Italian Doll Convention 2018 day III: the bazaar

Sunday was the final day of the Italian Doll Convention 2018. The main event is the bazaar, in two hotel ball rooms: one was filled with people selling all kinds of dolls, mostly Barbies but also lots of Integrity Toys, BJDs, etc. The second was dedicated to doll artists: creative people with their own designed dolls or dresses or both. Walking around the rooms was overwhelming- so many dolls! As my budget was practically non existent, I had decided that I would be just looking the commercial dolls for sale, checking prices, but also admire the creativity of the doll artists present. Meeting again all the wonderful friends was of course the icing on the cake: Ada, Simon, Ibrahim, Marl, Mario, Gianni, Sebastiano, Francesco, Aniello, Dan, David, Fito, Rogier, Patrizio, Lionel, Luca, Kazuko, Christelle, José, Antonio, Gloria, Giovanni, Makis, Effi and so many more... 

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Of course the doll artist and their creations were the best attraction: first of all the incredibly talented Joshua David McKenney, creator of Pidgin Dolls. It was the first time I got to see them up close and finally meet Joshua. I have been following his work for years now and the doll’s are even more amazing in person. Joshua is amazing, intelligent, kind, very creative and with an aesthetic I love and admire. He will be featured in a special post here soon.

Joshua David McKenney and his Pidgin dolls 

Joshua David McKenney and his Pidgin dolls 

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Another incredible doll artist present, one I have also been admiring from afar, is Giancarlo Scrofani, or better known as Janka Creator. He had his amazing dolls there, with the new collection, Femina Santa debuting. A short film about them will debut in the London Fashion Doll Festival next weekend.  

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Third amazing guy and friend: Andrei Teican, or better known as Andymy, with his Luna doll and his gorgeous outfits, which were selling like hot cakes. 

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Below you can see some more doll artists and their creations. 

The gorgeous  Free Fantasy Dolls  by Nickis Fabbrocile

The gorgeous Free Fantasy Dolls by Nickis Fabbrocile

Sebastian Atelier  creations by Sebastien Giustetto  

Sebastian Atelier creations by Sebastien Giustetto  

The  Black Swan Company  creations  

The Black Swan Company creations  

Fil Mi Deco  doll furniture in both 1:6 and 1:4 scale.  

Fil Mi Deco doll furniture in both 1:6 and 1:4 scale.  

They are made of plexiglass- this is in 1:6 scale

They are made of plexiglass- this is in 1:6 scale

And this is in 1:4 scale

And this is in 1:4 scale

DIVA - Dolls Italian Vogue Atelier , with their amazing Raffaella Carrà dolls! 

DIVA - Dolls Italian Vogue Atelier, with their amazing Raffaella Carrà dolls! 

Créations Cotho  by Corinne Thorner

Créations Cotho by Corinne Thorner

Corinne made an awesome replica of Blake Lively’s dress from this year’s Met Gala

Corinne made an awesome replica of Blake Lively’s dress from this year’s Met Gala

During the bazaar, there were two signing sessions: first was David Buttry, who happily signed the box of my IDC Ciao Poppy. 

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And when he was done, Linda Kyaw took her turn signing dolls and books. I was stupid enough to forget her book back at my hotel, so I got her to sign my convention Barbie instead. 

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Near the reception area you could see display cases full of comic style Barbie dolls. 

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Remember my non existent budget? Well, seeing the four different RuPaul dolls for sale at 45€ made me stop in front of Giulia Britti’s sales table and think. I always wanted to get at least one, and now was the ideal time and price. She even made me a discount and Supermodel RuPaul was mine! Giulia is one half of the Lantis Kelly atelier, who did the centerpiece dolls for this year’s gala dinner.

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Lots of people had travel dolls with them at the convention. The one that stood out for me, was this amazing manga/harajuku Poppy by @euphoriadolls from Spain! 

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At the end of the bazaar, there was a big raffle, with many gifts from various people to be raffled off for another good cause: Cuore21 from Rimini, helping children with special needs. And with that special gesture, it was over. It was sad to say goodbye to all the amazing friends there, but we promised we’d meet again soon in another convention. Little did we know that a few weeks later, Mario would announce, via email and social media, that the dream was over and there would be no more IDC. Here is his text:

