The Ladybug answers THE question: did you visit EXPO?

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (9)

If you live in Milan I’m pretty sure that the most frequently asked question you have answered in the last few months is always the same: did you visit EXPO? It happens at least once a day and it may come from a friend, a colleague, someone you meet in the subway, your family and friends leaving somewhere else, the owner of the bar where you use to get your coffee in the morning: the question is there and you need an answer! Also you need to get prepared for a second question coming in case of affirmative answer: How is it?

Well, as I had to cope with this question for the last few months I decided that, as EXPO happens in my town and it is “just around the corner” I had at least to step in and see what it was all about!

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (2)

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The occasion came a few weeks ago, when we organized a ladies night out with my colleagues to go to EXPO in the evening to watch “Alla Vita!”, the Cirque du Soleil show especially created for the EXPO: it is a one-hour show at the open air theatre and if you haven’t seen it yet and have never watched a Cirque du Soleil show before you can’t miss it (you have time until the 31st of August). You can admire the dancers, acrobats and artists who made the history of Cirque du Soleil and believe me, the show is really worth a visit!

At the same time you can take advantage of the five-euro ticket for the night entry to have a look around and see what EXPO is, while sipping a Colombian mojito or eating Belgian fries with your friends! You can also take pictures at the China, Ghana or Nepal pavilions or get lost in the colors and scents from your motherland (yes, I needed to have a look at the Sicilian pavilion!). Of course the main attraction remains the famous Tree of Life, incredible at night with its colored lightening; I guess you have seen it in pictures everywhere but I must confess that seeing it for real is an experience!

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (3)

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (5)

If my answer to the (in)famous question is then “Yes”, I’m not sure that I’m really prepared for the second one: How is it? As I didn’t spend too much time there and only had a quick look around before the show I allowed myself a second chance for a whole day, just to make sure that I can give a serious advice while answering the second question; in the meanwhile I just answer: “Seems cool!”

As I wanted to do EXPO in a vintage style, I wore a lovely dress from Episode Vintage in Bruxelles, Lazzari shoes, Michael Kors bucket bag, Topshop belt and Valentino sunglasses.

Be sure that I will share my second “serious” visit here but now I want to know: did you visit EXPO? And…how is it? 😉

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (8)

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (7)

The Ladybug Chronicles EXPO Milano  (10)

The Ladybug Goes to EXPOsed: Milan Through the Eyes of Its Artists

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A few weeks ago my friend Ilaria invited me to the opening of a very special photography exhibition. She didn’t say a lot because she wanted for it to be a surprise; I only knew the day, the time and the place (La Fabbrica del Vapore, one of my favorite spots in Milan).

When we met there, she told me that she was part of the exhibit because she was photographed and exposed as one of the artists chosen to represent Milan and the city’s artsy residents.

The idea of the talented photographer, Marina Spironetti, was to offer visitors a new view of Milan through portraits of 184 artists living in Milan. The artists were photographed in their favorite spot or the places that best represented them or their art. Actors, dancers, designers, writers, musicians and my lovely costumer, Ilaria told us a story about their Milan through portraits representing the town in a new and unconventional way. Marina took pictures for more than a year, over 2000 shots, and let me tell you that the photographs are amazing.

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I also loved the way the photographs were displayed (the spot was perfect and so was the lighting), not to mention the sonic backdrop that gave score to the exhibit. The sound sculpture, curated by the sound designer Luca De Marinis, uses the voices of the photographed artists to accompany the visitors during the exploration of the exhibit.

Of course, I couldn’t avoid taking a picture of Ilaria’s photograph (she chose her beautiful apartment and studio in Milan with a lot of vintage pieces, antiques and ethnic homeware), and of course I couldn’t help wearing one of her creations: a beautiful handmade shantung turban with vintage button.

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Among the many photographs that I liked, there is also this one (maybe one of my favorites) of the actress Linda Caridi at the Central Station in Milan.

Along with my turban, I also wore a leather jacket by H&M, striped Zara shirt, Acne Studios black jeans, thrifted Marc by Marc Jacobs pointy flats, and a Miu Miu handbag.

You have time to visit the exhibit, on display until the 23rd of May.  So… if you are around for the EXPO, you can experience a different, artsy view of Milan too!

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The Ladybug’s Unexpected Journey Through Alfa Castaldi’s Art: His Life in Pictures at the Galleria Sozzani

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The glamorous combo of aperitivo + art expo has become a habit for my friend Nita and I here in Milan. We try at least twice a month to meet for an art event followed by a girlish aperitivo in town. One of our favorite venues is definitely the Galleria Franca Sozzani in corso Como here in Milan where these two things match perfectly (plus some good shopping at 10 Corso Como).

We’ve were here over a month ago for the celebratory art expo of the Gallery and we returned a few weeks ago to visit the photography exhibition on Alfa Castaldi that was held until the end of March.

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I was particularly touched by this collection as it followed this amazing Milanese photographer’s artistic life through his wonderful pictures. He is best known for his fashion work on Vogue, but his artistic career is much more than fashion photography: his eye not only encapsulated Milan during the ’50s, but also a view of Italy’s popular and rural areas. This showing highlights Castaldi’s fashion and international spotlights on Paris, Algeria, London and all the places that represents a step in his life and work. This, all through experimentation, reportage, portraits, all the facets of an all-around artist.

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The expo starts with a section entirely dedicated to Anna Piaggi, the fashion icon and journalist who was also his beloved wife. They shared the love for constant research, aesthetics, fashion renovation and invention. They also worked together for Vogue and created some of the most iconic reportage of the Italian magazine.

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But Alfa Castaldi is also a photo-journalist: his pictures taken in rural Italy for Vogue Homme were a real surprise for me. I didn’t imagine I’d find these kind of pictures in this exhibition. But I also realized that calling him a fashion photographer means putting a huge limitation to his art. Even his most glamorous pictures are often taken behind the scenes in designers’ show rooms or catwalks where fashion is still a discovery and not a “show.”

Some of his most famous pictures were exposed there, like “Nudo di Marina à la Klimt” (I’ve talked about this picture that I adore during my visit at the expo “Addio Anni 70” in September here in Milan) or “Pillole.”

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You can see many of his pictures on the site www.alfacastaldi.com, a real online photographic archive created by his son with a database of thousands of pictures from this wonderful artist.

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