There’s no better way to celebrate Spring than having a party at home! Here in Milan, the best hour for entertaining is always the aperitivo: it’s practically a religion here. If you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a way chicer version of Happy Hour. Usually starting around 7 and ending at dinner time (which in Italy is, at earliest, 9), it typically consists of cocktails and light snacks. It’s also a competitive sport. Like Olympic figure skating, it’s judged on both artistry and technical skill. Is your table setting up to scratch? Does your Negroni recipe hit the perfect balance between dry and bitter? Did you remember the vegan snacks? While the perfect aperitivo may only be perfected with years of practice, we’ve put together some rules to get you started on the right path.

The first rule of entertaining? Make sure you’re comfortable:

Scatter your terrace or backyard with a pillow, blankets and outdoor sofas, like our brand new Trix lounger from our collab with Kartell. Obvs, you’re going to have to mix and match prints to make it memorable. We’re channelling Matisse’s Odalisque paintings so spread out and stay chill.

Water your plants like they’re on steroids:

There’s no better decoration than a fat and happy leafy hedge or a planter spilling over with bright spring flowers. A nice sea of green also creates an excellent backdrop for brighter colored prints, like our Geometrico printed Getting My Croissant dress!

Don’t overdo it with finger food:

We know it’s totally Milanese tradition to trot out a massive, overflowing buffet for the aperitivo hour, but if you’re planning a dinner after, keep it simple. Here, we’ve filled our Bon Bon dishes with Italian favorites: a few olives, high quality chips, nuts and used our placemats as a mini tablecloth.

Kick your fine glassware up a notch:

If you want to impress, cut it out with that Ikea stemware. Our 17th-century tipetti are the holy grail of glasses. Handmade by artisans on the Venetian island of Murano, use them and blow everyone else’s aperitivo out of the water.

Keep water and wine glasses colorful:

These tumblers are super special. Like the tipetti, they’re made from Venetian glass but they’re a little better for every day. They’re also the perfect color palette for spring entertaining: if your table is totally print happy, these solid colored babes are ideal.

Even if you’re snacking on the terrace or in your living room, you can still keep the dining table totally set.

There’s nothing sadder than a totally bare table. Here, I went full maximalist: vintage printed tablecloth and placemats in clashing prints; chargers, dinner and soup plates in our new Libellula pattern; different colored Murano glass tumblers and matching carafe; an overflowing vase of flowers and scattering of in-season fruit for pizzazz.

Even if you’re not a maximalist, make print your pal:

The previous option is for diehard pattern junkies, but if that’s not your thing, do not fret! Skip the patterned tablecloth and just use placemats — we love Lilium Rosa for something low key. We also opted for Murano glass water glasses all in one colour to keep it simple.

Always have a buffet of colorful napkins:

They spruce up the corner of any dining area.

Let your guests choose their tools:

I like to leave a little station set up for my guests to choose their dishes and cutlery. There’s no reason to walk around with a massive dinner plate if they’re just nibbling on carrot sticks! If you’re serving lots of different types of things, make sure there are choices.

– Laura Todd

Story Credits
  • Photography: Federico Ciamei