The Ladybug on how to survive (and even enjoy) the Milan Design Week

The Ladybug Chronicles Milano Design Week 2019 (2)

When I arrived in Milan I considered the Milan Design Week and the Fuorisalone as my favorite week of the year: a lot of people from everywhere in the world, cocktails, events, parties, design, art. It was also the “blossoming week” that announced the spring and the “open air life”. In the last few years I almost hated it: boring parties and presentations, too many people in town, crowds everywhere. I almost skipped it two years ago and totally skipped it last year until I found out the perfect equilibrium to face the Milan Design Week: choose carefully the events and presentations and attend only those that really look interesting to you.

This was my approach this year and I was totally happy with it…I think that I found the perfect Milan Design Week potion!

During the week I just got a few hours around the Isola Design District as it is not far from work but I didn’t find anything worth my attention (except a new cocktail bar, my beloved second hand shop Ambroeus and a new – to me – jewelry shop that I fell in love with, Francesco Tramontano) but it was the perfect after work situation: cocktails and chatting with friends and colleagues not far from work in a sparkling lovely area that I still love pretty much.

It is during the weekend that I took things seriously and started my fun Design Week weekend: I got up early on Saturday to join one of my favorite spaces in town, Antonio Marras atelier “NonostanteMarras”, where he exposed in collaboration with Saba, a “couture” collection of sofas and armchairs made from meticulous tailoring techniques using the designer’s exquisite textiles archive. Also a lovely bistrot was created in the internal court full of flowers (especially wisteria) while walking down the stairs a new world from a lost era is waiting for the amazed eyes of the visitors: embroidered tapestries, mirrors, fabrics hanging from the ceiling and wonderfully prepared tables represented a world that not even my words could describe. We were lucky enough to meet Antonio Marras himself (such a lovely person as well as his wonderful charismatic wife) and to get a pair of beautiful socks from his last catwalk!

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After Marras we headed to one of the most exciting vintage events in town during the Design Week: the opening of the second Milanese store of Humana Vintage in via De Amicis 43! I am in love with this new spacious shop, much bigger than the first one near Duomo and with so many new things that I headed out with a couple of new gems to add to my wardrobe (you will see them soon,  I promise!). It was such a lovely party with relaxed atmosphere and I could have spent hours there (which I will probably do in the next few weeks!).

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The Ladybug Chronicles Milano Design Week 2019 (16)

On Sunday I won the rain (and the laziness due to the rain!) by walking on the moon: Moon Walk was the name of Marni collection presented during the Design Week in the blue light of their show room in Milan. The pieces were handmade by Colombian handcrafters who have been working with Marni for years now. The tribal element, mixed with bright colors and the wide use of different materials as well as the Black African and Berber inspiration made me love this collection madly. I loved everything especially the hand braided chairs and the colored rugs. As usual Marni is my not-to-miss place during the Design Week.

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The Ladybug Chronicles Milano Design Week 2019 (10)

Last but not least, this year for the first time during the Milano Design Week a new district was created: the Centrale Hub, with two main focuses. The first one was on the Advantage Austria that presented new Austrian design products within the “Austrian Design – Pleasure and Treasure” concept in the prestigious Sala Reale of the Milan Central Station, a location that is rarely open to the public and that I visited for the first time. In this room they created a Design Pool, with pink walls and full of recycled polystyrene petals! Also the beautiful Sala delle Armi was exceptionally open to the public for the event. Two Milanese gems that I was very happy to visit for the first time.

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The Ladybug Chronicles Milano Design Week 2019 (12)

Right behind the station, a whole forgotten area in via Aporti was brought to life by the opening of the old Central Station hangars and warehouses to host presentations of artists from all around the world. I was totally amazed about the work that was done there and I loved many of the installations presented here: from the Japanese DNP “Patterns as Time”, to the American Human Scale “Bodies in Motion”, from the Dutch Weltevree “Once Upon a Pool” to the Italian Aria “Come To Light”. But my two favorite presentations here were from the Korean Noroo Group “Tides by Kwanghoo Lee X Wang & Söderström for Noroo” (the pastel colors and the atmosphere were incredible and I loved that they printed the pictures that you took inside if you posted them on Instagram!) and my favorite ever, from the Dutch artist Maarten Baas “I Think Therefore I Was” that I can declare as the presentation of the whole Centrale district that I loved the most (I even got in twice!).

It was an intense weekend of art, design, fashion and fun but I think that…I will do it again!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Milano Design Week 2019 (13)

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The Ladybug’s Hell Design Week

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For those of you who have been following my blog for while it is now a fact that the Design Week in Milan is my favorite event/time of the year!

I love the international atmosphere and even if the installations in town are not always at their best, I can’t help loving the people and the mood of these days.

But this year it was the worst Design Week since I live in Milan: I was sick during the whole week and I could only get out quickly on Sunday to have a look around in some of my favorite spots but I was a bit disappointed. So I’m just sharing a few pictures of my “Design Day”.

