How a Psychic Reading Inspired Summer’s Cool-Girl Brand




Lucy Akin—designer

How a Psychic Reading Inspired
Summer’s Cool-Girl Brand

Lucy Akin—designer, entrepreneur, self-proclaimed Italophile—has always yearned to live la dolce vita. “My friends would make fun of me because they would see what I had packed for a summer in Italy and they’d be like, ‘What trip are you going on?’” says the Ciao Lucia designer, who began spending time in Europe when she studied abroad in college. “My suitcase looked like if you met the love of your life and went on a romantic weekend on the Amalfi Coast. I had everything ready for it.”

Forget dressing for the job you want; Akin was dressing for the life she wanted. “I started embodying this girl—Lucia—who was carefree and independent,” she says. “I would go on trips by myself to different places. It just became who I was after a while.”

Fast-forward a few years and Akin was curating an achingly cool boutique on La Brea called Shop Super Street. The downside? She was totally burned-out. On a whim one day, she went to see a psychic. “The minute I sat down, he asked, ‘Why aren’t you designing your own stuff?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought about it.’”

The rest, as they say, is history. Akin sketched out six dresses inspired by her alter ego, Lucia, and a love of French New Wave that she’d picked up in Paris. She turned the sketches into samples and sold them in her store sans labels. “It slowly grew and grew and became something I wanted to do full-time,” she says. So she sold her store and launched her label.

And then the pandemic hit. “Things just kind of took off for us during COVID,” Akin marvels. “I think what happened was that everyone was cooped up, so bored, on their computers all day. And there was something about our imagery that really took people somewhere else.” A quick scroll through the brand’s sun-soaked Instagram feed and you’ll see what she means: It’s a grid of beautiful beaches, brightly hued sundresses, film photography of cool girls on vacation—wanderlust at its finest.

Akin still enjoys managing the feed and responding to DMs (“I talk to customers all day long!” she says), but her passion is creating clothes that make people feel their best: “It’s important for me that when you get your Ciao Lucia, you put it on and are like, ‘This is so cute. I look great.’”

We chatted with Akin about her love of cacio e pepe, why curating a vibe could be her second job, and—now that we’re officially 10 days into summer—what she’s eyeing and buying this season.

Favorite destination?

Rome in the summer is magic. It’s so nice. It feels like the sun stays out until, like, 11 p.m. It’s just the best.

Lucy Akin—designer at Rome

Favorite restaurants in Rome?

Nino for lunch, Piperno for dinner, Pierluigi to get engaged, and SantoPalato for life-changing pasta.

Bucket-list destination?

Passalacqua, a historic hotel on Lake Como. It just reopened and looks so glamorous.

Suitcase of choice?

I have a carry-on Away bag. It’s the hunter-green color, which I love because it feels very British. I’ve had it for six years. It’s tried-and-true. I only bring a carry-on on trips because it’s easier for planes, trains, boats… I think I can do two weeks with a carry-on. The thing is, Ciao Lucia packs down. It gets really small, especially the silky pieces—they pack down to the size of a compact.

  1. Away carry-on

    Away, $295


Staple summer pieces?

When you’re traveling, you need a dress that can transition from day to night so you can wear it a few times, and a lot of the Ciao Lucia dresses do that.

  1. Ciao Lucia Terina dress

    Ciao Lucia
    Terina dress
    goop, $495

    I could see a girl wearing that to a really cute lunch or at night for a dinner party.


  2. Ciao Lucia Nadja Dress

    Ciao Lucia
    Nadja Dress
    goop, $350

    This is my dress of the summer. I’m wearing it right now. The V-cut at the stomach could seem unflattering, but it’s actually the opposite. We added a smocked panel in the back, which makes it a universal fit.


  3. Ciao Lucia giada dress

    Ciao Lucia
    giada dress
    goop, $385

    I’m packing this for every trip. It’s a wear-to-the-beach, wear-to-lunch, wear-out-shopping-in-the-afternoon dress.


  4. Ciao Lucia Venezia sweater

    Ciao Lucia
    Venezia pullover
    goop, $325

    I have this in every color. I wear it three times a week. A cotton knit is just so classic.


  5. Ciao Lucia Paolo shorts

    Ciao Lucia
    Paolo shorts
    goop, $350

    These are my favorite shorts. They’re cut at an angle, so they make your legs look nice and long. I have a hard time with denim shorts—I need them to be a little A-line. And these are a bea-uuu-ti-ful blue.


If I could buy only one swimsuit this season…

This is giving la dolce vita. Such a cute vintage-looking top.

  1. Bondi Born bikini top

    bikini top
    goop, $150


  2. BONDI BORN Bikini bottoms

    Bikini bottoms
    goop, $140


Knit pick?

This is the ideal summer sweater. I love stripes.

  1. G. Label Baxter chunky striped sweater

    G. Label
    Baxter chunky striped sweater
    goop, $595



I will absolutely wear pajamas to the beach.

  1. Desmond and Dempsey Pocket Set

    Desmond and Dempsey
    Pocket Set
    goop, $200


On my feet, you’ll always find…

Sandals. I get made fun of because I wear them year-round in Los Angeles. These look like the perfect pair.

  1. Emme Parsons Sandals

    Emme Parsons
    goop, $360


Any travel plans this summer?

I just got back from the South of France—we did an influencer trip there—so I tacked on Capri beforehand, which was great. I might be going to Pantelleria at the end of July, but I haven’t solidified those plans yet.

Lucy Akin—designer
Lucy Akin—designer
Lucy Akin—designer
Lucy Akin—designer

Best skin-care tip for travel?

I always bring a good face spray to refresh my skin because I end up feeling dirty after a flight.

I cake this cream on at night to bring back some moisture.

  1. Kora Organics hydration mist

    KORA Organics
    hydration mist
    goop, $42


  2. Augustinus Bader rich cream

    Augustinus Bader
    rich cream
    goop, $280


Desert-island product?

I am a redhead, so I pack SPF 50. Supergoop Play is my go-to sunscreen.

  1. Supergoop everyday lotion

    everyday lotion
    Supergoop, $32


On your lips?

I like a light wash for summer.

  1. goop Beauty GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio
    goop, $42


Currently reading?

Pachinko. I’m not quite ready to watch the show, but I know I’m going to enjoy the book.

  1. Min Jin Lee Pachinko

    Min Jin Lee
    Bookshop, $17


Favorite podcast?

I listen to The goop Podcast a lot, I swear. [Laughs.] I’m really sad 2 Dope Queens is over. If you’ve never listened, I would go back and listen to the old episodes. Otherwise, I love How I Built This—very inspiring for a young entrepreneur.

Music you have on repeat?

I’ll plug myself here: the Ciao Lucia playlists, which I create. We sort of have a cult following for them, and we just released a dance party playlist. I truly listen to it all the time.

ciao lucia dance party
Spotify, free


On your wish list?

  1. Lizzie Mandler Necklace

    Lizzie Mandler
    goop, $4,045

    A wear-with-everything necklace that will never go out of style.


  2. Beck Fine Jewelry ring

    Beck Fine Jewelry
    goop, $2,950

    I’ve had my eye on this brand for a while. I love the shape of this ring.


  3. Laura Lombardi earrings

    Laura Lombardi
    goop, $128

    I have quite the ear stack, and they’re all gold hoops. These would be the perfect anchor.


What’s next for Ciao Lucia?

Another tennis collection—we’re launching our second capsule at the end of July.

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