Inspired by an AU by Asian-simba
Alya stared down at the stats for la_mode_coccinelle with glee. She had been posting a picture – or multiple pictures – to Ladybug's Instagram account almost every day for a couple weeks now. The photos were visually stunning, she made sure of that. Still, she hadn't expected to gather such a large following in such a short amount of time.
At this point, it really was Ladybug's Instagram instead of her own. Several people who had commented on the photos had called the otherwise-anonymous model Ladybug, and so the moniker was official.
Alya scrolled eagerly through the notifications, looking to see which photos were garnering the most interest. The account was an unusual mix of photos that Marinette had posed for and candid photos she had been entirely unaware of. There was no consistency to the sort of style that Marinette wore – she might be wearing a flouncy yellow sundress one day and a sleeveless black leather jacket the next. One element that never changed, though, was that her face was always hidden. When it wasn't hidden naturally by something in the photo, such as the brim of her hat, it was always blocked out by a small strip of ladybug print.
Alya had taken the time after she had first made the account to really cement Ladybug's presence. She had followed several more indie fashion designers and aspiring models, and many of them had followed her back. She had also followed several big-name designers as well, including Agreste Designs and Gabriel Agreste himself, whom she knew Marinette idolized.
She had not yet followed her friend's longtime celebrity crush, who was none other than Gabriel's son Adrien. The young man had rocketed into his modeling career at a young age, in part thanks to his father, and Marinette had been mooning after him since collège. She wasn't as vocal about it now, and she might have left all her posters in her childhood bedroom, but Alya knew.
As much as she had made fun of Marinette for her crush, part of Alya hoped that if the account really took off, then it would be enough to get Adrien to follow back. As it was now, la_mode_coccinelle would be just another fan. But if Ladybug actually was someone before she followed him, then maybe she would catch his attention. It was a long shot, sure, but if Alya could do this one thing for her best friend, then maybe Marinette wouldn't be as upset with her when she ultimately found out about the Instagram amount.
la_mode_coccinelle Working a 90s grunge theme today! The top is a cotton-polyester blend and the shorts are distressed and treated with bleach. As always, every stich was sewn by Ladybug herself!
#90s #grunge #fashion #model #indiefashion #instafashion #instafashionista #clothes #designer #cute #ladybug
Until that time, Alya was having fun with her project, and she had no plans to stop any time soon.
That couldn't be right.
She closed out of the app and restarted it.
"Mon dieu," Alya whispered in disbelief as she logged into Ladybug's Instagram after class one day. The follower count had jumped from just past two and a half thousand to nearly fourteen thousand overnight, and she couldn't believe her eyes. What was happening? Or rather, what had happened?
She frantically scrolled down through the notifications, but she couldn't find anything that stood out in the absolute mass of new notifications. There had to be a reason for Ladybug's sudden popularity though, right? Alya had been carefully cultivating a couple hundred followers a week, but this was something else entirely. Had someone famous followed her? But even if they had, it would only show up under the 'following' notifications and not nearly this many people would have seen it.
Alya puzzled over it all the way back to the apartment she shared with Marinette. She wasn't complaining about the sudden attention, not at all! But when Instagram kept blowing up her phone as she gained followers every couple minutes, she had to wonder.
And so, as soon as she was safe in her bedroom, she did what any other person would do when faced with a sudden influx of notifications and popularity. She Googled it. Specifically, she Googled 'Instagram la_mode_coccinelle.'
The first few things that popped up were the account itself and some of the posts she had commented on, but the headline for the entry a couple results down made her pause. And gasp. She didn't believe her eyes at first, but a rush of giddiness threatened to consume her as it sunk in.
Somebody at Buzzfeed had done an exposé – in English – on the mysterious designer-slash-model known only as 'Ladybug,' and it had gained traction. A lot of traction. It was trending on Twitter. There was, thankfully, a French translation of the article, and Alya read it eagerly, her heart in her throat.
