The Ladybug’s chronicle of a fairy tale: Malick Sidibé “Portraits” at Spazio Marras

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A couple of weeks ago I lived a real fairy tale for about one hour of my life.

I read about Malick Sidibé exhibit “Portraits” at the Antonio Marras showroom in Milan and I decided that it was the great occasion to visit the space and the photography exhibit at the same time. “Nonostante Marras” is placed in a lovely court full of green (with some yellow and brown as it was end of the Autumn – which made it even more suggestive!) and it is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever seen. I have been loving Antonio Marras’ fashion art since I was a student but this talented man never stops surprising me. Everything in this space was just amazing: the clothes, the accessories (I fell in love with his turbans!), the jewels, the furniture, the books…I just felt like a kid in Disneyland! I couldn’t stop staring at everything and I understood why this modern loft with a retro twist was indeed the perfect location for Malick Sidibé’s photographs.

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On a vintage wall about thirty black and white photographs were hanging, near vintage sofas and couches, some of the portraits taken in the 70’s by this incredible Malian artist in his studio in Bamako.

Sidibé died in April this year but he told the story of his people through his amazing art, even if he didn’t like to be called an artist: he was “just” a photographer, he used to say!

The portraits exposed are simple yet very powerful and they all tell a story about these people’s life, relationships, tastes, that you try to guess with your imagination : it’s so incredibly inspiring!

For the day I wore a vintage Rolling Stones tee (from a charity shop in London), Acne Studios jeans, Zara boots and my new favorite long camel coat from Diffusione Tessile.

I added a wax headband from Sine Modus and a vintage tapestry doctor bag from Humana Vintage.

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The Ladybug Goes Malian in Milan: A Night in Beautiful Africa with Rokia Traoré

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When I think of Rokia Traoré I remember exactly how I first “met” her: I was in Brussels, Belgium, winter 2004. I went to a Media Center and decided to get some CDs of artists that I didn’t know. I picked up her CD “Wanita” and I listened to it that same night. I was captured by her voice and sound and since that day I haven’t stopped following her.

For those of you who don’t know her, Rokia Traoré is a Malian singer, guitarist and songwriter and she is one of the most representative voices of the African continent. But her music goes over the barriers of a continent or a language. As the daughter of a diplomat, she’s traveled around the world. And her life, just as her music, has been influenced from different cultures and sounds.

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You cannot call her an “ethnic” singer: she goes from jazz (her version of Billie Holiday’s “Gloomy Sunday” was to die-for) to blues, from traditional African to rock, mixing tradition with modernity. She sings in English, French (“Zen” is one of my favorite songs by her!), and Bambara, the language of her community.

She arrived in Milan at Carroponte on the 15th of July to present her new album “Beautiful Africa” that will be released at the end of September 2013 and that I can’t wait to put my hands on it! It was my first time seeing her live and I was very excited: I loved her live performance. She managed to mix ballads, with rock and African dance, bass, electric guitar and traditional African instruments in a beautiful, captivating concert where I found myself dancing like a mad woman (recalling my old African dance classes when I studied in France in 2000) and crying for the beautiful words of wisdom that she spoke during the night (“The most beautiful thing in life is diversity”).

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For the occasion I wore a piece of Africa too: I wore this beautiful skirt (originally a dress!) from Lalesso, the ethical brand inspired by beautiful Kenyan fabrics and colors (www.lalesso.com).

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I paired it with an H&M denim shirt and Topshop flat sandals. I am also wearing vintage golden ’80s earrings and my adored Oxfam canvas bag!

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Cheers!