The Ladybug’s addiction: Manolo Blahnik – The Art of Shoes

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It was announced as the event of the year and I must say that Manolo Blahnik exhibit “The Art of Shoes” at Palazzo Morando in Milan was really “the event” of these first months of 2017.

It is the first big exhibition in Italy dedicated to the iconic shoe designer, a real not-to-miss event not only for shoe lovers but for all fashion and art addicts. I say art because I cannot “reduce” Manolo Blahnik to a shoe designer. He is a true artist as his shoes are real pieces of art and this exhibit just recognize his talent as a “shoe artist”. No surprise that the exhibit will move next to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg!

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But while it is here in Milan (until the 9th of April) don’t miss the opportunity to visit The Art of Shoes where 212 shoes covering 45 years of Blahnik career are exposed along with 80 drawings. This is not only a celebration of shoes and fashion but also a celebration of Italian influence on Blahnik’s creations: classical sculpture, baroque age, Visconti movies, the corals of Sicily and much more.

You can find here vintage iconic shoes with more modern iconic pieces like the shoes created for Marie Antoinette movie directed by Sofia Coppola, the shoes worn by Carrie in Sex & The City and more iconic pieces celebrating the world (from Africa to Scotland, from Spain to the Far East), nature and plastic arts.

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The location Palazzo Morando is just perfect: art surrounding art, with the incredible permanent collection of the museum and the chance to visit with the same ticket a very interesting exhibit on the history of sequins “Ricami di Luce”.

I must be honest, I took hundreds of pictures during the exhibit and it was hard to choose my favorite pieces but I tried my best!

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The Ladybug, Coco Chanel and Marion Pike: Last Chance Meeting in Milan

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You know me, sliding in on the final days of an expo, as usual…! I’d love to go early enough to give you the time to visit the expos, but I am always so freaking busy that I often forget until my calendar screams, “HEY, you’re gonna miss that thing you wanted to go to!,” and I organize a quick visit on the very last day!!

This time I invited my beloved friend Nita to accompany me to the expo and she invited me to a delicious Chinese lunch before heading to Palazzo Morando to visit the small but intense “Coco Chanel: A New Portrait Painting by Marion Pike. Paris, 1967-71.” After the inauguration to the public – at the Fashion Space Gallery; the exhibition, curated by Amy de la Haye, Professor of Dress, History and Curatorship of the London College of Fashion, arrived in Milan for a few months (Sunday was the last day!).

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The exhibition showcases a whole set of paintings, clothes, photographs and documents exploring the lives, the friendship and creative meeting between two extremely talented twentieth-century women: the French couturier Coco Chanel and the Californian artist Marion Pike.

“Marion Pike met Coco Chanel in Paris in 1967, when she painted her portrait. The story of their friendship reveals a new dimension of the French fashion designer, known for her charm and revolutionary talent, but also for the determination that accompanied her free and unconventional lifestyle. Hence the meaning of the title “A New Portrait Painted by Marion Pike” or the revelation of Chanel’s most intimate and authentic nature, a poor orphaned child who become a timeless legend that only an intuitive and emotionally involved artist such as Marion Pike could comprehend. In the words of Marion Wesson, grandson of Marion Pike and an artist herself, “it is odd that this exhibition on the works of Cuckoo and Coco has been labeled as the revelation of a new historical situation that no biographer or historian has ever previously recognized or investigated” (Tourism.Milan.it)

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The exhibition includes beautiful paintings of Coco Chanel, the beloved Paris and even a self-portrait of Marion Pike, along with clothes and accessories specially designed by Coco Chanel in 1967 and 1969 for Marion Pike and her daughter Jeffie and a large collection of photographs by Marion Pike, Coco Chanel and many other characters, as well as personal documents and letters that demonstrate the friendship between the two women.

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The Ladybug Emerses Herself in Anna Piaggi’s Hat-ology

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A few weeks ago I visited one of the most fashion irresistible expos of the year, on the last day as usual!

One year after her death, and at the end of the Milan Fashion week, Palazzo Morando opened the doors to the most insane, eclectic hat collections that I’ve ever seen: Anna Piaggi’s hat collection. In four petite displays that recreated her house, this accessory is fully represented and is quite possibly the staple that contributes to her status as an icon. It’s dubious how varied the form and style are throughout this exhibition. And it is almost inconceivable how many she had and how creative, crazy and foolish most of them are! Every piece has its own story, including the shoe-hat that Bill Cunningham donated to her… which is rumored now to have been stolen during the expo.

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She once said, “My hat is personal. It is what contains the soul, the feeling, the sensation that moves this little world around.”

They are only about 60 (…of the 900 she owned!) most of them created by the best designers such as Chanel, Prada and Dior just for her. This journey inside Anna Piaggi’s faux apartment, in the center of the Fashionable Milan, stimulates all of your senses… for example: the sound of her old Olivetti typewriter (Valentina) or the vignette Anne and Marcel, the pictures of her taken by her husband Alfa Castaldi, her piles of magazines, her vintage pieces… everything is perfectly put in place to teach us know more about this wonderful woman. Ivo Bisignano, one of the creators of the expo, also created all the awesome graphic pieces like the decorations and the amazing faux-covers.

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Maybe it was just too small to contain such an  extraordinary woman, or maybe a hat cannot say all there is to say her… but viewing this through the words of Shirley McLaine,  “Life is like a new hat. You don’t know if it suits you if you keep trying it on in front of your own mirror,”  I’d say this experience through her life was great and the work done was admirable… definitely one of my favorite expos of the year!

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The Ladybug Gets Trapped in the Closet with Valentina Cortese at Palazzo Morando

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I know, I am the last chance girl: every time I read about an expo that I am interested in and want to visit, I manage to get there on the last day of the expo!

This is what happened with the wonderful expo on the Italian diva actress Valentina Cortese at Palazzo Morando in Milan. The expo was an event to market the publishing of the book “Valentina Cortese: 100 portraits.” The world of fashion celebrated the actress with an expo of about 50 of her wonderful dresses, bags and accessories starting from the ’40s with pieces created for her by the most creative famous designers like Dior, Mila Schön, Valentino, Capucci and the very extravagant Maurizio Galante (I really enjoyed the creativity of his art).

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But in this case I can truly say, “much better late than never” because Valentina Cortese herself was “visiting” the expo with us and told us some anecdotes about the different dresses and when she wore them… this was absolutely priceless!

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For the occasion I went for a black and white outfit: Marks & Spencer silky white shirt, vintage velvet shorts and a lovely white coat from Oviesse!  I added my Zara quilted black bag and my new black Chelsea boots from the charity market (I will tell you more about this next week!) and I played with these funny tights  that I bought during my last trip to Warsaw (I will tell you more about this too very soon!).

Yes, you can call this outfit “How to make your best in a crisis!” Not bad the result though, don’t you think?

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