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As it was a sunny day I first headed to the Blue Velvet market in Sant’Ambrogio where my friend Madame Ilary was selling her turbans.

We enjoyed the sun and the swing dancers, then I moved to Rossana Orlandi showroom in the same area, probably the best thing that I saw during the Design Week, especially in the beautiful area outside.

From there I headed to Marni showroom as last year I was in love with their installations for the event. I cannot say the same this year: the theme to present their outdoor design pieces made in Colombia was the Playland. Colored sand and playful children were everywhere and it was a bit of a mess although the overall idea was pretty cool.

I wore Acne Studios black jeans, Primark striped tee and my new vintage Burberry’s trench from Napoleone Vintage. I added white sneakers by & Other Stories, vintage bag from Cavalli e Nastri, Madame Ilary crochet headband, Metalica Creazioni brass loops and Valentino sunglasses.

I finished the day with the worst thing a girl can see in the street while peacefully enjoying the day and the sun: her ex with his new girl.

Design week over.

Sick again.

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The Ladybug at Milan Design Week 2014, pt. 3: Retro Ville by Voodoo de Luxe

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On the same Sunday, last day of the Milan Design Week, I left the Vintage Week event for the Ripamonti area where Voodoo de Luxe organized an event as part of the Fuorisalone, Retro Ville.

It was announced as THE vintage event of the Design Week and, let me tell you… it was!!!

From the moment we walked in we were immediately immersed in an effortlessly cool, relaxed, rockabilly ambiance where we immediately felt at home: we enjoyed the stay, sipping a drink while talking and admiring the most well dressed women and men in Milan! Because this was the place for the real vintage people: those who live vintage and who feel it like a lifestyle and credo, I was transfixed.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful pin ups with perfect hair and make-up (I still wish that one day I’ll be able to do that myself!) and the sexy men in their perfectly tailored 1950’s suits and scented beards!

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But I found out their secret: our friends from Bullfrog Milano were there in a vintage recreation of their beautiful Salon in Milan! It was great to see them and again, I spent a lot of time staring at them shaping beards and giving haircuts!

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Many new stallers and art makers were present (like my lovely friend Laura from Oggetti Smarriti with my favorite frames!) and I was delighted in discovering new retro and vintage dealers that I have never met before!  My winter curves made me postpone buying a bit, but I have a mental list of all the things that I need to pick up on after my Nike+ Training Club concludes!! My first shopping will be at Bloody Edith, but my second will probably be at The Black Pinafore (they make amazing reproductions of 1940’s and 50’s clothing)… not to mention Oldress, a newly established shop in Milan (in “my” area!), that I still need to give a proper visit.

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I also loved the location: it was full of vintage home-ware, furniture and all the Milano Art Makers spaces that I enjoyed so much, and of course, the green area in the middle with a little bar to enjoy the beautiful sunny day!

It was a very cool and interesting Design Week weekend… can’t wait for next year where I’m hoping to enjoy even more vintage events!

PS: if you are in Milan, follow Voodoo de Luxe: they also organize a lovely vintage market every month. We’ll talk about it soon!

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The Ladybug at Milan Design Week 2014, pt. 2: Milano Vintage Week

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So let’s recap: we said that the most important week in Milan is the Milan Fashion Week. Then comes the Milan Design Week, but what if I tell you that we also have a Vintage Week?

Indeed, during Design Week, Milan hosted the first Vintage Week ever- with stalls, expos and workshops all dedicated to Vintage. Let me say first say: compared to last year, I was very surprised by the relevance of vintage during this year’s Design Week and not only in terms of inspiration for design, home-ware and decoration, but also in terms of vintage related events.

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The Ladybug Chronicles-Milan Vintage Week 2014-04

So the last day of my Design Week, on a sunny and warm Sunday morning, I brought my friend Kay who was visiting me from UK to the first event of the day… the Vintage Week at the Riccardo Grassi Showroom. This vintage marathon attracted different kinds of customers: from buyers to vintage lovers and addicted, from fashion lovers to simply curious people trying to understand what vintage was about.

Clothes, accessories, handbags, glasses, jewels, shoes, books, home-ware… every kind of vintage article was exposed to fulfill everyone’s expectations on the theme!

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The Vintage Week was an event in collaboration with A.N.G.E.L.O. who brought his beautiful collection of 24 wonderful silk vintage Hermès carrés.  Another small expo, “Vintage for Love” was dedicated to the vintage brides and weddings worlds.

It was great to see my friends Marco from Opherty & Ciocci and Nicoletta from Shabby Chic (two of my favorite vintage sellers in Italy), but a part from them the area was a bit bland: maybe because it was Sunday morning, but nothing “new” was really exposed and it was quite “standard business targeted on Italian customers” (what I mean is: “the more labels the better”). I was a bit disappointed by this event that was very well advertised- which is why my expectation was so high!