Dear Conventioneers and Collectors Friends,
            the Italian Doll Convention was born from a truly personal dream of mine: to bring an event to Italy that could give all collectors, first Italian, then European, the taste and grandeur of those American conventions which I have been happily attending since 2002.
            About 10 years ago, when the Italian realities dedicated to collecting were essentially sales and exchange markets, I had an idea: I thought I would reunite collectors for an evening of fun and glamor under the “banner” of Barbie and Fashiondolls.
            Also ten years ago, Gianni and I began to work and collaborate with Mattel Italia, at a time when everyone was preparing to celebrate Barbie’s 50th Anniversary. Thanks to the people who worked at Mattel Italia, who were dynamic and enthusiastic, to their personal friendship and trust in us and to such a positive moment for the brand, we found the momentum to lay the concrete foundations of our ambitious project. At that point, I strongly wanted to involve a group of friends, because I had  always thought that the IDC would be an event to be held among friends and built up by friends.
To my delight, many people have joined me, embracing my project, when the national environment was neither used to such events, nor to their participation cost. It was a big leap into the dark, but without giving importance to gains, fatigue and stress, we started this adventure. And in such a dream, 100 conventioneers immediately believed; then, over the years, we have been working very hard to increase this number, first to 150 then to 200, up to this 8th edition of over 300 members.
            Creating such an event involves a lot of personal energy, so many sleepless nights to plan and imagine; hours that you strip away from your job and private life; your home becomes a warehouse and your life is overwhelmed by all this for at least 2 months a year. You work 362 days to have fun for only a very few hours, because you know you'll never sleep, you'll run like crazy, you'll be exhausted by the moving of thousands of boxes; but the people's happiness and gratitude is going to repay your investments in time, money and efforts, and comfort you from the bitterness that comes from detractors and the unavoidable disappointments along the way.
            Within all this, new things are to be planned for the following year, hoping to add the right piece, to get the favor of fashiondolls manufacturers who see their brand promoted by an event that is often reviewed – and oh so enthusiastically - in national newspapers and on TV or the radio.
            At the IDC we have given many new artists the opportunity to exhibit their creations, with a salesroom event among the largest and most varied in the world (and those traveling through conventions can understand how true this is). Many of the most amazing fashiondolls artists have taken part in the IDC: Superfrock with their Sybarites, the adorable Popovy Sisters, FashiondollAgency, Pidgin Dolls, Robert Best and Linda Kyaw for Barbie and David Buttry with his Poppy Parker. Thanks to the growing number of international friends, we have been the launch pad for Italian artists like Free Fantasy Dolls, Janka Creator, Lantis Kelly, Black Swan Company, Clara Fornari with Puparium and many others who were given the chance to meet some of the greatest collectors attending the event.
            At the IDC we have imported the Fashion Show, where we really enjoyed to forget everyday’s life and seriousness by turning into some of our most beloved dolls, without expectations but with so much passion. I want to thank all those who have spent tons of energy for this “event in the event”, which has become the most goliardic and glamorous part of the convention.
            At the IDC we had the opportunity to talk about the culture of fashiondolls, hosting some DCCI's and IDculture’s in-depth meetings and organizing workshops and seminars, because collecting should not only mean to accumulate, but also to increase knowledge and share information with others.
            At the IDC we have seen the birth of friendships, love-stories and, above all, many people having fun at approaching this world and collecting with joy, then becoming overwhelmed by passion, and so creating new collectors.
            The thing I'm most proud of is that, thanks to all the donors and buyers of the Ebay raffles and auctions, we have so far collected about 130,000 Euros for important associations and truly commendable projects that have helped sick or distressed children. There are no suitable words to underline this being one of the most important aspects of IDC, the one that most emotionally involved me, because helping others, especially those who are really in need, makes any effort bearable and  fills the heart with true joy. Therefore, thanks to Cesvi Italia, Dynamo Camp, Sos Bambini, Casa Oz, Mariam Association, Fondazione Blu, LifeGate, Karibu for believing in us and in the good and transparency of all our fundraising, always realized through their Ebay accounts and their representatives. We did it with our heart, in a clean way, without ever collecting a single penny for us and always with great results, thanks to the help of many international artists (Ninimomo, Numina dolls, Nigel Chia, Cotho Creations, Matt Sutton, etc ...) and to the donations of many private collectors.
            Thanks to all sponsors, which supported the events with gadgets and gifts, and a special Thank you to Marl Davidson.
            Thanks to Mattel USA and Italy, which have given amazing exclusive and special convention dolls over the years, as many as 3 exclusive Barbie Silkstone, and gave us the opportunity to create extra special and official dolls such as Barbie Via Montenapoleone, Barbie Sweet Delizia, Barbie Friday Pillow Party and Barbie Glam Comic Super Star.
            Thanks to Integrity Toys for believing in us and allowing us to organize the first exclusive event dedicated to Poppy Parker in Europe, an unique and unforgettable privilege. 