We're In Love With This Instagram Account And You Should Be Too
Kylie Jenner? Gigi Hadid? Adrien Agreste? Who are they? Step aside, top models, there's a new contender in town, and she's something to watch.
Known to her Instagram followers only as 'Ladybug,' this French model-slash-designer isn't quite taking Instagram by storm, but she certainly should be! Who is Ladybug, you may ask? No one actually knows.
[First photo of Ladybug in blue dress]
A couple weeks ago, the Instagram account la_mode_coccinelle posted this photo of a gorgeous young woman with her face covered by the photographer's thumb. Since then, the account has posted new photos almost every day of that same woman, and every day she's wearing something entirely different and absolutely stunning. The only repeats in outfits are in the candid photos the photographer sometimes posts, which we all live for in hopes of getting a glimpse into this mystery woman's life.
[Photo of Ladybug in 1940s vintage]
So what? You ask. What makes this account and this woman any different from all the rest? The difference here is that Ladybug is entirely anonymous, although we know she's French from the captions and the backgrounds of some of her photos. She's not looking to be famous. She's also not wearing designer clothes, which brings me to the other difference. The other difference, if the account is to be believed, is that Ladybug both designs and creates all the outfits she wears.
[Photo of Ladybug in front of the Eiffel Tower]
As you can see in these photos, Ladybug doesn't have a theme to her sense of style. She'll wear 1940s vintage one day and a midriff-baring crop top the next! She certainly keeps us on our toes, and it's always exciting to see what she does next!
[Photo of Ladybug in sleeveless leather jacket, white crop top, and high-waisted shorts]
Keep an eye out, world, because la_mode_coccinelle is going places, and you won't want to miss it! There's no doubt about it, Ladybug's fashion sense is #goals.
[Candid photo of Ladybug]
- Alison Reyes is the UK lifestyle editor for Buzzfeed and is based in London
"Merde," was all Alya could say when she finished. Was Marinette really that popular? Had she made Marinette that popular? The answer to both these questions was a resounding yes, and when she checked the account again, it had already gained several more followers.
Over the next few days, Alya kept an eye on it. She watched in utter amazement as the article made the rounds on Twitter and Tumblr, as well as a few other platforms she herself didn't keep up with. Marinette was Internet famous, and she didn't even know it.
Marinette, of course, was oblivious to it all. She continued to wear her outfits and do her own thing, going to class and designing new clothes and working in her parents' bakery. The newness of dressing up had worn off, and now it was simply habit. Even her parents had gotten used to seeing her in plunging necklines and elegant dresses, and while they might not entirely approve of the former, they wholeheartedly supported her in all of her endeavors.
"Mari," Alya said on one of their weekend strolls around Paris, "lean against the bridge and look out over the Seine."
Marinette rolled her eyes playfully, as she always did. Today she was dressed in a bohemian fashion, layers and prints that should have clashed were instead paired artfully together. Simple knotted sandals protected her feet. "The wind is blowing in the wrong direction, but I assume you want it to be," she said.
"Of course," Alya replied easily. "How would anyone have time to spend looking at the clothes if they spent all of it staring at your face?"
"You're weird," Marinette said as she complied.
"It's called art."
They weren't on the Pont des Arts, and city of Paris had banned love locks years ago, but that hadn't stopped a few rebellious couples from hanging them anyway. The few that remained on the bridge complimented Marinette's outfit, and Alya was very pleased with the aesthetic of the photos she took.
Later that night, Marinette was hard at work on her latest project, a gothic piece with a lot of black ruffles and lace and a corset to match. The corset was the most challenging part – she refused to go out and buy one when everything else she wore was handmade. Still, she welcomed the challenge, and was sewing in the boning when it happened.
"Holy SHIT! MARINETTE!"
Marinette immediately let up on the foot pedal, not wanting to screw up anything more than the little divot she'd put in the seam when Alya had screamed. She was about to call back and ask what was wrong when Alya came barreling into her room. The door hit the wall with a loud bang.
