothes but this dress definitely made me change my mind on red!

I didn’t wear anything else: just a pair of black pumps and vintage 80s golden earrings because all my attention was focused on this piece of art!

If you want to buy it, it is still available here …but do it quickly before I buy it for myself!!

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (6)

The Ladybug Chronicles Odicini red (7)

The Ladybug and the little Japanese vintage dress

The Ladybug Chronicles Japanese Dress (1)

When I was in Tokyo last summer I got completely crazy for the amazing vintage scene of this incredible city. Entire areas full of vintage shops (if you are interested I dedicated a post lately to the best areas for vintage shopping in Tokyo), amazing vintage clothes and accessories almost everywhere, wonderful vintage designer finds and of course the best vintage kimonos I’ve ever seen!

My credit card was warming up when we arrived in town but it exploded one day in Harajuku when I found the famous Chicago Thrift Store, one of the biggest and most famous vintage shop in town. I really had to stop myself from buying half of the store (still I didn’t completely manage!) and I was lucky enough to be quite big for the average Japanese size so many things just didn’t fit.

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The Ladybug Chronicles Japanese Dress (5)

Among the tons of clothes, dresses and kimonos that I tried I had a crush on this little vintage floral dress. I wore it immediately when I came back home, with a tan Topshop belt and a pair of retro t-bar shoes from Sohegasm that I found in NYC during my last trip there.

The cameo ring is from Alcozer & Co in Florence, while the tiny yellow rings are Japanese too: the “universe” one comes from a lovely shop in Tokyo while the other ring is a vintage find from a lovely vintage shop in Nara. The green earrings are handmade from my talented auntie (Soleiado shop in Lampedusa).

The Ladybug Chronicles Japanese Dress (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Japanese Dress (4)

The Ladybug’s autumn surprise: Bucharest

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (14)

There are trips that are meant to be, like my little weekend in Bucharest. I had to go there for work with a friend in September but then the plans changed and I was a bit disappointed because I haven’t been back to Romania since I was a child and I was very curious to see Bucharest after many years.

I didn’t remember much about my first visit but having many Romanian colleagues and friends I was intrigued by this city. My friend was as disappointed as I was so we decided to have a look at the flights to see if we could go anyway for a weekend; as they were quite cheap we immediately booked a flight.

While reading a few travel guides on Bucharest my initial excitement slowed down a bit because I couldn’t find so many things to visit and I must admit that before traveling there my expectations were quite low. But Bucharest surprised me at a point that I didn’t expect: it is an incredible modern city at night full of life and artsy vibes but it is also so decadently retro and vintage in many corners that I was thrilled! The historical bars and shops, the cafés and the decors of the Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse made me think of a little Eastern Paris. The weather was amazing and the sun was warm enough to bring people outside and to enjoy the little bars and parks that are almost everywhere!

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (4)

We enjoyed the beautiful orthodox churches (Sfantul Anton and Sfantul Spiridon were my favorite), the beautiful parks (Cismigiu and Bordei are the best), the amazing  buildings (the Parliament building, CEC buildings and many more) and the Monasteries (the Stavropoleos Monastery is fantastic!), the old town (especially Lipscani) the new residential areas with the incredible Embassies buildings and their vibrant life, the Jewish area and even a Sunday trip to the Lake!

The weekend was full of visiting and activities but also full of very good food and vintage shopping!

There are not many vintage shops in town but let me mention two of them that are definitely worth the visit: New Retro is a tiny vintage shop on Lipscani, the main shopping street of Bucharest where Adina, the lovely owner, has so many nice things that you will love hunting there! I bought a black leather skirt but I would have bought more because her pieces are really the best in town! You will easily find her by the mannequin dressed in vintage in the middle of Lipscani!

If you want to walk a bit (which was our favorite activity in Bucharest and also the best way to get in contact with the city and to find out more about its hidden corners) you can visit the super tiny but lovely vintage shop Op in Strada Silfidelor with a lot of vintage 80s sportswear  (and amazing leather jackets!).

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (6)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (7)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (8)

Eventually, if you want to enjoy some antiques and vintage markets check the Antiques Market in Lipscani (we went there on Sunday and we loved it although it is a little bit pricy, you have to negotiate a lot!) or the Vitan Market (Targul Vitan), one of the largest flea markets in town that takes place each Sunday. If you are lucky enough (I wasn’t) you can also have the chance to be there during the monthly Yard Sale vintage market (follow their Facebook page for the market dates). I got this information from a lovely reader a few months ago but there wasn’t any date while I was there.

 You will be surprised also about the amazing food in Romania: there is a lot of meat (which is not good for vegetarians!) but as I still eat fish I found many interesting options and some great places that you should check. If you want to eat typical Romanian food there are two restaurants that you cannot miss: the Caru Cu Bere, an institution in town with the most amazing retro décor, probably the most famous restaurant in town – it may look a bit touristic but you have to go! The second one is Hanul Lui Manuc, the oldest hotel in Bucharest that is now a very crowded restaurant where I ate the best garlic fried carp ever!

If you want something more modern and less traditional we enjoyed the lovely Simbio where we ate in a beautiful garden (just a little bit far from the city center) or the fantastic Biutiful (by the Lake), an amazing restaurant with delicious food (and the best mint lemonade) with a spectacular view on the Herestrau Lake (this was a great suggestion from a friend of mine). If you love a bit of underground we madly fell in love with the Fabrica, an alternative bar and restaurant situated in an old abandoned factory, that we found on the app Like a Local: we were mad about this place, one of the coolest places in town! Food in general is quite cheap in Romania but the quality was really high almost everywhere.

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (9)

The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (10)

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The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (11)

If you have the time (I didn’t) many people suggested a visit to the biggest Spa of Bucharest, it seems that it is an amazing experience but I didn’t think about that before traveling and it was a bit complicated to combine it with our activities but I have noted this for the next time.

Let me also give you an interesting suggestion that I had from a friend of mine and that I found incredibly useful: if you walk around a lot, especially at night, taxis in Bucharest are very cheap but if you download the Taxify app it will be super easy (and cheaper) for you to get one in a few minutes and pay through the app with your credit card, also from/to the airport (definitely the best way).

If you are wondering where to sleep in Bucharest I will tell you about my fairytale experience at the Athénée Palace Hilton in my next post!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Bucharest (15)