With this long and necessary list of thanks you may have realized that - after much, often painful, thinking and considering - we have decided not to continue with the organization of the Italian Doll Convention for the next year.

            The increasing costs of the event, from the hotel to the services involved, the expected taxation, in addition to a lack of future planning, by the manufacturers of fashiondolls, of exclusive dolls for our event, often in favor of a fairer support to smaller events, make it really very difficult, if not impossible, to guarantee the same quality we have become accustomed to and to which we have accustomed our conventioneers friends. Those who know me well, also know that I do not like  second choices, compromising, and not keeping up to mine and others’ expectations. With the close collaboration of Gianni and Marinella I have always tried to create the most beautiful and varied event for fashiondolls in the world. Although the final judgement is always left to the conventioneers, it is up to us to choose the right moment to stop a wonderful, exciting and engaging experience like the one we have experienced during these years, with the certainty to have succeeded in the original intent to prove that all this was possible and that collectors are available to join, have fun, get involved from head to toe in a big event like the Italian Doll Convention.
            I cannot say enough thank you to all my helpers; I won’t be naming each of you individually so as not to forget anyone, but you have always been amazing with your support and help to such a huge event, which may look easy to the conventioneers, but is really complex for those who organize it.
A huge thank you to Marinella Brighi, for her trust and loyalty in all circumstances, for seeing beyond what she knew of me and for giving me the opportunity to make myself known better.
Thanks to Barbara and Gabriele for always being there, before and behind the scenes, with their friendship and their commitment.
Thanks to my two “shoulders”, Sebastiano and Massimo, who have been my shadow and my support, the fun while I was working and the shoulder to cry on.
Thanks to Luisa Bianchi, who totally supported us personally and for free in the communication and advertising of the event.
Thanks to those who did not understand me, who even fought me and betrayed me, because they gave me the opportunity to rise from  the  pain, learn from my mistakes and stand up stronger than before.
And a larger, even more grateful thank you  to Gianni Grossi, for following me in this enterprise that has put us to the test in our personal life, with countless discussions about the details of every decoration, every gift, every single and meticulous touch of magic that we wanted to give to this event.
But, above all, thank you all for believing in us through all these years. We’ve had tons of fun and now we are moving towards other projects with the same enthusiasm as always.
See you around in the dolly-world….
LONG LIVE THE IDC, FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS!!!

But to end in a high note: during one of my coffee breaks on Sunday at the hotel café, with the bazaar at full force, a little girl came up to me, holding a Native American Barbie doll. She saw that I had a bag with doll boxes near me (IDC Poppy and Barbie plus RuPaul).  She was no older than seven. 

- Do you like my doll?  she asked in Italian, without any hint of shyness or hesitation. I told her that I did and that it was lovely. She proceeded to tell me about the great finds she got at the bazaar, showing them one by one by taking them out of her bag. She then asked me if I had some dolls too and I replied yes. At that time her mother,  visibly anxious, appeared and told me she was sorry about her little girl bothering me. I assured her that there was no problem and that I was enjoying the conversation with her daughter. 

- Mom, he has that special convention Poppy you wanted to see. Signore, could you show the doll to my mother please? the little girl asked me. I proceeded to do so and showed them Barbie and RuPaul as well.  

- Should we call your father to come pick us up darling? asked the lady.  The girl nodded yes and the turned to me.

- My dad cannot even properly pronounce Barbie!  

Im still laughing thinking about this and I know that a warm smile and love will always be there when I think of Italian Doll Convention 2018 and all the amazing people I got to meet and spend time with there. Grazie Mario e Gianni! 

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Italian Doll Convention 2018 - Day II: the Gala night

Saturday is the busiest day of IDC: seminars, presentations, the fashion show and the gala dinner! For most of us It begun early in the morning, as we had to go and get the extra blond version of the convention doll, Ciao Poppy! She’s gorgeous but I do prefer the pink haired one. This one will go to my friend Maria of Habilis Dolls, who could not attend. And that is why you see her in the box.

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Then it was time for a great presentation. My dear friend (we finally met!) Ada of Papusile Mele was giving us a lecture about Manga in Doll Culture! She showed us all the famous manga characters that got made into dolls, like Astro Boy, Lady Oscar, Sailor Moon and Candy Candy, giving us many details about manga history in between. Lots of rare and OOAK dolls were shown in the accompanying slideshow. 