"Marinette! We've done it!" Alya screeched, jumping up and down in her excitement.
"Done … what?"
"Adrien Agreste is following us on Instagram! Oh my god!"
Marinette froze. None of what her best friend had said made any sense. Taking shallow breaths, she unfroze slowly. She put the corset down and stood to face Alya, confusion making her head spin.
"A- Adrien Agreste is following us? On Instagram? Alya, what did you do!?"
Alya offered her a sheepish smile. "So I may have been posting all those photos of you in your outfits to an Instagram account that I made. Which may have been featured in a Buzzfeedarticle last week. Which may have almost four hundred thousand followers already. Which may have caught the attention of Adrien Agreste. And he may have, uh, followed … us?"
Marinette didn't know where to start, much less what to say. Her best friend had been posting her pictures on Instagram? The account had been featured on Buzzfeed? She had caught the attention of Adrien Agreste? The man she had been crushing on since she was thirteen? That was almost seven years ago now! Actually, she didn't know if she could say anything at all. In fact, she was pretty sure that she couldn't breathe, and that Alya was telling her not to hyperventilate, and that the last thing she knew was that she was going to kill her best friend.
And then everything went black.
She woke up a few moments later, blinking back tears as Alya handed her a cup of water. She sipped slowly as she tried to work everything over in her mind. It was too much. Had Alya really been going behind her back this entire time?
"If it helps," Alya said awkwardly, "Your face isn't showing in any of the photos I've posted. It's either been hidden, or I photoshopped a bar over it. Nobody knows you as Marinette – to the world, you're just Ladybug."
That did help, a little bit. "When did you start?" Marinette asked through tears she couldn't stop from rolling down her face.
"That first night we went through your wardrobe," her friend admitted. "I took some pictures of you in that blue dress, then covered your face on impulse and took a couple more. I don't know why I did, I just thought it would be artsy, or whatever. Then I made an Instagram account and posted one of them, pretty much for shits and giggles. I just kept doing that, and the next thing I knew, I had a couple hundred followers."
Marinette sighed and stared down into her water cup. "I think – I think I need some time to think about this," she said. "But … could I see the photos you've posted already?"
"Oh, yeah, absolutely," Alya said. She immediately pulled out her phone and, silently, she handed it over.
Marinette set the now-empty cup down and turned her full attention on the screen in front of her. As much as she hated to admit it, as much as she wanted to be mad at her best friend for going behind her back, she couldn't.
The pictures were absolutely beautiful. Alya was a brilliant photographer, and when combined with Marinette's skill with fashion and Instagram's filters, it made for something that one could stare at for ages.
"I look so good," she said with amazement as she scrolled through the photos. She read the captions and skimmed through the comments, and she realized what an incredible thing Alya had managed to put together. In fact, she started crying again, but this time with love for her best friend.
Several minutes later, she was able to breathe evenly again.
"Okay," she said.
"Yeah. Let's do this. You've already got this far, and that was without my cooperation. Just think of what we could do together!"
Alya smirked. "You just want Adrien Agreste's attention, don't you."
"I – uh, well. That may be part of it, but I'd honestly forgotten for a moment that he was following us," Marinette admitted. Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. "Mon dieu! Adrien Agreste is following us!"
Both girls squealed a little.
"Are we following him back?" Marinette asked eagerly.
"We're not, actually. I was kind of waiting to see if Ladybug took off before I followed him – he just beat me to it!" Alya exclaimed.
"Well then," Marinette said, clicking through to the model's profile with shaky thumbs. She took a second to admire his face, to stare at those green eyes she could never get enough of. "I think it's about time we did."
Two seconds later, the button was pressed, and la_mode_coccinelle was following adrienagreste.
Not bad, for a simple little experiment.
I unfortunately can't take credit for the plot - that all goes to asian-simbae. I'm only responsible for its execution :)
Things should pick up a little bit after this!