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 carry-on Away, $295

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
    BONDI BORN bikini top goop, $150
  2. BONDI BORN Bikini bottoms
    BONDI BORN 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 Sandals 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
    Supergoop everyday lotion Supergoop, $32

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 Pachinko 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.

Spotify ciao lucia dance party Spotify, free

What’s next for Ciao Lucia?

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

More from Our Favorite goop Shop Designers

Love, a Stained Shirt, and a Luxurious Set of Pajamas

Why We All Want to Be (and Dress) Like Natalie Martin

We hope you enjoy the book recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page.