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We stayed in Japan with the next presentation: the story of the doll Licca, by the lovely Kazuko Hosokawa. Not only she told us the amazing tale of how Licca came to be, with lots of details and how she developed throughout the years until now, but also brought with her part of her incredible Licca collection, with the complete original Licca family a stand out. Both this and the previous presentation had the awesome Antonio Russo helping out with the translation, from English to Italian. Some dolls and gifts were raffled to attendees, ending the presentation in a most ideal way.

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Third presentation of the day was called PoppyParkerly, this time dedicated of course to last night’s star, the lovely Poppy Parker: Daniela Ferrando talked about how the 60s are perceived aesthetically nowadays through our modern sensibilities compared to how it was back then, by using the 60s contemporary Barbies and today’s Poppies.  

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The last presentation was a much anticipated interview: dear Ada got the chance to ask the talented Linda Kyaw, Mattel designer and stylist of @barbiestyle, lots and lots of questions about her career, Barbie in the past, now and the future. The questions were send by Ada’s readers and, strangely enough, Mattel did not censor them! The interview was very informative even for people who are not even doll collectors. Linda is very intelligent, gracious and kind. She answered all questions, avoiding pitfalls and confidential information of course, and, with Ada being a wonderful interviewer, the session was a blast. It was accompanied by lots of Linda designed Barbies in displays and ended with lots of dolls and other gifts being raffled to attendees.

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Linda’s OOAK contribution to the IDC auction  

Linda’s OOAK contribution to the IDC auction  

Me with Linda Kyaw  

Me with Linda Kyaw  

After a brief interval (and a change of clothes), it was back at IDC for the Cartoonia parade fashion show! Anyone interested had registered for participating in this show, dressing up as a cartoon or doll character of his choice. The catwalk was set up in one of the hotel ballrooms. The show was a hoot: participants had incredible outfits, that had taken them countless days to make, complimented by styling, make up and hairstyles matching their characters, not to mention the choreography each one had prepared for their presentation. Lots of compliments, applause and bravos to all participants for the show that everyone thoroughly enjoyed! The photos of the show below (as a slideshow) are by another Greek collector that was there, Makis (thank you so much dearest!), as my seat was not ideal for catwalk photos.

Everyone attending the runway show could vote for his favourite costume, which was quite difficult as they were all amazing! You just had to give your favourite the corresponding coupon that was given with the rest of the registration stuff.  All participants were assembled at the hotel’s stairs for a last photo op and then it was time for the welcome drink before dinner, or, as Italians call it, l’aperitivo. An hour later, we were ushered into the ballroom for the gala dinner.

Athena was the winner of the runway show

Athena was the winner of the runway show

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Me with Antonio Russo and Oriele  

Me with Antonio Russo and Oriele  

The welcome drink space

The welcome drink space

The whole room was decorated with lots of cartoon elements. Each chair around the big rotunda tables had a transparent balloon tied to its back, lit up with a string of colourful led lights. The centerpiece was a Barbie doll made up as a comics/cartoon hero by doll design duo Lantis Kelly and Catia Destro. Each seat also has a pair of sketches made by Living Plastic Doll for the gala.

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The centerpiece doll

The centerpiece doll

I had been assigned to one of the Spanish tables, table no.20, with the lovely Lionel as our wonderful and amazing host. The table gifts were all amazing and I added mine to the bunch: cute mini polka dot dresses in various colours, with matching headband bows and earrings, all made to order by my dearest friend Maria from Habilis Dolls. I already knew Lionel and José from Facebook and got to meet the rest of the table mates there for the first time, all amazing and some of the best I could have: Christelle, Fito, Francisco, Gloria, Maria, Nuria and Pepita! My warmest thank yous and best wishes, you were all amazing!

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From left: Lionel, me, Gloria and Fito

From left: Lionel, me, Gloria and Fito

Table gifts! You can see one of the Habilis Doll polka dot dresses I gifted on the top left of this photo.

Table gifts! You can see one of the Habilis Doll polka dot dresses I gifted on the top left of this photo.

After a beautiful ballet introduction, with the dancers dressed in Disney prince and princess outfits, Mario Paglino took the stage, welcoming everyone. He talked about the recipient of this year’s charity auction profits, Dynamo Camp and introduced their team. Then it was time for a speech from Linda Kyaw about Barbie, its history and its future, as next year is the doll’s 60th birthday. There was no preview of anything regarding that front, but we got to see lots of gorgeous Barbie photos, some of which were shown for the first time in public. Then Gianni surprised everyone by announcing that there was a gift for everyone, a special limited edition book (300 copies) dedicated to Linda Kyaw and filled with photos of her Barbie dolls, exclusive to the convention and Mattel approved: The World Of Linda Kyaw. A gorgeous book, printed in quality paper, with lots of doll photos! 