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The Ladybug Chronicles-Milan Vintage Week 2014-08

Still; I tried some cute pieces from Telma Vintage, (what do you think of these frames?)

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and some amazing headpieces from Shabby Chic (yes, I bought the straw hat with the purple net and flowers!!).

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For the occasion I wore a vintage sparkling sequined top from Humana Vintage, Zara trousers, an H&M biker jacket, Sam Edelman ankle boots, Balenciaga red handbag and Peter Pilotto for Target sunnies.

…Oh, and how could I forget my TOG “create” canvas bag… my Design Week favorite!

(Photo Credit: Kay Wilkinson)

The Ladybug at Milan Design Week 2014, pt. 1: Space to Wear at The Room

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 13You may remember that last year I introduced you to my first Milan Design Week as it is, by definition, the most important week in Milan (2nd to the Milan Fashion Week… maybe). It is one of the biggest fairs for home-ware and design in the world and it draws thousands of professionals and curious trend followers from all over the world to see what’s new in design.

What I find amazing is that it is the first real Spring event- you know when the air is warmer and people start going out to enjoy the atmosphere. It really represents the waking up of the Wool-bearing Boar after a long and cold winter. For this reason, during the week of Design Fair, there are more than five-hundred parties and events all around in town and it is amazing to go around and get involved in everything going on… It’s like a preview of summer- when everyone is happier and more sociable! This is what they call the Fuorisalone (literally Outside the Fair).

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 06 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 02This year my Milan Design Week was, compared to last year, much more involved and active. I participated at some great events which were all vintage related of course!

Space to Wear at The Room was the first event I attended on Saturday 12th of April: organized by Nerospinto and in collaboration with Deuda Vintage & Events, it was one of the most interesting events in town during Design Week. The main concept was the idea of “wearing the space,” and this is the reason why ten young and creative designers were asked to combine Art, Fashion and Design to create new stylish spaces to live and to admire- for their attention to detail and creativity.

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 03This new trendy and amazing space called “The Room” in Porta Romana was perfect for hosting the event: I visited before and I was amazed by the architecture and suggestions of this post-industrial space where vintage and contemporary are wisely mixed for a surprising effect. It is also a great lounge bar and restaurant, even if for the night it “wore a different dress!”

I was there for the Space to Wear Blogger Tour organized by Sara Biondi of News-Eventi Como and it was great to meet my fellow bloggers for the event, like Erica (Erica Makeup Dolls) and Ilaria (from Vintage lovers and more) who was also the official photographer for the event.

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 07 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 04 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 12I was particularly interested by the choice of the designers as they were all so creative and full of enthusiasm: from Pata Design to B-old and In My Vintage Room; from Atelier Rose to Relooker and KM Karina Marcela, from Mina’s Fashion Art Lab to Andrea Verdura, Nonno Celestino and Signorina Felicita…

I focused my attention on three of them because I was particularly attracted to their creations (maybe for our similar elective affinities!). As we started the tour; the other bloggers, knowing my love for turbans and headpieces, pointed this lovely lady sitting in this quaint stall perceiving it to be my favorite for the night: they weren’t wrong. I fell in love with this retro woman and her creations and it was love at first sight!! Atelier Rose (www.dearoses.com) is run by a wonderful woman with great taste and a huge passion for vintage. Like many of us, she has a closet full of vintage clothes, but when she wants to get rid of them she doesn’t throw them away; she gives them new life by creating new headpieces (fascinators, turbans, hairclips etc…) and they are amazing!!! I tried many of them before leaving with this beautiful fascinator!

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 11 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 05Another long stop was at B-old (www.b-old.it) because I couldn’t stop staring at their wonderful bags and accessories made from vintage fabrics. In particular, I was amazed by the awesome handbags with leather straps made from vintage American blazers: you can clearly see the body of the jacket with an attention to detail that is most incredible. These are the Italian artisans that I am proud of!

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 01Last but not least, I immersed myself in the colored and artistic lab of Mina’s Fashion Art Lab: truly a fashion experience! I loved the colorful and inspired creations of this artist and it took me a while before choosing which pieces I wanted to try. In the end, I wore two of my favorite dresses from their expo: this beautiful striped dress and my favorite piece, this long lace printed dress in emerald green that I fell in love with!

The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 09 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 08 The Ladybug Chronicles-Space to Wear 10For the occasion I wore a preppy vintage look with a Max & Co peter pan collar dress, Topshop loafers, a Debenhams retro inspired hat that I received that same day as a present from my beautiful friend Kay who was with me at the event as a special guest photographer (she really knows what I like!), and a vintage ’50s bag from Vintage Galerija, one of my favorite vintage shops in Ljubljana. Oh… and of course my ugly broken finger!

(Photo Credit: Kay Wilkinson)