The dancers  

The dancers  

Mario welcomes everyone  

Mario welcomes everyone  

Linda Kyaw speaking  

Linda Kyaw speaking  

Karl Lagerfeld OOAK doll  

Karl Lagerfeld OOAK doll  

Ralph Lauren OOAK doll  

Ralph Lauren OOAK doll  

60th anniversary logo

60th anniversary logo

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Lots of gifts were raffled off to attendees during the night, including many dolls. Our table won two of them! After dessert it was time for the convention doll. No surprises here, it was the same doll that was presented in the Paris and Tokyo conventions, Striking In Stripes Barbie. She is Gold label, has the Karl sculpt and a model muse body. Designed by Bill Greening, she wears an asymmetrical striped evening dress, with black strappy sandals, silver clutch bag and matching jewellery. It’s my first official convention doll (that I get while attending I mean), so I’m keeping her.  

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Then it was time for the extra convention Barbie, the one designed by Magia 2000, Mario and Gianni. This one was based on the Totally Hair Barbie, remade by Magia 2000, with new hairstyle, make up, freckles and a spectacular dress with an overskirt in custom printed fabric (with comic related print) and a black body hugging Lycra dress encrusted with colourful rhinestones. She wears black stockings, pink shoes embellished with crystals and star crystal earrings. Miniatures of her own special box and the official convention booklet created by Roger Corbeau were included. 

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One could see the OOAK benefit auction dolls in display in a corner of the ballroom. The talented creators really outdid themselves, as you can see in the photos below. How lucky are the people that bought them! The centerpiece dolls were raffled to each table, ours was won by Christelle - contrary to IT conventions, here you win both centerpiece doll and base for free.

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After lots of fun, laughs, raffles and doll fun, we were ready to wrap things up and call it a day - there was a disco set up in another hotel hall for people that wanted to continue but it was already late and I had to catch the last metro train back to my hotel. The next post will be about the third and final day of IDC. 

Milano Centrale station  

Milano Centrale station  

The Italian Fashion Doll convention is coming - are you ready?

One of the best things about collecting fashion dolls is meeting extraordinary people with the same passion and exchanging ideas, making friendships and get creative with them. Best place to do that in real life is attending a fashion doll convention. For years I have been yearning to go to one of them, especially the grand events that get organised in the US. Budget of course gets always in the way for far away trips like that. Europe is closer, the conventions might be smaller but there are many of them and the costs are significantly lower.

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So I took the plunge and finally decided to attend a European convention, especially after discovering it would be the first one featuring a specially made exclusive Poppy Parker for it. The Italian Fashion Doll Convention, held annually in Milan, begins on the 18th Of May and I am happy to announce it will be my first convention. I cannot wait to finally meet all those wonderful fellow fashion doll collectors that are, for now, online friends and acquaintances and enjoy three days full of fashion dolls.

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Not only that, two very talented people will be attending as well, making the event even more special: David Buttry will be in Milan to present the very first exclusive european Poppy Parker on Friday, 18th of May. And then, Linda Kyaw, the well known Mattel designer, will be attending the Barbie gala dinner on Saturday, 19th of May. Both designers will be signing dolls on Sunday, 20th of May. The theme of the event is Cartoonia, so the whole convention is inspired by cartoons, comics and animation. And apart from the exclusive Poppy Parker and the Barbie convention doll, there is an extra doll, for those who chose the corresponding package, made by the very talented duo Magia 2000.

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What happens on Sunday you ask? Well, apart from the signing events with David and Linda, there will be a huge doll bazaar, filled with every kind of fashion doll, available both to attendees and the general public. Lots of dealers, doll creators and doll fashion designers will be selling their wares. See them below.

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But that’s not all. There was also an auction of specially made OOAK dolls, to benefit a very special cause. Because fashion doll people are people who care for others. This year the recipient of the proceeds from the auction is the Dynamo Camp. Dynamo Camp is the first camp of Therapeutic Recreation in Italy, specially designed to accommodate - for free - children suffering from serious and chronic diseases, from 6 to 17 years in therapy and in the period after hospitalization. These are mainly children affected by haematological cancers, neurological issues and diabetes. Dynamo Camp will offer these sick children the opportunity to go back to being "just children" spending a week of fun in a safe and secure environment. The auction was online here, ended on Monday afternoon.

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Check out more details about the various events throughout the duration of the convention below.

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There will also be some great presentations on Saturday.

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The results of the photo competition shown below will also be announced!

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And here is the schedule for all days. See you in Milan!

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